Proofreaders and the paparazzi: getting headshots taken

Every two months, members of the South Warwickshire and Coventry local group of the Society for Editors and Proofreaders meet at a pub in Leamington Spa. Our discussions include all sorts of work-related topics, and I think we all find the meetings a very valuable resource – for sharing information about our proofreading and editing work and as social events too.

A different sort of meeting

Our recent meeting had a different flavour to it. Jenny Gibson, who co-organises the group with me, arranged for some headshots to be taken of any members of the group who were keen to have an updated one. Her husband Ian is a keen amateur photographer, and Jenny had chatted to a few members at a previous meeting about this, and they seemed keen. Jenny checked that the pub had no objections, and we were ready to go.

I’m not sure whether having an up-to-date headshot on your website and other places online helps when it comes to securing work. But it’s probably a good idea to keep updating it. Imagine if I’m about to meet a client for the first time and they’re on the lookout for the person in the first photo below, but in fact I look like the person in the second photo below. Enough said.

The proofreaders start posing

The next decision was what to wear to look professional and smart, even though only a very small area of clothing would be showing. It seemed to take me a ridiculously long time to decide on this, almost as if I thought my photo would be shown on news channels across the globe, with ‘Proofreaders have photo taken’ as the shocking and wildly exciting headline.

I arrived a bit earlier than usual at the pub, and Ian and Jenny were pretty much ready for their first victim: me. It was a bit odd to be staring down the lens of a camera being used by someone I’d met only a minute before, and I kept holding a cheesy grin for a while, only to realise that Ian was adjusting a setting on the camera. I’d then stop smiling, only to blink at the exact second he took the photo. I had warned him he’d have his work cut out with me. Ian’s lovely, and very patient, and by the end of my little session I was getting into it, even at one point subconsciously flicking my head and hair back, Hollywood-red-carpet style. Oh dear. Perhaps it was best that we ended the session there before I started getting ideas above my station.

Several other members of the group had their photos taken too, and I think we’ve now got great professional-level photos to replace our old ones on our websites and social media profile pages.

So on behalf of the group, I’d like to thank Jenny and Ian for organising this and being so calm and good-natured in surroundings that weren’t ideal. I think we all enjoyed the photo session, and I suspect in a couple of years we’ll be asking Ian if he’d like to come to the pub with us again – free burger and chips if he brings his camera!