Glamour Shots vs. Headshots


In 7th grade, I went to a “Glamor Shots” birthday party. There was a place at the mall, somewhere near Burbank, where you could get “professional” photos taken. There were big lights and long lenses and silver reflector square thingies and watercolor backdrops and it was so extremely grown up. My mother saved my glamor shots (oh, I’m sorry, I just noticed in the corner of the photo that it’s actually GlamOUR shots) and gave them to me a few years ago. In this one I’m featuring here, I’m wearing a classic, white, faux-fur halo and what basically looks like a Tickle Me Elmo suit made for middle schoolers. In one of the photos I can’t find, my hands were propped up under my chin and I looked positively, chubbily angelic. In this one, I remember I felt very snazzy in my borrowed, full-body feathers.

So, until a couple Saturdays ago, that was my one experience with headshots. And, that means, until a couple of Saturdays ago, 100% of my headshots featured feathers, proudly and exclusively.   


This book-making business is so much fun. In case I haven’t appropriately conveyed my excitement over it recently enough, I HAVE A BOOK COMING OUT IN JANUARY, and I’m allowed to tell you the title now -- Afraid of All the Things: Tornadoes, Cancer, Adoption, and Other Stuff You Need the Gospel For.


In my wildest dreams of old, I hoped I would sign a book contract and type words onto a page, but I never really thought far ahead enough in the dream to imagine all the other details that go into making it happen.

So, when Mary emailed me, asking for a headshot to put into a catalogue, I panicked. ALL I HAVE IS A GLAMOUR SHOT FROM 1999 AND I’M PRETTY SURE I DON’T HAVE MY FUZZ BLOUSE AND FLUFF CROWN ANYMORE!! But, I did some cyber research of local photographers and found my dream one on Instagram. I could barely believe she said yes and was able to squeeze me in when I needed her. I like you so much, Cymone.

So, now I’ve had two headshot experiences. And really, taking middle school glamour shots and adult author photos felt similar. On both occasions, I stared into a large lens wondering what to do with my hands and face, hoping to look normal and poised. On both occasions, I frantically wondered if my Adam’s apple was showing (It is. It always is. I don’t know why. Let’s not discuss this again.). On both occasions, I finished the session and waited and wondered if my face would look better than real life or far, far worse. On both occasions, I spent a larger-than-normal chunk of time before and after, expending an exorbitant amount of brain power thinking about what I look like.

Maybe you’re like me, sometimes. Like when you’re at a glamour shots birthday party wearing a red feather boa in Burbank, or when you’re trying to smile naturally for the photo that will go with the work you love, or when you’re sitting in the pick-up line waiting to get your kid from school, glaring at the impossibly together mom with the heels and the hair and the no fat and you get really caught up in “looking the part,” whatever that part may be.

We all have to endure middle school. We all have some job to do. We all want to be beautiful.

But, “looking the part” is so painful. It is shallow. It’s such an easy, empty thing to get caught up in, and I get caught up in it all the time. Am I doing the wrong thing with my hands, again? Are furry halo hats making a comeback? Why are you doing this, Adam’s Apple?  

You know what I wish I wondered instead?

How can my kindness to point my husband to Jesus? How can my service to point my children to Jesus? How can my actions to point my neighbors to Jesus? How can my words to point people to Jesus?

I want my life to be about helping others see the most beautiful thing in the world - The hope and peace of resting in Jesus Christ.

That’s it. And there are no GlamOUR shots for that. But there is a Holy Spirit and a special Word for hearts that long for beauty.

“Set your minds on things above...”

-- Jesus -- Grace -- The love of God -- The smile of God -- Jesus -- Jesus -- Jesus

“...not on earthly things...”

-- Career goals -- Mom goals -- Instagram goals -- Achievements -- Wins -- Good hair days

“... For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” - Colossians 3:2-4

Let’s all just take a break from “looking the part.” Our life is hidden. Our glory is sure. And I think we’ll know what to do with our hands.