Jan 26 2017

A Magical Tale of a Photo Fail

A couple days ago I published a post called “The Space Between Baby and Boy” (which was semi-uncharacteristically sentimental, I know, but sometimes the sappy side of me crawls out from its miniature cave and doesn’t know what to do with itself).

The baby is growing up. It’s rocking my world a little bit.

So I poured it all out and then sat down to choose a featured image — you know, the picture that accompanies the post when someone shares it on social media. And I browsed for a minute, but then I thought, Meh, I’m getting sort of tired of using stock photos.

A friend of mine had JUST told me about a photo service app, which is super cool in theory but turns out semi sucks if you’re the least bit inflexible.

You send the editors a photo with some instructions, and it is magically returned to you within 24 hours looking like pure awesomeness. My friend posted her transformed photo on Facebook, and it was INCREDIBLE, so I was like, Yeah buddy, no more stock photos for this girl! My “Baby and Boy” post will have something unique and creative and subtly cool.

I was pretty excited about the whole thing. So I sent them this photo of B.

space between baby and boy photo fail

I thought my instructions were pretty clear.

  1. The baby should be touching a silhouette in the mirror. Please make the silhouette look like an older, taller boy, as if the baby is growing up.
  2. I don’t need a background change (unless you have something you think would really work).
  3. The photo must be landscape.

They had three re-edits — THREE CHANCES to get it right.

First attempt:

space between baby and boy photo fail

They ignored everything I said. Everything.

But I laughed super hard after I was done being confused, because there were still two more tries. And I mean, if I were writing a book about a half-naked baby in a mysterious enchanted land, this would actually be kind of an amazing cover, so thanks for that.

So then I told them, Okay, look. I need a silhouette. And the background is all right I guess but maybe ax the unicorn. And also you gave me a square photo but a featured image cannot be square so can you please make sure it’s landscape this time?

space between baby and boy photo fail

This one was the closest of the three.

But I was still like, Hmm, I’m just not totally sure why he’s standing in a forest. So for the third attempt can you make the silhouette taller and maybe just put him in a baby boy’s room? Something with blue walls and a few toys, something like that?

I repeat: A BABY BOY’S ROOM.

space between baby and boy photo fail

So I’m not positive, but I think that is A PADDED CELL. Maybe on a spaceship. THEY PUT MY BABY IN AN ASYLUM MEANT FOR ALIENS and I was supposed to use that picture for a post about the sweet, sweet baby stage before he becomes a little boy.

I texted my friend. Which one do I use? I asked desperately. The second photo, right?

She sent me a million laugh-cry emojis. Do you have to use one?

Well, the photo service did have a special where they would give you an additional re-edit for $1.99, but at that point I just kind of figured it was time to cut my losses and admit that it was over, there had been some kind of major communication breakdown somewhere, MY VISION WAS A GONER. There would be no silhouette.

I went back to my trusty stock photo site and found some baby feet in big boy shoes. There. Done.

In related news, if you are a Photoshop wizard, hi there.

You might be my new best friend. I mean, not JUST because of the Photoshop thing of course, but because this whole writing-slash-motherhood gig is kind of lonely so new friends are always appreciated. Yeah, and also the Photoshop thing.

About Melissa

Melissa is a SAG-AFTRA actress and former high school teacher from Michigan who (reluctantly) moved across the country when she was six months pregnant. She is the winner of the SmokeLong Quarterly Grand Micro Contest and a past winner of the Breakwater Review Fiction Prize (selected by Susanna Kaysen, author of Girl, Interrupted), the F(r)iction flash fiction competition, and The Writer's inaugural personal essay contest, and her work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Cincinnati Review, The Greensboro Review, New Ohio Review, HuffPost, Scary Mommy, and The Boston Globe Magazine, among others. She has been shortlisted for both the Bridport Prize and the Bath Flash Fiction Award and was recently selected for The Best Small Fictions and the Wigleaf Top 50. Melissa is represented by Jill Marr of the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency.

7 comments on “A Magical Tale of a Photo Fail

  1. Ha ha! I just discovered your blog and this is the first post I’m reading…I can’t stop laughing! Oh how they got this so wrong, but this will be such a fun story to share with him when he’s older. I have a better referral to share with you for photo retouching if you ever wish to do this again. 🙂 What part of CA did you move to? I’m in the SF Bay Area, and am a transplant from NY. I love it here as much as I miss NY, even though I’ve been here for 18 years! Look forward to staying connected and following your journey!

    • Hi, Lori! I’m in the Bay Area, as well. Great website, by the way — your family session photos look so sweet, and I love your philosophy that parents need to exist in the photos, too! How true (but how difficult to pull off on our own)! So great to hear from you.

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