QueryTracker Blog

Helping Authors Find Literary Agents

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Your Author Photo: General Tips

Most people shy away from having their portraits taken. Why? Because we’ve had bad experiences, and end up with pictures that make us cringe (or maybe we were cringing in the photo to begin with).

©Stina Lindenblatt
As an author, you can occasionally you get away with skipping the author picture (for example, if you’re a male who writes steamy romances under a pen name), but for the most part, you’ll have to provide your publisher with a picture (of you, not your beloved pet) for promotional purposes. And you might want to include one on your website and blog so that you are real to your followers and fans.
The following pointers will help make the process less painful, and help ensure you end up with photos you’ll love:

  • See if you have a talented photographer friend who would be thrilled to take the pictures for you. The advantage of this is you already have a great relationship. You’ll end up looking relaxed in the photos, instead of looking like you’d rather be anywhere but there.
  • If you aren’t lucky enough to know someone in the above category, ask your friends for recommendations. The photos highlighted on a photographer’s website aren’t always representative of their usual work. And a great photographer will know how to make you shine. They know the tricks of the trade.

©Stina Lindenblatt

  • Weather permitted, see if the photographer can take the photos outside (or a place you feel comfortable). People tend to feel (and look) more uptight in a studio setting. The added benefit is that there are more interesting things to look at than in a studio. This, too, will help you relax.
  • Let the photographer know if there’s anything you feel self-conscious about. They may be able to pose you a certain way to overcome the problem. But remember, chances are great only you notice whatever’s bugging you.

                                                                      ©Carolyn Kaufman

  • If you see a photo, including in a magazine, of a pose you like, bring it with you to show the photographer. Most will welcome suggestions.
  • Dress comfortably and for the weather. If you’re shivering because it’s freezing out and you’re wearing a t-shirt, it’s going to affect the outcome. Sure, models might be posing in summer clothing during the winter months, but you don’t have to.

©Carolyn Kaufman
  • Keep your clothing simple and avoid bright patterns and stripes. They are too distracting. And if you’re in a group shoot (i.e. family picture), try to coordinate the clothing. Don’t have half the group in casual clothing while the other half is dressed up. And don’t have half the group in pastels while the other half is wearing dark colors. You get the general idea?

©Stina Lindenblatt

  • Bring several items of clothing or props with you. That will give you a variety of looks to choose from. And the props give you something to do with your hands.

Tomorrow, we’ll give you some tips on posing, which will help you look great in your photo.

Stina Lindenblatt writes romantic suspense and young adults novels. In her spare time, she’s a photographer and blogging addict, and can be found hanging out on her blog, Seeing Creative.

Carolyn Kaufman, PsyD's book, THE WRITER'S GUIDE TO PSYCHOLOGY: How to Write Accurately About Psychological Disorders, Clinical Treatment, and Human Behavior helps writers avoid common misconceptions and inaccuracies and "get the psych right" in their stories. You can learn more about The Writer's Guide to Psychology, check out Dr. K's blog on Psychology Today, or follow her on Facebook!


Laura Pauling said...

I always love your photos, Stina!

Nicole Zoltack said...

Wow, great photos, Stina!

Donea Lee said...

Love the photos - the baby in the stock pot is adorable! I'm hopelessly un-photogenic...but, these tips may help (I hope!). Thanks!

Carolyn Kaufman | @CMKaufman said...

LOL -- I love the baby in the pot!

Ghenet Myrthil said...

These are great tips! I'll keep these in mind when the time comes to take an author photo.