January 21, 2010

The Dreaded Pictorial Directory

Lord, have mercy. It's time for another church directory and my hair appointments are not lining up with the picture dates.

It wouldn't matter if there were more people in the picture. If you have 3 or more people in your family, each individual face is tiny.

Look at those itty-bitty faces. Aren't they all cute and perfect? They could have spinach in their teeth and no one would ever know.

If you're single, your face fills up the whole picture.  It's like HDTV - every flaw shows.

Helpful tips are supposed to make your picture better.
  • Solid colors or simple patterns look best. Busy patterns on clothing are distracting.  (They say "distracting" like it's a bad thing.Since my picture is 3 times the size as everyone else's, isn't distraction my primary goal here?)
  • Darker colors are slenderizing. (That would be great if you showed enough of me to matter. But noooooooo, you only show my face, which looks fatter when I smile. If you'd show my whole body I could accept the extra 10 pounds that the camera adds, but by only showing my face, the camera adds more like 20 pounds.)
  • Small jewelry/accessories compliment your face better. Avoid large, distracting accessories. (Another way to distract? Thanks for the tip!)
  • Make sure your shoes match your outfit. They might show in some poses. (If only...)
  • Long sleeves are better for adults to focus attention on the face. Short sleeves are OK for infants and children. (So which would I rather call attention to, a bad hair day or my whiter-than-white arms in the middle of winter?)
  • Your glasses are a part of you, so feel free to wear them. Our photographers are trained to minimize any glare. (Excuse me? Why aren't glasses distracting? I bet your photographer is just going to compile an email full of pictures of people wearing ugly glasses to forward to their friends 50 years from now. I'm not falling for that.)

Then there are grooming tips:

  • Don’t get your hair cut within 48 hours of your portrait sitting. Ideally, haircuts should happen 2 weeks prior. (Hence, the hair dilemma. In order to do this, I would have to get my hair cut 3 weeks after the last cut to make it no more than 2 weeks before the sitting. Oh, well.)
  • Limit your exposure to the sun for a few days before portrait day. (I'm not sure we need this warning for a February sitting, but I guess it means I shouldn't risk a self-tanning orange glow.)
  • Have any hair and makeup supplies available for quick touch-ups. (I once showed up with a set of hot rollers. Not only did it not help, it's actually my all-time worst directory picture. I'm not exaggerating. I've actually been in the room with people who laughed when they saw it.)

Despite the fact I hate the ordeal, and I nearly always hate my own picture, I will show up at the appointed time to have my picture taken. I'll do it because it's the price we pay to get our very own copy of the church directory - which is really a family album - a snapshot in time. It tells us the names of those people we see every Sunday, but can't call by name.  It helps us to connect to others whose names we often hear, but have never connected with a face. It reminds us of the people we need to pray for today and, as time goes by, reminds us to thank God for others who are gone but who made a difference in our lives. It gives us the emails of those we keep meaning to send a note of encouragement. It makes us more of a family.

That and I coordinated the last directory and if I'm not in this one, I'll never hear the end of it.


  1. oh dear, that is a very high price to own a directory. very, very

    have you thought about a groucho marx eyebrow/mustache addition?

    wish i could help here but sounds like a LOT of fun! :)

  2. I haven't thought about the Groucho Marx idea, but I have considered Glamour Shots...even if I would end up looking like a tart in the church directory. Glamour Shots get less flattering the older you get though - I should have done it 15 years ago!