You all are in for a treat! My friend, the fabulous Lauren Clark, has stopped by Princess With a Pen today to chat about the dreaded head shot. Lauren is the author of Stay Tuned and Dancing Naked in Dixie. She writes contemporary novels set in the Deep South; stories sprinkled with sunshine, suspense, and secrets.
A former TV news anchor, Lauren adores flavored coffee, local bookstores, and anywhere she can stick her toes in the sand. Her big loves are her family, paying it forward, and true-blue friends. Check out her website at www.laurenclarkbooks.com.
Why Author Photos Don't Have to Suck!
Let's face it, no one over the age of twelve (maybe even eleven) really loves getting his or her photo taken, unless, of course, you are Brooklyn Decker posing for Sports Illustrated in a string bikini and being paid a gazillion dollars.
Since SI isn't likely to bust down my door for a photo-op anytime soon, whisk me off to a desert island in the Caribbean, then retouch the images to remove any blemishes (shriek!) ... I've decided to weigh in on a crucial part of the author package: The Photo.
After growing up in a family full of photographers, I'm used to the click and flash mentality. Smile! Cheese! Not the fake smile! If you know my father, uncle, or cousins, you know the drill. Every event ... at least a dozen people have cameras. Case in point, St. Louis, last Saturday. Family wedding. Monday morning, several HUNDRED photos were on Facebook!
And yes, I am getting to my point. Snapshots are fabulous! Love 'em! They're fun and flirty, sometimes not so flattering, but always good for sharing.
That said, snapshots should NOT be used for your author photo. This is one of those "won't compromise/absolutes" on my Author To-Do list, along with a great cover and serious proofreading. It's just too important. If your shot is blurry, off-center, or unprofessional, what will potential readers think of what's inside the cover? You have one chance to make a first impression -- make it the best you can.
For my author photo (and I did feel rather dorky doing it, I will admit) I went to a Portrait Innovations studio (http://www.portraitinnovations.com) with no appointment and one change of clothes. The session took all of twenty minutes. I spent $69.00 and walked out the same day with three pictures on a disk that I felt good about using on my novel cover.
Take a look at these examples. The first is off-center and blurry...
The second is too dark and close-up.
The third is the one that I ended up choosing for my novel covers.
I've since used the photo on my website, promotional material, Facebook, Twitter, press releases, and my two novels. I view the money and time I spent as an investment.
If you really don't have the cash to spend, enlist a friend to help, someone with knowledge of photography, a high-quality camera, and the ability to put the photos on a disk or your computer. A few extra tips: Wear a solid color, use good lighting, and try for a natural look.
What are your thoughts on Author Photos? How do they affect your book-buying preferences?
You can pick up her books here:
Have a wonderful day!