Why is it important to put your best face forward as an author?
The image you choose will follow you for a long while. Making sure it is done properly to signify you as an author/genre specific will help you relate to your potential audience.
Things to be aware of that distract from a great author shot:
- Desks cluttered with knick-knacks, stacks of paper, file folders
- Busy, boldly-patterned clothing
- Wrinkled sheets hung up as a backdrop
- Bad lighting, harsh flash
- Standing head-on, shoulders back, against a plain white wall, unless you’re going for a mug shot look
- Improper background settings.
What should you do to prepare for a great quality author shoot?
Wear something you love. This is really important for anyone having a portrait done. You may think it is less-so for authors, as generally, pictures of authors in books tend to be headshots, and so who cares what you wear, right? Wrong. Having your photo taken is a somewhat unnatural and potentially daunting situation, often involving posing. Most people (including me!) don’t like getting it done. Anything you can do to make yourself feel more relaxed and at home (especially if you’re out on location with others around) is great. If you feel relaxed and good in what you’re wearing, it will show on your face. I also always recommend people bring a couple of clothing options, so we can have a play and see what works best – and if you’re working with me, stay away from busy patterns in clothing, they just distract from your face.
- Take multiple outfits with you so you have options.
- Plan for multiple locations, or backgrounds.
- Pay for the session rather than per photograph. It’s more up front, but better in the long term.
- Make sure that you negotiate the right to reproduce the photos so you don’t need to keep coming back to get permission every time you have a new book. Studios that cater to actors are used to this.
- Wear make-up. Yes, you too, gentlemen. It doesn’t have to be visible makeup, but it will help your features pop. In person, the animation of your face is enough, but a photograph is a static image.
Work somewhere with the photographer that has some special significance for what you like to write about – for example, if your books feature famous landmarks, discuss incorporating recognizable features into the background of your headshot. You do not want an overly busy background, but it is still nice to get a suggestion of place in any shot – it makes it instantly more interesting. In addition to the interest in your shot, it will get you in the mood for being photographed as an author, and remind you of why you are doing the shoot! I suggest chatting with the photographer about possible locations, and seeing what suggestions they have in response to information you give them about your work.
Once you have the photos
- Narrow it down to no more than a dozen that you like.
- Get second opinions before you make your choice.
- Ask your editor, agent, and the marketing department at your publisher for their opinion. This is a selling tool, remember.
- Look at your photos and ask yourself, “Would I want to read a book written by this person?”
So you see there are multiple steps when working to place your best face forward in the author world. The staff at Stitched Smile Publications will not only create the best looking book for you, but will also walk you through what it takes to put your best face forward.