Look better with camera tricks

I have been feeling particularly ugly for a year or so now, what with my stupid hair being stupid and my skin feeling saggy because I’ve had to stop taking collagen supplements since moving to the UK (because they don’t have Meiji and Fancl here).

(Disclaimer: I don’t know that collagen supplements really work but I had taken them for years and felt okay about myself. Since coming to the UK, I have felt progressively older and uglier, although it could be due to the air being very dry here, or it could be just plain old aging, so I don’t know, lol.)


Women and beauty supplements


Last Saturday evening, while Piers and I were at a pub waiting for his friends to arrive, I decided to play around with my camera because I suddenly remembered it has a Soft Skin mode to “shoot more beautiful skin”.

Piers had bought me a Sony Cyber-shot (DSC-WX80) a few months ago to replace my iPhone camera (yes, I had been using my iPhone camera for nearly two years because my Lumix had sensor dust in it and I never got around to sending it back).


Sony DSC-WX80


I chose this model out of all the cameras in the store based on the merits of its compactness and pretty white looks, which shows how serious I am about photography.

So, while Piers was sipping his beer, and I was ignoring my Pimm’s cocktail in favour of camwhoring, I turned on Soft Skin mode, took a self-portrait and looked at the playback display.


Soft Skin mode


“Wow!” I said, “The soft skin mode has made me pretty again!”

I showed Piers the photo and he looked at me quizzically. “Hon, you look exactly like that in real life.”

I said, “No, no, the camera has smoothened out my face so I look much better!”

Piers rolled his eyes and said, “I think you have face dysmorphia.”

Yeah, sure, whatever.


The face of a person with face dysmorphia


I think Piers is quite blind. He can’t even tell whether I’ve got makeup on or not most of the time, which might make one think that he is just being sweet, trying to throw in a subtle compliment, but I think the truth is that he is genuinely blind.

I did look better on the camera playback because of the soft focus effect and the fact that playbacks are small in size (and I tend to look better when you can hardly see me).

I don’t think the photos look so nice after viewing them on my computer now. But they’re still better than usual.

I prefer my old Lumix’s beautiful skin mode though. Instead of making it a soft focus effect, it has some kind of special flash to make your skin glow. Kinda like this:


Glowy skin effect


Anyway, I made Piers take more photos of me before his friends finally arrived and I quite liked them. Maybe it was just a good day.

I usually have to take a hundred photos before I’m satisfied with one, but that day, I only had to take about 20 before I could find one I liked.



One more for the road


The next day, I experimented some more. I tried Soft Skin mode and Background Defocus and couldn’t decide which I liked more.

Soft Skin:


Soft skin


Background Defocus:


Background defocus


So, basically, soft skin blurs out your face while background defocus blurs everything but. Lol, stupid camera tricks, although I have to admit it’s handy and saves you from having to photoshop your photos.

Well, okay, I definitely look better with Soft Skin cos who doesn’t? But background defocus photos look more professional so I like them better, even if they make me look ugly.

Anyway, I quickly got tired of looking at my stupid face so I stopped taking photos of myself. I was at Piers’ parents’ house for a barbeque to take advantage of the rare warm and sunny day and there were dogs and a baby, which were much better (although harder) subjects to photograph. But I will leave that for another day.

I will do more “camera experiments” (which are in fact nothing more than vanity posts in disguise) in the future so keep coming back and keep reading!

In the meantime, allow me to leave you with some sage advice:

Do not believe every photo you see on the Internet! Between makeup and camera tricks and photoshop, no one is what they look like anymore. So, caveat emptor and have a nice week!

If you’re not beautiful you will die

A moth in my bathroom taught me this harsh lesson recently.

I was going to take a shower when I noticed it in the shower stall. At first, seeing a small brown lump on the floor, I thought it was a piece of rubbish.

But part of my mind considered that it might be a moth.

Even as I started to turn on the shower, a few options flashed through my mind.

  • Investigate it.
  • Heck care it. Just let it wash down the drain.
  • Clear it or it will clog up the drain cover.
  • Scare it away in case it’s a moth cos I don’t want to drown it.

As I mulled over my options casually, not really caring very much really, I turned on the shower.

And then turned it off abruptly again.

