Monday, January 14, 2013

5 Tips for Your Author Photo Shoot

Let me start by saying that I don't love having my picture taken, but sometimes we have to suck it up and do things we dislike (have I mentioned laundry here before?). Also, I was embarrassed that the photo my publisher had to send to the Frankfurt book festival a few months back was a quick pic taken in my dining room. I knew I'd have to get an acceptable photo taken sooner or later, so here is my new author photo...

                                               (Photo by MaryLynn Gillaspie Photography)

...and here are a few lessons I learned from the experience.

  1. Have it done by a professional. I know this costs money, but this will part of your "brand" that you present to the world via social media, book jackets, etc. If you have a photographer friend who will do it for free or at a discount, all the better.
  2. Do your research. Get referrals from friends or other writer's whose pictures you admire. Check out the photographer's website and look at their portfolio. Do you like their style and does it match what you're looking for?
  3. It takes a village. Okay, it did for me anyway. I'd never had my make-up done before, even on my wedding day, arguing that I wanted to "look like me." As my make-up person pointed out the day of my shoot, he did make me look like me, just "a more polished version." I also had my hair done because my idea of doing my hair is brushing it, and I'm hopeless with a flat iron. Plus, I can deduct the shoot, make-up application, and hair styling on my taxes. (NOTE: Please contact your own tax person before taking deductions, because telling the IRS you heard it from me won't fly with them.)
  4. Make sure the photo reflects YOUR personality. Wear clothing you are comfortable in and that shows your style. Sure, follow all the photographer guidelines as far as sticking with solid colors, etc. but this is not the time to try out a new "look." Also, have your expression match your personality. For instance, I'm considered a pretty upbeat person and am usually smiling. A Victoria Beckham-type pout would look ridiculous on me. I've seen serious looking author photos, which is fine if you are a serious person (or have written a book about scurvy), but just make sure you are being you.
  5. Have fun. Stressing about what to wear or how to pose for your official author photo is a pretty lucky problem to have. I'd actually choose it over doing laundry any day.
What were your experiences with your author photo? Any other tips to share?


  1. Looks beautiful and classy! Thanks for the great tips as always :)

    1. Wow, getting those two adjectives in the same day is awesome--thank you! I should post my Victoria Beckham pout for the comparison. ;)

    2. Yes! A blooper reel would be awesome! Lol

  2. Replies
    1. Aw, thanks...and good luck w/ your newly completed ms!

  3. You take a wonderful picture, Kristi! I haven't done a real picture...I will when I have to. I really don't like getting photos made.

  4. Thanks, Sharon--I don't like it either but am glad it's over!