Nancy Roman

Looking Good

The other day I was getting ready for work, and my hair and makeup came out especially nice – very rare indeed. And I loved what I was wearing, which was just a black v-neck long-sleeved tee (but that’s my favorite thing to wear with jeans).

So after I made the bed, I documented my satisfactory appearance with a quick selfie. Okay, about 20 selfies, but this one was pretty nice:

June selfie


I need a photo for my book jacket, and I thought this might be a contender. I look happy and I would just need a little photoshop for the undereye wrinkles.

So I uploaded the photo to my Facebook site, to get some opinions.

And I did!  Most people thought I looked pretty nice  – and young  – and you can’t get much better than that.

But book-jacket material. No way.

“Too grainy”  (that’s atmosphere)

“Too dark”   (that’s atmosphere)

“This is in your bedroom, for God’s Sake!”  (okay, that may be too much atmosphere)

“This is your novel. You first novel. Maybe your only novel. Your precious baby. Have a professional photo done.”

And so I scouted around the internet for someone nearby who could do it right away.

And whose pictures made ordinary people look pretty. (and young) I found a great photographer who can take me tomorrow.

And now I am stressing.

Because according the photographer, I need:

* Two outfits. I figured I would just wear my beloved black v-neck. Do you think my grey v-neck would constitute two outfits?

* Nice jewelry. That’s an easy one. With my black v-neck, I like the small gold seahorse necklace my husband bought for me on a business trip he took without me to Las Vegas. (Yea for guilt.)

* My nails looking good. This confuses me. I want a head shot. I don’t think it will be one where I am playing peek-a-boo. But I will do my nails right after I finish typing.

* My makeup with me. I guess a small suitcase would work.


And according to the internet (just google ‘tips for looking great in photos’), I need:

* Makeup without sunscreen. It appears that sunscreen can get white-looking under flash photography. So of course I have six different foundations. They all have sunscreen. That’s what you are supposed to wear. So I went out and bought makeup made especially for photography.  The internet says that you can use a good book jacket photo for about seven years. I hope that new foundation has a long expiration date.

* Contour. I haven’t used contour since 1987. But I need to use contour around my hairline and down the sides of my nose, or my face will look very flat. I figured I could just use a swipe of my bronzer, until I read that it has to be matte. No shimmer. All bronzer has shimmer – that’s how you get bronze. But I found a matte cream to powder foundation in brown. I might get to use it again if I get really really tan.

* Ditto for matte eye shadow. I recently bought a 14 color palette. One shade is matte. But I wanted a choice, so I bought some more.

* Ditto for matte blush. I have 8 blushes in my bathroom. One is matte. Luckily, it is one I like.

*Powder. You need to set all this makeup. I have some loose powder. I bought it in 1987. So now I have another new powder – pressed not loose – which reminds me of what my mother used in 1957. This one should last me until 2027.

* Teeth whitening.  In my mouth right this minute. I am multitasking.

* White eyeliner to line the inside edge of my eyes to make my eyes look bigger and whiter. I have one of these. It came in a sample box of makeup. I didn’t know what to do with it. But now I do.

* Murine. To get the red out.

* Lip liner. I refuse. It is NOT 1987. But I have a nice lipstick I love that is quite matte and makes a clean line. And gloss for just the center of my lip. I have Chapstick. Close enough.

* False eyelashes. I have some.  They are a bit droopy after a few wears. So I bought new. Self-adhesive they claim. I hope so – or they might fall off at an inopportune moment.

* Eyebrow pencil. I have fallen in love with eyebrow pencil lately so I’m all set.

*Great hair. Shiny but not too shiny. Full but not too full. Sprayed but not sprayed. Framing my face but not hiding my face. It will never happen.

And I have an evening appointment, so I also need to remove all the makeup I’ve worn during the day and start fresh. With primer of course, which happily I have.

I am going to have to leave work early.

I can’t believe I thought I looked good enough in the selfie.



Me in my falsies – false eyelashes, that is.






