Is Your Author Photo a Selfie or Professionally Done?

Is Your Author Photo a Selfie or Done by a Pro?

Your Author photo is an essential part of your online presence. Does yours look like you … as in the present? Bypass the selfie mode—Invest in yourself and your book and get one done by a photographer who “gets” authors. Yes, your Author photo is critical. Bypass the selfie mode—Invest in yourself and your book and get one done by a photographer who “gets” authors.

What photos are you using on your website? How about for media? Or a speaking engagement? Are they oldies, but what do you consider goodies? Could they be more than five years old? Are they a bit “long in the tooth” … great … but don’t look like the present you?

Your picture says a thousand words:

  • what you do;
  • who you are;
  • what you love to play with or at;
  • what your expertise is;
  • who’s your crowd;
  • what else?

Visuals are powerful. You may use them on your book covers, your website and your promo and publicity material. Think Bio shots, Author One-Sheets, website, promo materials, social medial. All that showcase your genre and personality.

You’ve invested in your book, your editing, your cover design, your interior. Now, invest in a photo shoot of yourself. It might me a solo shot; it might contain items that support your branding; it might capture you “out of your regular element” … but what it will do is give you a variety of options to have available for media, your website and much more.

What You Need to Determine:

What types of author pics do you need?
Ideally, you need a professional headshot. With the mobile devices, we all have and the built-in cameras, getting headshots and candid shots were simple. I have been on enough cruises, that I had actually cropped some of the pictures taken and even used those. Good enough … but were they, are they, really?

Do those photos really highlight the “best” of what you want to reflect? Maybe … but most likely, not.

Stop. You are worth more than any Selfie shot will create. Bypass the selfies. Your book and Author One-Sheet should not look like a DIY project. Your readers and buyers will know. So will your book sales and speaking engagements—don’t be surprised to discover that many may not pick up your book because it looks mediocre; a meeting planner may bypass you because of the same thing. Ugh.

When I did a self-assessment, I knew it was time to step up my game. I had professional shots down over the years … but it had been a long time. It was time to make a phone call and set up a time to do a new one.

Show some action and use different locations.
Both outside and inside … it changes the look and feels. On the radio show I did with Author Photographer Ashlee Bratton, she shared,

If you have a business book, you can use a studio shot or a neutral outdoors. Nonfiction can have a backdrop that ties into your theme. Military books could use a tarmac, and bomber jackets. Cookbooks put you in the kitchen environment. Fiction books open multiple possibilities. Be creative. Listen here.  

How much should you pay and how to negotiate?
Always a good question … understand that prices will vary from a few hundred to several thousand dollars depending on who you work with and what packages they have. You want to be sure to get commercial copyright use and digital files in whatever your portrait package is. And, read whatever contract you sign. Ashlee has put together a terrific all-inclusive package for authors for under $300. Take advantage of it.

And YES,  I take my own advice.
OK, I did it … meaning that I settled in and did a photo shoot with photographer Ashlee of Ashography, who just happens to be an author as well—Life Before the Lottery.

In the back of my mind, I knew … yes I knew, that I had to step up and get a professional photo shoot done. She had been after me for a few years to do one. Then, she called my bluff a few months later. “I’m doing a baby shoot next weekend in your area and I have a few hours. I’m coming by and we are going to do shoot a next Sunday!” her voice confidently said.

Gulping, I agreed to be ready. Here are a few from my latest shoot two years ago:

I loved and love working with her. Every time we do this –as in no more than two years elapse before I do an update. It is fast, super casual (my style), and painless. I loved the variety and felt she captured me. Changing earrings a few times and my blouse/jacket plus a re-apply of lipstick … it was a TaDah!

Do yourself, your book, your website, your social media channels, your fans, and your followers a favor. Get a photo shoot scheduled—one with a photographer who “gets” authors … but before you do, make sure you listen to the show I did with Ashlee to give you all the tips you need to make it the BEST!

And guess what, Ashlee is bugging me again … time to do an updated shoot. OK, OK, I will do another shoot on the Publishing at Sea cruise in January 2023 with her.

My question is for YOU … why not step up your visual presentation for online and media… and when will you do your update?

Dr. Judith Briles is a book publishing expert and coach. Often, she must roll up her writing sleeves and become a Book Doctor, juicing up storylines and author words. She empowers authors and works directly with authors who want to be seriously successful and has been writing about and conducting workshops on publishing since the ’80s. Judith is the author of 42 books including Author YOU: Creating and Building Your Author and Book PlatformsSnappy Sassy Salty: Success for Authors and Writers, and How to Create a Million Dollar Speech. Her personal memoir When God Says NO-Revealing the YES When Adversity and Loss Are Present is a #1 bestseller on Amazon. Collectively, her books have earned over 45 book awards. Judith speaks throughout the year at publishing conferences. 

Throughout the year, she holds Judith Briles Book Unplugged in-person and online experiences: Publishing, Speaking, Marketing, and Social Media. All are two-day intensives limited to a small group of authors who want to be seriously successful. Join Judith live for the “AuthorU-Your Guide to Book Publishing” podcast on the Toginet Radio Network HERE

Follow @AuthorUYOUBooks and @MyBookShepherd on Twitter and do a “Like” at AuthorYOU, and join the Facebook group Book Publishing with The Book Shepherd. If you want to create a book that has no regrets, contact her.

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