Monday, April 27, 2009

The Glamour Shots Experience

Jennifer and I did Glamour Shots while we were at the Mall of America. I had done them a few years before and actually got some good photographs from the process. See, I don’t photograph well. Apparently I need makeup caked on my face and half a can of hair spray in my hair in order to look appealing on film.

It’s just how it goes and I’ve accepted that.

So Jennifer and I get to Glamour Shots and we’re given papers to fill out. The two women who were going to be doing our makeup kept shooting perplexed expressions in our direction. I was beginning to think that my fly was undone again. I mean, it’s happened before. I surreptitiously checked my fly and breathed a sigh of relief when I saw that it was up. But then I worried that there was something stuck on my teeth. Was that what the women were gaping at? I ran my tongue along my teeth and didn’t feel anything. I was about to lean over to Jennifer and ask if I smelled or something but then one of the makeup ladies spoke.

“How old are you?” she demanded. She was Latino and I’ve heard Latinos are quite blunt. Maybe it’s just because I watch Desperate Housewives and I’m used to the Latino character Gabby mouthing off.

I get this question a lot. Jennifer does too.

“I’m 26 and she’s 25,” I said, gesturing to Jennifer who was busy filling out the paperwork.

The Latino woman didn’t look like she believed me at first.

“You’re kidding?” she said, her perfectly shaped eyebrows disappearing behind her bangs.

Then the other makeup lady chimed in.

“I was wondering where your mothers were!” she chirped.

It was on the tip of my tongue to say something like, “You caught us! We’re high schoolers. We’re totally ditching school and our first stop was Glamour Shots.”

But see, that’s sarcastic and rude. And these ladies were in charge of my makeup. If I pissed them off they could make me look like Bozo the Clown. Or, you know, a streetwalker.

So I just gave them a friendly smile and said something like, “We’re in our twenties.”

After the paperwork was finished we were led to the makeup chairs. The Latino woman was in charge of my makeup. She stared at me for a full minute. I was beginning to feel uncomfortable and squirmed a little on my chair. It makes me nervous to be stared at. I was about to say something cheesy like, “Please stop looking at my zits!” but then she spoke.

“You have nice eyes,” the Latino said. She continued to gaze at me sharply.

“Oh,” I answered. “Thank you.” I gestured to all the makeup she had laid out in front of her. “You seem to have a lovely collection here….” I trailed off. I just wanted her to STOP LOOKING AT ME.

“What kind of makeup do you like?” she inquired. (Still staring.)

I shrugged. “I don’t wear a lot at home. Just, you know, some foundation and some blush. I attempt eyeliner but usually fail horribly.” I gave a nervous laugh. The makeup lady didn’t even flinch. She just stared and stared and stared. There was another brief silence and I was tempted to slide off the chair and say, “You know what? Forget this. You’re totally creeping me out.”

But then the lady suddenly clapped her hands and I jumped in my chair.

“Did I scare you?” she wondered, rubbing my shoulder.

No lady. I just leaped out of my skin for the fun of it.

But to her I just went, “I’m okay. I scare easily.”

“I know what I’m going to do,” the lady told me seriously. She started rummaging through her makeup and suddenly she was putting stuff around my eyes. A few minutes later she instructed me to close my eyes because she was going to spray foundation on my face.

“Like the celebrities. The celebrities get this spray. Isn’t that exciting?” she gushed, getting the tiny silver machine that was sitting on the counter ready.

Um. I guess if you find getting liquid sprayed on your face exciting. I wasn’t sure if I was allowed to breathe when it was being splashed on my face. So I just held my breath as I was sprayed and then I realized, crap, I need to BREATHE but then I was paranoid that the foundation would get into my lungs, I’d get sick and then die and wouldn’t that stink if I perished because I inhaled foundation?

Right when I was about to pass out from lack of oxygen, the lady finished.


You never appreciate breathing until you take a brief break from it.

“Eyes again,” the lady muttered and started rubbing more stuff on them. Then she practically poked my eye out with the mascara.

“Look down,” she instructed. “DOWN!” she shrieked when I accidentally looked up.

I’m sorry. I panicked. When you see a POINT coming at you, you lose all sense of direction.

