Pretty as a Picture

As a professional writer and blogger, a big part of my job is writing articles that appear on other websites and in magazines. I love 99.9% of my job, but if there’s one thing I really, really hate, it’s headshots.

Yes, every so often a company will ask for a little photo of me to run alongside an article, particularly if I’ve written something fun or personal. Great.

Now I’m not overly fussed about whether you think I’m beautiful. I’m not. I’m sort of normal looking. I have all the regular features, in more or less the usual sort of position and proportion. Everything works. I’m not filled with self-loathing when I look in the mirror.

Still, choosing a headshot is a minefield of epic proportions. 

Do I choose that flattering shot taken of me when I was 25 and could still pass for 18? It’s tempting but I know that if I take this route, the first thought to enter anyone’s head when they meet me would undoubtedly be, “God, she looks old,” immediately followed by, “I thought she’d be thinner, somehow.”

I don’t think I could bear to see the look of disappointment in your eyes.

So I consider option B – hiding behind the child.

We’ve all got those photos I'm sure, where we’re desperately pretending it’s a candid shot and gosh, we’re having such a good time, all the while clutching a toddler to our chests and hoping they’re covering up the hint of a double chin that appeared somewhere around our 30th birthdays…

Obviously, if you’re under 30 and this hasn’t happened to you yet, please don’t feel you need to comment.

So I settle for a photo taken on holiday last summer, where I have a hint of a tan and I look reasonably cheerful and have both eyes open.  

"Are you sending that one?" comments my Mother, peering over my shoulder, and sending me into a frenzy of self-doubt.


"Well, it's not BAD," she says. "But you do look a bit serial killer-y." 

“Which one then?” I ask, opening up iPhoto.

Mum looks over my shoulder. Time passes. Seasons change. Finally she clears her throat.

“Have you got any others?”

On one particular occasion, I struggled so much that I gave up and sent a photo of someone else. Shameful, I know. But I figured if I got busted, I could just pretend it was an innocent mistake. And guess what? Nobody ever guessed. The secret is to choose a fake photo that isn't instantly recognisable and isn't SO gorgeous that it's obvious you're not a journalist because you're an international model.

So, dear readers, here's my new, 100% candid, not-at-all-fake, completely my own face and not an actress at all honest, headshot. Good, isn't it?


What? This could TOTALLY be me.


Sally is a full-time blogger and founder of the Tots100, Trips100, Foodies100 and HIBS100 communities, along with the MAD Blog Awards. She spends a bit too much time on the Internet. She’s also a very happy Mum to Flea, the world’s coolest ten year old.

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  1. 4th November 2010 / 6:52 pm

    LMAO- It totally looks like you! But… I thought you were blond ; )

  2. 4th November 2010 / 6:58 pm

    You know I think I saw you do stand up once… Oh and I totally thought you would be blonde 😉

  3. 4th November 2010 / 10:11 pm

    Ha ha ha, I have one of those pics too, did you notice I looked a lot older?

  4. Nikkii
    5th November 2010 / 7:44 am

    I’ve taken a couple of head-shots of friends for adding to press pieces – I could SO take a photo of you you’d like. I could too.

  5. Emma
    5th November 2010 / 8:35 am

    I got a double chin for my Birthday a few years ago.. 🙁

  6. 5th November 2010 / 8:47 am

    I’m on the look-out for a body double who can look after the kids and do laundry etc whilst i write!!

  7. 5th November 2010 / 9:39 am

    I’ve been red, black, brown and even blue. But never blonde.

  8. 5th November 2010 / 9:39 am

    Your Facebook pic is ace, isn’t it? But I just thought you scrubbed up good 😉

  9. 5th November 2010 / 9:40 am

    It is a consolation! I just hate photos of me. I think I look alright (mostly) but pictures I either look miserable and evil or deranged. Sigh.

  10. 5th November 2010 / 9:41 am

    I did hear you’ve been known to take the odd snap. I will TAKE that offer, mind.

  11. 5th November 2010 / 9:41 am

    Congratulations. If it helps, that news makes me like you a little more.

  12. 5th November 2010 / 9:41 am

    Maybe we could share one, a bit like a nanny-share. You can have her Mon-Wed, I’ll take the rest of the week?

  13. 5th November 2010 / 11:14 am

    It took me aaages to get a headshot I was happy with, and that’s just to have on twitter and the like! I don’t think I’ll be changing it anytime soon… 😉

  14. 5th November 2010 / 11:30 am

    If you think you don’t take a good picture, have you seen the latest one of me on my blog ? I really think I might have to go remove it. I do have the excuse that I am recovering from a sicky bug ….
    p.s by the way, I am sure that’s a picture of a friend of mine.

  15. Nikki
    5th November 2010 / 7:42 pm

    nope not you- far too oompa lumpa orange!!

  16. Diane
    9th November 2010 / 8:49 pm

    Ha! Oh, that’s genius 🙂 Last time I had my hair cut and some make-up on, I asked my mum to take some pictures of me, with the idea I could use one when next asked by an editor to supply one… Unfortunately every pose I pulled and every sight my mum saw on the camera’s screen made her hysterical with laughter. I can’t say I came away from it with any good pictures. Or much self esteem…
    I’m now learning Photoshop. No reason 😉