Every so often, we are asked to update our photos on the firm’s website. I always thought the update requests divided people into two categories — those who like, or even love, getting their picture taken, and those who dread the thought of getting in front of the camera again and will do whatever they can to avoid it. Now I realize there is a third category: those who know the tricks of the trade.
I recently met with an attorney who had a page of portrait proofs on his desk. He said he used the “extended turtle neck position” when he had the photos taken, stretching out his neck and thrusting his head toward the camera. This technique is supposed to eliminate sagging necklines, double chins, jowls, wattles, and other unsightly neck-related features that are an unfortunate consequence of aging. It also makes your head look slightly larger, which supposedly enhances your attractiveness. (Some psychologists contend that people with larger heads are deemed more attractive because they look more like infants and thereby trigger instinctive protective impulses.) He said it’s just another trick used by cunning celebrities and not typically shared with those of us in the Great Unwashed — like the scene in Broadcast News where the William Hurt anchorman character explains that, when you are on camera, you should sit on the tails of your jacket so that your shoulders fit snugly and your shoulder lines stand out in sharp relief.
If you try the turtle neck position, you’ll soon realize it’s uncomfortable. If I did it regularly, I’d end up with a stiff neck. I guess putting up with a stiff neck — like having a face constantly tweaked by plastic surgeons, and wearing pounds of makeup, and getting yelled at by personal trainers — is just one of the prices of celebrity. I’d rather just stick with my wattles.