I feel like my eyes were totally abused. Because she kept adding mascara to them and I was about to say something like, “I’d rather not look like Tammy Faye Baker (may she rest in peace) if that’s okay with you…”

But then she announced that she was done.

Just like that.


“Let’s go take some pictures,” she said and led me into the back.

There was a photographer waiting. She introduced herself and instructed me where to stand.

“I’m taking off my glasses so I can’t quite see what you’re doing,” I explained as I headed for the backdrop.

The photographer would tell me how to pose and I’d be squinting at her in confusion, cursing my poor eyesight and eventually having to admit that it looked like she was just doing jumping jacks from my perspective.

So the photographer would have to stand two inches from me and go, “ THIS!” and she’d twist herself into a pose.

Oh. Right.

Then my Latino makeup artist stood and watched because she’d be in charge of fixing my hair if it messed up. And my hair messed up a lot because it hates me. So the photographer would be about to snap a picture and the makeup artist would suddenly shriek,


Seriously. I nearly had a heart attack. My poor nerves.

Then my hair would get fixed and I’d be told to smile….BIGGER SMILES! that really a big smile?

“I don’t want to look like a possessed clown,” I said, my lips pulled up as high as they could possibly go.

“You don’t. You look CUTTEE!” the photographer cooed.

Oh fantastic. When I think of the word cute I think of puppies and kittens. I wasn’t going for cute. I was hoping for sexy, as I wanted to send these photos to my husband who will be in Texas until June.

My mouth was really starting to ache towards the end of the shoot.

“Can I do some silly pictures? Maybe leap through the air or something?” I asked the photographer.

She looked like she was about to say yes.

But then my makeup artist interjected and said, “No.”


Excuse me, last I checked, I would be paying for these pictures. What did she mean NO?

“Why not?” I wondered meekly. To be honest, my makeup artist scared me a little bit. Not only did she abuse my eyes but she also seemed the type who slapped people when she got upset.

“Because this is GLAMOUR shots. Not SILLY shots,” I was told in a sharp tone.

“Can’t I be glamorous sailing through the air?” I said.

The makeup artist shook her head. “No.”


Okay then.

So we did a few more shots and then Jennifer came into the back. I was close to running over to her and throwing myself into her arms and shrieking, “Save me! My makeup artist is SCARY and she won’t let me do SILLY shots!”

But I contained myself.

Jennifer and I took a bunch of pictures together. We were finally able to do some silly shots because we both starting begging and I think we started to give my makeup artist a headache. So she waved her arm and went, “Fine. Some silly shots. It makes no sense but fine.”


So Jennifer and I did some silly shots with some sunglasses and some strange looking hats that we were given.

When those were done we got to have one last individual shot. While I went to get dressed, Jennifer got some pictures done.

I decided on the red dress that the store had hanging up. The zipper didn’t work and I went over to my makeup artist and explained the situation.

“Zipper isn’t supposed to work. I’m clipping you up in the back for a better fit,” she said sternly.


And clipping me up she did.

“HOLD YOUR BREATH!” she shrieked at me. “You want a good fit, yes?”

“Yes,” I croaked out. “But I’d also like to be able to breathe.”

I was ignored.

The makeup artist just finished clipping the dress and was all, “There we go!” Then she twirled me around so I could face the mirror.

The dress did fit well but seriously, I could barely breathe.

“How do you like it?” the lady asked me.

“Well,” I said honestly. “It’s pretty but I can’t breathe very well.”

The makeup artist waved a hand in the air. “Breathing is overrated.” Then she tossed her head back and let out a cackle.

I was beginning to wonder if she was part witch or something.

Then it was time to change up my makeup. I was a little afraid to be honest. My eyes were given fresh eye shadow and yes, the mascara was put back on.

“You must look down or else I’ll poke you,” the makeup lady chastised as she applied mascara. Then she laughed because I guess a horrified expression appeared on my face. “I’m joking!”

But I wasn’t so sure.

Jennifer came back out to switch outfits as I was headed back to take more pictures. These pictures were more the sexy kinds. The photographer had brought out a chair and showed me how she wanted me to drape over it.

“LOVE the chair,” she told me seriously.

This made me laugh. I giggled until I caught my makeup artist’s expression. Her lips were set in a firm line and she shook her head slightly.

The giggles abruptly stopped and I loved the chair.

