No matter what your age, I am sure that many of you have seen photos of yourself and thought, “Wow! I look older than I realized!” Admit it! It happens. For me, at age 46, it happens more than I would like to think. However, I recently discovered from my 105-year-old grandma how to look positively radiant in a photo, without overly-done makeup or photo shop techniques.
A few years ago, when Grandma was a mere pup of 103 years, it was time for her to have her picture taken for the church directory in her home town. Not one known for her shyness, Grandma was up to the task. After all, she loves photo opps and has trained me to make sure I have one of her at some prominent spot in my home. (However, I feel that the photo I do have on the wall is just her way of “watching me” and making sure I am behaving! She always assumes mischief is on my radar, when it is actually on hers!)
So, in an effort to look positively charming for the big photo, Grandma spent some time in her bathroom, tending to her thinning blue hair and putting on her blush (and I swear it is the same product from the 1970s) and some green lipstick. What? Green lipstick? Oh, she is proud of that little item. She bought it several years ago off of some TV ad. The actual lipstick is green, but it turns to a complementary shade of red once applied to your lips. She simply bought it for its inherent shock value. “I love to put this on while in public to see what kinds of reaction I will get when folks see me applying green lipstick to my lips,” she grinned.
Once she approved of her final look, she had a friend drive her to the photo shoot location. The photographer ushered her in and had her sit on a somewhat comfortable stool, positioning her “just so” and adjusting the lighting. After a few shots were taken, Grandma was satisfied that she did well and was resting her hopes of looking even more glamorous in the hands of the photographer. Being the oldest person to be featured in the church directory was the equivalent to her of winning the Noble Prize or something.
A few days later, Grandma was treated to the proofs of her photos. “By golly, if my photo is going to be in the church directory that will probably still be circulating when I am six feet under, I want to leave a good looking legacy,” she commented.
To her dismay, the photos horrified her. “My god!” she proclaimed. “I look so dang old!”
The photographer explained to Grandma that through the use of digital technology and certain computer tricks, he could easily minimize the look of her obvious fine lines and wrinkles.
Without missing a beat, my financial savvy grandma asked, “How much is that gonna cost me?”
When the photographer told her “about $100.00,” Grandma took matters into her own hands.
She grabbed the stool upon which she had sat a few days earlier and moved it just a few feet further away from the camera and sat down, put on a big smile ( and more green lipstick!) and directed the photographer, “Now take my picture!”
Amazing! Just moving a few feet back from the prying eye of the camera, Grandma’s lines and wrinkles were hardly noticeable! She was pleased, and the church directory would live in glorious infamy! Thank God! (No, literally! Thank God! After all, it IS a church directory!)