I’m ready for my closeup, Mr. DeMille

Where I work, the company pays for every employee to have a professional headshot made. We’re supposed to use it internally as our email and chat avatar, and we’re strongly encouraged to use it as our LinkedIn profile photo. The company will also use it in PR should I ever do something PR-worthy.

My second headshot came back from the photographer the other day. It’s my second because I didn’t like the first, which was made shortly after I started with the company early last year. The photographer had me smile big, but that narrowed my eyes to slits, especially my right eye as that eyelid droops a little.

I asked for a second chance and got it in April. I told the photographer that I’d be doing a closed-mouth smile in several shots so that my eyes could be seen. This was a chance for me to wear my Irish tweed jacket, which I bought in Ireland. I love that jacket!

Here’s the image I chose. My eyelid still sags, but I’m just going to have to get over myself.

The photographer converted the image to black and white and sent that along, too.

His conversion washed out my forehead a little, so I brought the color image in to Photoshop and did my own conversion. I got skillz.

I’m not sure why the photographer chose to tell me about his kit, because he has no idea I’m a hobbyist photographer. But he showed me his big full-frame Nikon DSLR and said that he was experimenting with it for portraiture. He normally used that camera for architectural work, he explained, and an APS-C DSLR for portraiture. I didn’t get a good look at his lens; I wish I had. I should have asked. I’ve dabbled in portrait photography and have yet to figure out the focal length I like best for it. But anyway, his kit delivered terrifically sharp images. In the original full-size images, at 100% magnification the stubble on my face is sharp as a tack.

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22 responses to “I’m ready for my closeup, Mr. DeMille”

  1. J P Avatar

    I need to watch “Sunset Boulevard” again.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Such a good movie.

  2. Andy Umbo Avatar
    Andy Umbo

    You look very “can-do corporate”, so there you go!

    As a long time professional, I have no idea why someone would be using APS-C for portraits and FF for architecture, except for the idea that FF wide angle lenses are truly wide for the FF format, and not truncated for the APS-C format. For portraiture, the ability to throw backgrounds out of focus would be far easier in FF than APS-C…so…”shrug”, once you’ve actually “bought up” to FF, no reason to shoot APS-C for anything…

    For portraiture, there’s really no one lens. For FF 35mm film days, the 85mm was used a lot in the early days, I think because there was a tradition of that being the longest lens that you could focus well on professional rangefinders, and usually the longest lens that had a frame line in the finder. It’s a great size. When SLR 35mm came along, I remember Nikon back in the 70’s really putting the push on for their exceptional 105mm f/2.5, a wonderful lens! The “sales feature” being you could shoot a tight head shot without being right on the person, you could work at a nice distance.

    When I go back over my files, I was a 120 shooter for people, but I probably shot 80+% of my people work with the equivalent of a “normal” (when I wanted some of their environment in the shot, a little looser), or the equivalent of 85mm, when I wanted something tighter.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I wonder if this photographer had come to the realization that FF was the way to go for everything he photographs.

      I appreciate my TLRs very much when I do portraiture.

      1. Andy Umbo Avatar
        Andy Umbo

        Gotta say, the TLR is a great camera for people pictures! I’m trying to sell my darkroom stuff like my 4X5 Omega enlarger, lenses, etc. But I’m holding on to an old, but nice condition Omega B22, and see myself just shooting the TLR and printing it on the that enlarger…

  3. jim hanes Avatar

    You could use Photoshop to copy-flip & paste the other eye over Droopy.
    OR: You could have plastic surgery to “freshen up” your eyes, a fairly minor procedure. Here in the U.S., those surgeries are done by plastic surgeons and also ophthalmologists, the latter sometimes covered by insurance. Don’t let a plastic surgeon up-sell you on more surgery. Sometimes less is more.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I’m strongly considering having that eyelid surgically lifted. It sags more when I’m tired, and when it sags that much it interferes with my vision.

      1. tbm3fan Avatar

        It is called blepharochalasis as opposed to ptosis. You lose elasticity creating a new fold that can droop over the lashes as seen on your right eye. A common older age thing.

        1. Jim Grey Avatar

          The droop I’m talking about is in the eye that presents as left in the photo – the lower lid has sagged over the years. I think it’s likely that 35 years of wearing a gas-perm contact in that eye, and pulling every day on the skin at the edge of the eye to pop the lens out for cleaning and storage, has probably damaged whatever muscle holds that lid up. I don’t wear a contact in the other eye.

          On the other eye, there is some overlap of the outer eyelid but I don’t find that to be a problem, yet.

        2. tbm3fan Avatar

          I don’t see that since the lower limbus is still covered and you are not showing white sclera below the corneo-limbal margin and above the lid margin. So I wouldn’t diagnose lower lid ptosis yet based on your photo but mild blepharochalasis I would for the left eye. My mistake looking at the picture left vs right previously. What it looks like you are referring to is orbital fat that has slipped into the lower lid area giving the impression of sagging, puffiness, or dark ring of the right. Also common over time.

        3. Jim Grey Avatar

          Interesting. Thank you for your expert insight. I’m not pleased with how it looks, especially when I smile (as my eyes tend to go to slits when I do that anyway, and this makes it worse) but it is not yet a serious problem in terms of limiting my vision.

  4. Kurt Ingham Avatar

    Slit eyes (squint) are a Movie Tough Guy(of a certain era) trademark:, Eastwood, Bronson, Wayne,Marvin,Coburn…

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Yeahhhhhh I just looked goofy.

  5. Cailín Rúnda Avatar
    Cailín Rúnda

    Oh, but how long were you in makeup?) Looks as though they were going for a minimalist everyday look. Suits you well! …

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      No makeup! :-) One thing that is surprising to me when I see myself in the mirror or see a recent photo is how faint my eyebrows have become. Here’s a picture of me in my 20s – my eyebrow game was strong then!


  6. Cailín Rúnda Avatar
    Cailín Rúnda

    Time erases to leave character in it’s place! …

  7. Marc Beebe Avatar

    Being in possession of a mirror, I do not comment on the appearance of others.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Lol! I hear you.

  8. Daniel Brinneman Avatar

    35mm, 50mm, 85mm are good prime lenses for portraits and depends on camera you have. I wonder if you used your skills to get rid of the sag too.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I have wanted to invest in an 85mm lens, probably for my Nikon bodies, for some time now. When I encounter one, it always costs more than I want to spend.

      I could probably fix my eye in Photoshop, but in the end, this is actually how I look and I think it’s best to just let it be.

      1. Daniel Brinneman Avatar

        Look on eBay for lens deals, get an old lens body to use with an adapter if that’s needed. Then you don’t have to sink all your pennies into it.

        1. Jim Grey Avatar

          I’m fortunate to have a Nikon Df DSlR that will let me mount old Ai and Ai-s manual-focus lenses natively. It’s so nice to be able to shoot all of my existing old Nikon lenses on that body.

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