Writing
Comments 5

Author Photographs, a not-so-evil necessity

Just as we have a tendency to literally judge a book by its cover, we humans subconsciously judge an author, and their work, by their photo. This knowledge is primarily what made me avoid getting head shots taken. Ever.
You can’t use Snapchat filters on a professional photograph, I told myself. Anyway, I’m self-publishing, I just won’t include an author photo and bio in my book.

Then I remembered marketing is a thing. If I want to post blurry #writerlife selfies on Twitter that’s my business, but if ever want to be considered for a book signing event at Waterstones, I’d likely be needing something a little less casual for their promotional material.

So when I started thinking about arranging a professional photo shoot for the first time, I began to consider the benefits of author photos as opposed to the negatives. At the end of the day, it’s 2018 and authors are not as disconnected from the public eye as they used to be. As artists, we are rarely considered “famous” the way that actors and musicians usually are, but our audience is still aware of us as people. If I am going to be using social media and other online platforms to market my work (which I am because obviously), I’m not just promoting my work, I’m promoting my brand. I’m promoting me. I am as much a part of my novel as my words are, and I’m completely happy with that. It’s something I enjoy about the literary world, that authors are no longer these mysterious beings huddled at their desks 24/7, never seeing the light of day. We may still do that a lot, but now we have access to Twitter. And we love to connect.

Sharing that part of myself – my physical appearance and not just my ideas – makes me more real to my readers. I am not just a book, I am a the person who wrote it, and it was important for me to look to a professional photographer to achieve what I wanted from an author photo: an author of YA fantasy, a geeky and bookish girl, and by the looks of it, maybe one you’d enjoy taking out to coffee for a chat about life and books and everything in between.

Alex Hemus sums up my thoughts well here:

“Potential readers perceive being an author as an absolute state; either you are a complete professional or just pretending. Your author photo needs to suggest you are the ideal type of person to be writing about a specific subject. This is your persona, a representation of yourself centered around advertising your work. It is not a complete reflection of you as a person but only those facets that fit with your work.
All writers of grisly horror novels have home lives, they make cakes and read magazines in the bath, but when it comes to advertising themselves as authors, they represent themselves as threatening figures who exude the menacing aura readers want in their books.”
(source)

I think my personality is largely reflected in the stories I write. And maybe if someone were to see my photos, they would get an idea of what to expect from my work. So without further ado, I’ll invite you to see for yourself…



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Honestly, there’s nothing like an HD photograph to really introduce you to your appearance. When I first looked through the photos I definitely had to come to terms with the lines under my eyes, the extra weight I still haven’t shifted, the family of chins that live under my face. We live in a selfie world of face-smoothing filters and controlled angles, I shouldn’t be surprised that it took me a moment to get used to my appearance from a more true-to-life perspective. But after a moment, I began to fall in love with the artistry.

I knew what I wanted from the pictures. I knew I wanted friendly vibes, a welcoming aura, something that says ‘hey, I’m a professional, and I’m personable’. Justin Winkler really achieved this for me. He is a professional photographer in the London/Surrey area of the UK and he was just the ticket! He has an eye for set-up, and he has a commanding yet calm photographer manner. He knows how to work with his clients, how to make them feel comfortable and secure in his hands, and he can really bring out the best in you. He also really went out of his way to get the most out of our little photo-shoot and I cannot recommend him highly enough.

These are just a few examples of my now heavy arsenal of professional pics for my professional self. I shall be proud to plaster them all over my social media, my website, my books! I’d like to thank Justin one more time, and encourage anyone shying away from taking author photos to have another think about it. I used to be firmly against the idea, but ended up changing my mind, and much to my delight I ended up with a fabulous result.



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5 Comments

  1. I hate having my picture taken but I know I really should update my I’m-not-going-to-admit-how-old-it-is author photo. Yours came out terrific!!

    Liked by 1 person

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