  1. Whew! I guess this is why I could never write a book. I would not be able to pull off the author photo. My makeup consists of a little concealer under the eyes, some pressed blush, and some mascara. I can see that would not cut it. Good luck. Looking forward to seeing the finished photo!


    • I feel more pressure than I did writing the book!


  2. Wow — I, too, am looking forward to seeing your professional photo….but I liked your selfie!


    • I like it too. It can be my fallback if my professional shot looks goofier.


  3. Funny and scary – who knew a picture on a book could be this involved?!?


    • I think I should bring an entourage of makeup and hair experts with me.


      • Feel pretty, will probably do more than all the experts combined.


      • Dan

        That was good thinking. Did you?


  4. Don’t you just love it? Beauty may only be skin deep, but for a photo shoot, it’s knee deep! I loved this!


    • Good thing I didn’t know this when I got married. I just spritzed my hair and put my usual makeup on – and that was it!


  5. Congratulations on finishing your novel! With Photoshop available, I thought photographers could turn any old photo into a movie-star shot. Who knew?


    • I’m hoping with all this effort AND photoshop, I will look like a movie star.. a young one. Scarlett Johansson would be okay.


  6. BTW, thanks for letting me know what to do with those white eyeliner pencils that I got in makeup kits.


    • I tried it out this morning. I looked like a zombie. But a photogenic zombie.


  7. That’s a very long list from the photographer! Personally I would say you should avoid having your hands in a headshot as they always look as if they are ‘stunt’ hands that belong to someone else – it just doesn’t work when they are not attached to the rest of you (if you see what I mean?!) Just a bit of advice I was given when starting out as an actress and it always makes me laugh when I see hands in headshots now! False eyelashes are great though… x


    • Only the first section was from the photographer.. the rest was internet “advice.” I will never be able to look at portraits with hands the same way again! They are definitely staying out of my pictures.


  8. Please just try to be you, because you are the Best at It \o/ (and a good photographer also has a good light and that´s what makes you shiiiine) \o/


    • Even though I would love to look like “not-me”, I guess I will stick to “me.” But with lots of makeup and strategic lighting and photoshop.


  9. Well, I guess this is what I have to look forward to too. With my first novel coming out soon — it’s in line for galleys at publishing house — that’s all that is left. Yikes!! But I will say, lighting makes a world of difference. You may find you don’t even need any photo enhancing after your face is appropriately lit!! Looking good though!!


    • I’m hoping good lighting will erase twelve years.


  10. Diane

    I always like to see a pet, cat, dog, horse, etc. I also like scarves at the neck and ocean/beach shots. But that’s me.


    • I love beach shots, too – but this will be studio. I am not a scarf person. And my cats won’t sit still. We shall see.


  11. I like this picture; you look like a real person. Photoshop out the background, not the tiny wrinkles. I guess that’s why I don’t bother to finish a book. Once the experts get me beautiful for a cover shot, no one will recognize me when I go for all those book-signings anyway.


    • I will have a makeup artist come with me to book-signings. I am just hoping I don’t overhear, “Boy, she looks a lot OLDER than the photo!”


  12. Congrats on a your novel! That’s awesome although getting ready for a book jacket photo seems slightly more difficult than writing an actual book.


    • Not just slightly more difficult! A lot more difficult. Not to much pressure to sit and type – lots of pressure to look good!


  13. Your selfie is awesome. Can’t wait to see the new one you have to pay for. All that for a photo shoot? Oh my.😀 It’ll be great.


    • Thanks… I like that selfie too. My husband wants to come with me to the photo shoot for moral support. I can’t say no, but I’m afraid he is just going to make me more self-conscious than I already am. Maybe I can get him to make funny faces behind the photographer.


      • Ha ha. You’re lucky he’s this interested to make sure his better half gets the royal treatment.🙂


  14. You look great in your falsies! And there are no eye wrinkles in that closeup. Maybe your book jacket photo could just be of the eyes. That would definitely make the book stand out. I do like your selfie a lot, but can’t wait to see the professional shot too.🙂


    • Just came back from my photoshoot… and I couldn’t even get the falsies on straight, so I ripped them off and did three coats of mascara. I’m sure I’d call that going natural, but close enough for me.


