Publicity Photos

I don’t know about you, but having my picture taken is not one of my favorite things to do. And yet, when you have a book contract, it’s one of the requirements asked of you by your publisher. There was a time, long ago, when I believed myself somewhat photogenic, but then came the extra pounds, the graying hair, the wrinkles and crows feet–need I go on?

So began my journey of trying to determine what I wanted for an author photo. Did I want a formal pose against a basic background, or did I want a more casual look? Inside or outside? Props such as a desk or books? Should I lose weight first? What should I wear? Is it really important to know which color looks good on me when I have all these other things to worry about?

I didn’t have the extra funds to hire an image consultant, but I knew what colors made me feel good–and that’s one of the best ways to determine which color season you are and what color palette works for you. Click here for more information on determining your seasonal color. Once I had this figured out, I searched through my closet for the perfect outfit and considered make-up and hairstyles that would give me a natural look, yet call out to people and say “Look at Me–This is who I am.”

Another step included studying my favorite author sites. What sort of pictures did they use and how many shots did they have taken? Did they hire a professional photographer or do it themselves?

If you own a quality camera or know someone who does that has the prowess to take great photos, you can save money doing it yourself. But a professional photographer will understand light and shadow and can also work magic on those little “imperfections” I mentioned earlier, so you might want to keep that in mind as well. No matter what, you’ll need to be sure the pictures are taken in high resolution, jpeg, or tiff images, with a 300 dpi or more. All of this jargon seemed foreign to my ears, but not to those in the publishing world.

Loaded with the answers needed, I managed to get an author photo I’m satisfied with. Because I wanted to carry forward my Country at Heart theme, I chose to have my picture taken outside, wearing a casual jean jacket that helped define who I am as an author.

Next time, I’ll move on to the next marketing challenge–creating a book trailer. Until then, enjoy the moments  . . .

14 thoughts on “Publicity Photos

  1. I think your author photo does a great job, Deborah. The jean jacket gives a country feel, which fits your brand nicely. Love your warm, friendly smile.

  2. You have a nice photo here, if gives me the feel of a happy, friendly person. I’ve recently wondered about the author photo myself, wondering if the last professional sitting I had would be adequate for an inside cover. Nice article, thank you. I appreciate the link to finding my colors!

    • Thanks for visiting and leaving a comment. Blessings to you on figuring out the right author photo. 🙂

  3. Thanks for sharing things to consider for photos. I hadn’t thought through how my photo would define who I am as an author. Yikes! Who am I? 🙂 Still figuring that one out. I tried my hand at taking a few photos of myself for possible future use on business cards. Thanks for giving some good suggestions and links for considering when I get to the place of needing photos. 🙂

    • Hi Jeanne,

      Don’t stress too much over the author photo. The main thing is to be yourself and as natural as possible. 🙂 Blessings.

  4. I never thought about ensuring that our photos fall in line with who we are as authors. I pictured us trying to fit into a “writing” pose mold or a bookshelf backdrop. Hmmm…with my ministry’s water theme, I need to head outside in search of the perfect bubbling brook. Thanks for the great tips!

  5. Oh, Deborah, something else we have in common besides a very similar last name. 😉
    I don’t like have my photo taken either. But I know pro photos are a necessity and I believe in updating them every 3-4 years. Nothing worse than having an outdated pro photo. I don’t like meeting someone and having them say, “I had no idea you were that old!”
    Two things I did to help:
    1. Enlisted my daughters to help me pick out an outfit. They are very fashion savvy.
    2. Took two of them along for the photo session. They kept me laughing, which helped me relax and ignore the fact that a camera was pointed at me.

    • Yes, great tips to add to this, Beth!

      I TRIED to get my daughters involved with my wardrobe, but alas, they were not too interested. “Yeah, Mom, that looks great.” LOL. Some of the photos I’ve had taken have been with my husband looking on, which is also a good idea. To have someone there to help you relax. It becomes difficult to continue posing for multiple shots-and smiling, and smiling, and smiling… But it can be fun too, if you have someone there to laugh with.

      This fall I had another photo shoot, with my shorter hair style, etc. I’m eager to go live with the new look in 2012! Thanks for the helpful tips!

  6. I was fortunate, At a recent writers conference, there was a professional photographer who offered sittings for a very reasonable price. I grabbed the opportunity and have several quality shots to pick from.

    • Great point, Peter. Writer’s conferences often have a photographer available to take head shots, and usually at a very affordable price. It’s a great way to start or update your look!

  7. You chose well for your photo, Deb. It’s so you and so what you write. It’s not easy to step out of your comfort zone and have author photos taken, but it’s part of the job. Thanks for the encouragement!

    • Thanks, Megan. Your website was actually one of those that I viewed to get ideas. You did a great job! 😉

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