I really didn’t want to drown a moth. If it were a moth, it would definitely get wet and then get stuck to the bathroom floor and eventually follow the flow of water to the drain cover.

I bent down and looked at it.

What is this brown lump?

It was a moth! And quite a pretty one. Medium brown with pretty dark brown patterns around the edges of its wings.

It fluttered weakly once and then stopped. It looked dead. I couldn’t be sure if the flutter was due to my movement or because it was alive.

“Boo!” I said to it, hoping it would get scared and fly off.

Nothing. It remained motionless.

I scrunched up a bunch of toilet paper, then gently picked up the moth with the toilet paper.

When I turned the toilet paper around to look at it, I saw it had clung its legs around the folds of the paper. But it was still motionless.

Not quite knowing how to deal with it, I placed the whole ball in the rubbish bin, with the moth facing up. I hoped it was still alive and would fly off to safety by itself.

Moth in bin

I went to take my shower.

And that was when it struck me that the moth’s prettiness had saved its life, if it were alive to begin with.

I have washed lesser insects that are small, puny and ugly, down the drain, without thinking. It’s like those insects deserve to die because they’re ugly.

I might even allow a plain or ugly-looking moth to die, but I couldn’t allow a pretty moth to die.

I am so shallow!! =(

And I think this applies to people in some ways. We have a tendency to subconsciously treat attractive people with more respect and care, as if less attractive people deserved less.

I often hear people cursing other people when inconvenienced.

“Ugly bitch! Block my way and make me miss my train! I hope you fall down!”

I think people would be less likely to curse if the person blocking them were an Angelina Jolie lookalike.

It’s so unfair and it made me sad thinking about this.

I felt guilty for all the times I had killed insects because they weren’t pretty. But I think I will probably do it again because ugly insects gross me out.

By the time I finished my shower, the moth had disappeared from the ball of tissue paper. Yay! It had flown off to safety. Or so I hoped. I couldn’t see it anywhere in the bathroom.

I hope Morty didn’t eat it.

Morty the baby lizard

It’s easier to be ugly

Oh my god I’m so ugly.

The bad news is that this is the least ugly picture of the ugly lot. I don’t dare show the others.

When the Goonfather walked past my computer to go to the bathroom, he peeked at the pictures I had open in my Adobe Photoshop. He squinted at them and said, “Ee-yer! Who is this toot!”

*strangles Goonfather*

The good news is that, at the end of the video, I go back to normal.

But the bad news is that I look like the first picture in 70% of the video.

The good news is that the video runs for only 90 seconds. It’s almost like a TV commercial.

According to the client, it will be shown on MRT screens in the Northeast line and at roadshows. I’m glad I don’t know anyone who takes the Northeast line.

Actually, in retrospect, looking ugly for this video is very worth it because it was really fun to act in.

I am this bumbling, loser executive type who gets the brunt of Murphy’s Law. At the end of the video I magically (kinda) transform into a happy, confident chick, thanks to NTUC (which this video is commissioned by).

It’s a comedy. A bit corny, but cute. And very, very fun to act in.

I want to act in comedies and not have to worry about people thinking I’m not good-looking enough to be on TV or in films.

You know how some people are very cruelly practical when it comes to passing judgement on actors and models.

“So ugly still dare to become actress! Wah lau!”

They forget that you need ugly people on TV, too. Yes, even for leading characters. And most comedy shows in Singapore don’t cast unbelievably good-looking actors. They cast real, average-looking people who are funny.

So, that’s what I want to be.

Right. Who am I kidding? I’m lucky to get a job, never mind the choosing part.

He-who-cannot-be-named said that I’m too picky.

No way, man. I did the Carlsberg commercial, didn’t I?

Speaking of which, that commercial is totally playing hide-and-seek with me. Some of you are observant enough to notice that there are four versions and I only appear in one. So far, I have seen all three other versions several times, but I have yet to see mine.

Perhaps it’s for the best. I have been told I look trashy in it.

See, it’s difficult when you’re anywhere above the category of ugly. As long as you’re not ugly, people obssess over your looks. They expect you to look a certain degree of perfection all the time. And if you don’t, it’s your fault.

It’s a stupid world we live in.