Taking pictures in hindsight

The amazing thing about hindsight, besides being 20/20, is that it changes with time.

Case in point, my author picture.

Every author needs a picture so that readers know their books were written by a real person and not by a robot. Robot written books are not that far from happening. As I type on my phone I often wonder what would happen if I let the autocorrect write a whole book for me. I’ll type in the first letter of a word and pick from the suggestions. This might be my next blog post.

But while books are still written by real people, us authors need a picture of ourselves to share with the world.

When I launched the first two books of the Life in the Palace series into the world, I paid a professional photographer to take headshots for my author picture. He was someone I knew socially, or I know his wife socially and I figured why not give my money to someone I know. I check out his website and his work was good.

The big day came. He showed up at my front door with a car full of equipment. Suddenly my furniture was pushed back as my living room became a photo studio. I spent hours picking out an outfit. Or failing to choose an outfit and throwing things on my bed.

The biggest impediment to the whole endeavor was that I wanted a photo of myself that looked nothing like myself. I was quite worried that ‘coming out’ as the writer of young adult fantasy books would embarrass my husband and children. So I tried to look as unlike myself as possible. My photographer friend did an excellent job of taking the photos in the style that I had requested.

But in my rush to look unlike myself I just ended up looking like a bad version of myself.

I was very flustered by the whole experience, and stressed out by self-publishing my books, and it was November which is never my best time of year (days too short, too much darkness outside and in my head.)

I used the pictures because I’d paid good money for them. And since no one knew who I was, I figured it didn’t matter if I looked bad. At least I used them, until I met a fan in real life whose first reaction was “You look so much younger in real life.”

Then I looked at the pictures and admitted the truth. I hated them. They made me feel old, and boring and stupid. None of which are true.


I stopped using the pictures. I found a stock photo of some lady with her back to the camera looking out the window and used that instead.

Every time I looked at the professional pictures I was annoyed at myself for making a bad choice, for not asking him to reshoot the pictures in a different style when I had the chance, for trying to make any important decision in November.

Finally yesterday I decided to get over it. I imagined the photographer in my head and I forgave him, because although it wasn’t his fault I was transferring my anger at myself to him. I forgave him and the imaginary him forgave me. I opened my eyes feeling at peace. I accepted that all money comes from heaven. I acknowledged that I hadn’t wasted mine, I had spent it on a growth moment.

With my 20/20 hindsight, I saw that all was as it should be in the world.

Then I woke up this morning, realizing that sometimes I’m an idiot.

I emailed the photographer and said that I knew it was over 2 years ago, but could I still take him up on the offer of a reshoot.

He responded immediately saying sure. Next week we’ll be going to a pretty park in our neighborhood to try again.

Today’s 20/20 hindsight tells me that all is still as it should be in the world. And letting go with grace will bring magic into your life.

Camera picture used with permission from http://www.FotografoDigitale.com

Lady at window from Shutterstock.com

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