Five years ago, my first author pictures were taken by a good friend and wonderful nature photographer, Ken Ratzlaff. It was time for an update.
An author photo plays many roles. It has to suggest my brand, exude professionalism yet introduce a friendly style. At the same time, it has to look good on social media, the back covers of books and every online vehicle for sales.
Taking a photo is difficult for me because it triggers some hurtful experiences from my childhood. The things we say to children really do follow them throughout life. We all need to be careful about the words that spill out of our mouths.
But through the years, God has reminded me those past words were spoken by hurting people who had their own problems. And I didn’t have to believe their lies.
So whenever I am faced with any type of personal pictures, I visualize Jesus standing beside the photographer – loving me. I’ve been told the soul of our emotions can be seen in the eyes. I hope that is true for me.
A photographer in my area was available for a photo shoot so I connected with her and we emailed back and forth: availability, the look I wanted to convey, possible sites for the shoot.
She was professional and creative, skilled and patient as we took several poses with a variety of motivations. Check out her website here.
When the photos came, I chose my favorites but I knew it would be wise to ask for a second opinion – or third – or fourth.
So I asked my son and my critique group to help me decide. All of them liked the colors and the various settings. The final decision would be based on my smile, the tilt of my head, the look on my face.
Was I relaxed enough? Did I look friendly yet professional? Was it a picture that would invite new followers?
The results astounded me. No one chose the photos that were MY favorites.
We cannot objectively judge ourselves, either outwardly or inside the sanctum of our souls. We bring too many experiences to the judgment hall – either those hurtful moments from the past or massive pride in the present.
We never see ourselves as others do – either with a positive spin or a negative connotation.
Yet being our authentic selves helps us walk through life with dignity and hope. We feel joy with a new haircut or a fresh mani/pedi. Losing a few unwanted pounds fills us with the expectation that we somehow look younger, appear more attractive.
But the transparency of peace is the one factor we cannot trick our faces into showing. Nor can we substitute true inner peace with any man-made behavior.
Our souls are made up of emotions, the power of self-will and the acceptance of who we are. Taking the risk to show our true selves through a photograph will either enhance our self-value or remind us we have much more to work on.
I am grateful for a new photo to send into cyberspace and paste into the proper place on book covers and social media.
I am also grateful because I know God has healed those raw places that were once afraid of taking a picture.
Have you learned anything about yourself from a recent photo? I’d be interested to know what you think.
©2017 RJ Thesman, Author of “Sometimes They Forget” and the Reverend G Trilogy