And then, about ten minutes later, it was all over. I watched as Jennifer took her last photos and tried not to laugh when they had her draping over a chair backwards. Jennifer just looked startled so the photographer nixed that idea.

We were finished after that and told to come back in a half hour to look at our pictures.

So Jennifer and I walked around the mall and then returned. There was a guy waiting to show us our pictures on a giant computer screen. He was all, “Here is a slide show of your pictures,” and he clicked a button and cheesy music started up in the background as our pictures appeared on screen.

Some of my pictures were scary. But some looked okay.

Then you had to tell the guy the pictures that you liked. He marked them on a piece of paper and then started adding everything up.

“Okay, with all the pictures you want that’ll be four thousand dollars,” he said without flinching.

I think my jaw fell open. How he could say that so casually was beyond me.

I mean…four thousand dollars? For PICTURES? I can understand if it was for a wedding or something. But for a bunch of silly pictures?

“Um,” I said weakly. “I don’t think so.”

It was on the tip of my tongue to remind that guy that we were in a RECESSION.

So I started taking pictures out that I didn’t like so much.

“That’ll be six hundred dollars,” he said calmly.


“Sir,” I pleaded. “Our husband’s are in the military and don’t make a lot of money. I just had to buy a new car because my old one crapped out. I don’t have six hundred dollars to spare for a bunch of pictures.”

The guy looked startled. “But these pictures are amazing!”

“Maybe so. But I don’t have that kind of money lying around.”

I think we sat there for nearly an hour trying to get the guy to lower the prices. It gave me a headache.

The guy lowered them to three hundred at one point and I shook my head.

“Too high.”

The guy looked confused. “But I’m giving you free stuff….”

What free stuff? I didn’t see anything free.

When we walked out of there my head was pounding from all the haggling.

And no, I don’t have the pictures now. They’re going to be mailed to Jennifer’s house and she’ll scan them for me and then I’ll share.

I do have other pictures to post though. That night Jennifer and I took a bunch of pictures. We had had a few drinks at TGI Fridays and, well, this is how I tend to get when I’m around alcohol so it’s best that I stay away from it:

Since the makeup artist wouldn't let me do jumping photos I just did them in the hotel room.

Like my spiffy glasses? I got them at Claires.

Um. I have no idea.

I got the giggles. This is how I started to laugh when I was instructed to love the chair.

I take my video game playing seriously, yo.

Hey look! A non-silly one.


  1. LOL Too funny! Thanks for sharing. Can't wait to see those pics.

    Lynnette Labelle

  2. That was fan-frickin-tastic! I wish I could have seen that guys face! LOL!

  3. I am looking forward to seeing those photos! Great story.

  4. I have wondered what it would be like to have photos taken in these places. I think I will steer clear! Yikes!

    I like the post TGIF photos!

  5. Dude, I totally need to go on a girls weekend with you. Sounds like you two had a blast.

    I did Glamour Shots in high school and I'm still traumatized. I won't be going back anytime soon.

  6. I wish you were my neighbor! We'd have all sorts of fun :)

  7. You don't need no stinkin' glamour shots! You got some great candid shots. :)

  8. Bring out the Hellman's and bring out . . . . corsetts.

    My dear, sweet, dear naive young child, you are too young to realize that being mistaken for a child is, well . . . a queenly prize you are far too young to realize.

    Bronze this post and read it again when you're older . . . oh, say, in twenty years or so. You'll have quite a different perspective.

    Best wishes.

  9. And, that? Is why I can't do Glamor shots! I think I would have walked out.

    I wish I could have been a fly on the wall, though!

  10. wow, $4k for glamour shots? I think my jaw just hit the floor.

    i didn't even know glamour shots was still around!

  11. Glamour shots have always scared me a little.

  12. Oh that little adventure was hilarious!! And $4000? WTF? I can't wait to get home so I can look at the pictures you posted!

  13. A) I officially feel like an old woman looking at those pictures.

    B) I think the ones you took are pretty glamorous, and nearly free.

    Can't wait to see the real deal!

  14. I thought you said you didn't photograph well??? You are way cute!

  15. You are way cute! I can't wait to see the glam shots after this story!

  16. i love that last pic - u look so sweet. the other pics gave me the giggles, too! :)

  17. I think this is one of my favorite stories. The description of the makeup lady was priceless!


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