Photo expectations, reasonable or not?

This is what I really look like. No touch up. No special app.

Yesterday I had to get photos taken to renew an ID document. I put on the full makeup (war paint as my brother called it) in an effort to make the picture as attractive as possible while still looking like me. I am fair so I wash out. I took care to “color up.”

It was a disaster. My motor vehicle picture is better.

It was very disappointing. (I have no idea what I was expecting except it didn’t look like the face in my mirror.) The requirements were no smiling and full frontal (just the face folks). I looked like a survivor from a concentration camp or a cadaver. Take your pick.

The nice lady said to use a neutral face. What is that? No frown, no smiling. Maybe my bored look. Or exasperated. I would prefer my “OMG! These shoes are fabulous” look. Or that dreamy look right after the first sip of a mocha latte. Nada. Just plain.

I am slim. My face is thin and somehow in pictures, it looks longer than it is. Much longer. Enormously longer. Like clown shoes longer.

They use distortion lenses on those cameras. (It’s how they get people to work for low wages. Amusement is part of the work benefits. A good laugh is better than health care.) The person taking the picture flipped on the “Jay Leno chin” app.

It’s a subversive way to make us crazy (or sell face cream!).

The old photo (which is nine years old) doesn’t look so bad. I wonder if I reacted the same way when it was taken too. Probably.

It doesn’t matter. No one will see it but some obscure security person somewhere and it’s not nearly as bad as the one from my “friendly” warehouse store which I flash all the time. (To people who live locally!)

If you would have asked if I was a vain person, I would have said no. Now I wonder.

In ten years, I will think this picture is fabulous! Maybe.

PS: No! There is no way I am posting that ID photo! Don’t even ask.

PPS: The beloved husband has been instructed to use the above photo should he need one to post on milk cartons or the post office! As is local custom here, he will post my high school graduation picture in my obituary.


64 thoughts on “Photo expectations, reasonable or not?

  1. Oh gosh, I had the same experience recently, minus the chin part. My face came out so round! My husband even admits it’s a bad photo. I’m hoping they let me back in the country (it’s a passport photo) because it doesn’t look like me at all!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t like most of my photos but I’m less and less fussy with them. I always hope that whoever is looking at the ID card looks at me and thinks I’m better in person. I’d my photo is too good he or she might be tempted to wonder if it’s me! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I had to laugh when I read your milk carton / post office comment. I wonder about that stuff too. Which photo would my husband give the police? Hmm. Maybe couples should discuss and come to an agreement ahead of time, sort of like estate planning and where to move in retirement.


  4. My license has been sitting expired in my wallet since February because I don’t want to get the damn photo taken! I can only hope to get pulled over by a female police officer who will completely understand.
    Hahahaha! I love the instructions for the milk carton …lol

    Liked by 1 person

    • I can relate to that. When I was young I had my portrait taken by a professional for work or something. When I met him he asked if I would consider some minor modeling for him to hang in his studio. After he took pictures (and realized that I don’t translate to film that well), I never heard from him again! The good news in that story is that I can’t look as bad as my photos or he would never have asked. (And that’s my tale of almost being a model!)

      Liked by 1 person

  5. My wife and I were looking at a neighbor’s Facebook page the other day, and we were shocked at the number of close-ups she had of herself (not all of them very flattering, btw). I’m not that brave at all, but I guess I do admire those who are fearless about their photo appearance. – Marty

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love to see photos of others on FB and don’t understand how their selfies look good and mine stink. I did do research about the angle and all but it was a lot of work. You won’t see many pictures of me on FB.


  6. Last time I had my motor vehicle photo taken, the woman behind the counter thought it was so terrible, she took a second one. She turned up her nose at that one too, but she was done trying. It wasn’t good, but it wasn’t that bad. I don’t know why she thought it was so disgusting.

    I think we’re all vain to one degree or another. Just so we’re not tooo vain.

    Liked by 2 people

    • That happened to me once. She was a very large African-American woman, warm and friendly (hard to find at DMV). She said, “Oh honey, ya gotta smile. This is awful.” She took two more and selected what she liked out of the bunch. It wasn’t bad. Mostly I get the guys who don’t care at all.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. I very rarely take a good picture… scary I am. If you could see my picture on my retired military ID you would be frightened. That is why my avatar picture is my feets! Both your avatar picture and the picture in this post… you look wonderful! Nobody asks for an ID anymore it seems so I don’t worry about the picture too much.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I was asked for ID the other day at the bank – I cringed. My 2017 driver’s licence photo sounds like yours. I look like a thug warmed over. Or worked over.

    Know what kills me the most? I look more like my brother than I do like my mom. I was going to write a blog post too, but just the thought of that image makes me gag.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I think you are beautiful. The natural shot above and your avatar are great. Try to forget the uglied ID. Your writing, though, is a different matter. Keep that as one that made people laugh with pleasure. We all go through these things, but we can’t express them as amusingly as you do.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I challenged myself last year to take a “selfie” a month because I am usually always behind the camera. I have a very difficult time getting a picture I like and that’s ME taking them. I’m sure your picture isn’t as bad as you think but most all ID pictures are terrible anyway so don’t feel bad. The one you have here is really nice.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I’m the opposite — I have a very round face. Even when I was so skinny you could count my ribs, my face looks so fat.

    When I was on shoots with models, their faces looked plain, or even angular. But on camera? Fabulous. The difference was astounding.

    Liked by 1 person

    • There is something about flattening a dimensional object that amazes me. If you saw me you would never say I have a long narrow face. I don’t know (except for the ugly filter) how it photographed like that. For the record, I’ve never seen it this extreme before. Oh, and the wash out.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I have the same issues as you do (fair, slim face, etc). I had a passport photo taken last year that was dreadful – I wrote a post about it too. I can’t believe they are going to make me use it for the next 10 years. The worst part is that, so far, no one has questioned me about it when I’ve gone through security or customs, so I must actually look like that!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I am afraid that is the worst part. I asked my husband if I actually look like that. Tactfully he danced around the topic. I got them done at our local AAA and I won’t use them again. I know it’s an untouched photo but there is untouched and there is ugly.

      Liked by 2 people

  13. Thanks for the laugh. That is a good picture of you. I went to our DMV to renew my license and after the picture was taken, Michelle looked at it and said, “You look 10 years younger!” I turned back to the lady and asked if I could get another photo to take off 10 more years.

    Liked by 4 people

    • I need the address of your DMV! Actually our DMV takes much better photos than they used to. This ID is good for 10 years and then I won’t care or will be dead but I doubt if I would use the same photo service. It was convenient and cheap but you get what you pay for.


  14. You know what they say about passport photos, Kate. “If you actually look like your passport photo, you aren’t well enough to travel!” Thanks for another morning chuckle. I love the photo that you included. (And I promise not to ask to see your ID photo as long as you don’t ask to see mine!)

    Liked by 1 person

    • I keep my old driver licenses. It’s a chronicle of aging. Locally they have much better equipment than they originally did (far better than Costco or BJs). I have one from the 90s. I have my wonderful long hair and perky face with a natural smile. I wonder what ever happened to that person.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Aging Bodies are so unfair. I could use a young body so much more effectively now. We should start out a mess and get progressively stronger and firmer as we age so that our bodies match our experience and knowledge. And also so I don’t cringe when I see pictures of my aging self. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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