Selecting an Author Photo

Last May, I wrote a blog with tips for drafting your author bio. Because I feature authors on my blogs, I see all types of author bios – some good and some really bad ones. (Remember – short and relevant and above all don’t list every book or award you have ever published or won.) Now while not all authors supply me with an author photo, I get bad and good ones of those too.

As with your author bio, you want to take some time and find the best author photo. If you are serious about being an author, you need to think of writing as your business. If you want people to take you seriously, invest in the time to find a good, professional-looking photo.

This means don’t use the fuzzy photo taken of you at the last picnic or use one where you have cropped out your honey’s arms around you. You don’t need one of you with your cat or your kids (unless you are known for writing about these topics.)

Here is my author photo which was cropped from a picture taken inside my house.

Here is my author photo which was cropped from a picture taken inside my house.

Now this doesn’t mean you need to hire a professional photographer or go down to a studio for pictures. In fact, studio pictures may be too formal for your author photo. You can opt to do the photo yourself (or with the help of a friend).

When deciding on a photo, you need to think about the setting, pose and clothing. If you write gardening books, an outdoor shot might be appropriate. If you are writing comedic stories, you won’t want to be wearing a suit as you might if you were writing about a legal thriller or discussing business topics.

My suggestion is to take a LOT of pictures with different poses and settings. You might consider some with a smile versus a more serious look. You never know which photo you will like or feel fits the image you want to project. Take your time to find the “right” one. (You can read online all sorts of tips such as looking above the camera to reduce red eye as well as tips on picking the best clothing colors and backgrounds.)

Remember that you will need several versions of the photo. For printed material like book covers and promotional flyers, you will need a high-resolution image (300 dpi). For online use, you can use a low-resolution image (usually 72 dpi). Using a low resolution image will allow for faster page loading and take less room on the server.

It is a good idea to use the same photo everywhere so you can build face recognition. But you may need to crop the photo depending on the use – a tighter crop for Twitter while using a wider shot for Facebook or your own website.

Whatever photo you decide to use – formal, fun, serious, or happy – just make sure it projects the image you want to convey as an author.

 

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