  15. I had an AMAZING photo shoot (for my business) with a fabulous photographer and it was a lot of fun. The first pictures were a bit stilted but then I relaxed and we had a blast. Things I learned:

    Take a couple of outfits – with colour, as well as black. Great jewellery can add to an outfit really fast.

    Think about what you want the photos for. Yes, for your book jacket but do you also want one for a Facebook banner? (You’ll need a ‘horizontal’ one for that, you see.) Also, a full length one is useful.

    Bring along a prop or two – a book to read, some paper to write on – sometimes those shots come out really well. Sometimes they don’t, but hey it’s all digital.

    My photographer did a book but it’d take too long to get to you!!

    Also, look in the mirror now. Do you like a profile? Looking up at the camera? Looking down? (I have a double chin if I am not careful so looking up is way better for me)

    Finally, a quick tip on how to get a natural smile. Say, “Hi Lis” (insert photographer’s name here!) and then smile. The smile comes naturally as you are then talking to the photographer.

    If your photographer is good, then they should be able to help you with feeling relaxed. And you will have a FABULOUS photo.

    Good luck and have fun!


    • Just returned from shoot. She was very nice, and it was very easy.


      • So glad to hear it. Looking forward to seeing the pictures! Are you pleased with them?


  16. They might do a chin-in-hand shot, which would explain the nails. Hope the shoot was great!


  17. Well you see, most good photogs would tell you they had a hair a make-up person available. Small extra charge (likely less than you paid for all that make-up). They will fix you right up. I use them when I have pictures done, they do a great job every time it is worth it.

    I think you look great and photoshop could have taken out the background.


    • My hairdresser offered to do my hair and makeup but I was afraid that I wouldn’t like it, and then would be afraid to say anything. I fear the retribution of a hairdresser.


      • I tell them what I want. Then I correct them when I don’t like it. This is why I use the photographers and not my own.


  18. Christine

    Did you have to use any of the things she asked you to bring?


    • Not really. I didn’t change clothes, she didn’t shoot my hands, and I got frustrated trying to make the false eyelashes look right and didn’t use them. I brought all my makeup and hair product.. I was correct when I thought I would need a suitcase, and never took a thing out. It took 45 minutes, but mostly because we chatting about photography and books and Tom came too, and he asked her all sorts of questions.


  19. Wow, who knew there would be so much preparation! It reminds me of the opposite of my kids’ senior pictures for school. The boys arrive at the school in shorts and t-shirts, they put on false tuxedo fronts, smile, pose a couple different ways and walk out!


  20. I’m late to the party here but you are stressing too much on this. This should be fun for you. Part of a wonderful memory. The professional shot, you won’t regret but had I been in time I would have said treat yourself and have your makeup done professionally as well. Then all you have to worry about is touch ups, which we all know you can handle.😉


    • I did stress out way too much. But it was easy, and I looked fine (I think… still waiting for the proofs).


  21. You have fabulous eyes! Don’t care what anybody else says – the pictures will be great.


    • Just got the proofs. Very nice. I look pretty young,so I’m happy.


  22. Wow! I guess I will stay DAF when I write and publish my book, that way I could take a picture of a tree and it would pass, I could never get all of that straight… I need a great photo shop or just have my son in law take my picture, he’s a photo editor and very good! Great post!


  23. Whew, it sounds so complicated (and those of use running around in sunscreen minimum foundation – and a few dabs or this and that feel really out of main stream)
    Glad to see you recent responses that it went well. (But with those lovely eyes nothing else would matter.) Nothing like a great photographer. YEA for you!


  24. Ok, I’ve been away for awhile….well, quite awhile. But, I’m back now. What book??? How wonderful is that? I always thought you should write a book. Any more details available?


    • I have a novel JUST WHAT I ALWAYS WANTED coming out on Amazon in a month or so. My protagonist is a fifty-year-old single woman who decides to adopt a pregnant teenager. Read the blurb on my recent post “Blurb Time.”


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