Wednesday, April 18, 2012

"P" is for Pictures -- Author Pictures

As I near the end of my first manuscript, I've become aware that I need some new professional authory pictures taken.

I've had professionals shots taken before, because, frankly, I look like the devil's spawn in most amateur pictures due to horrifying red-eye.  But I've never had any done with the specific goal of using them for my Twitter profile, Facebook fan page, website, and book covers. There's a certain image I want to convey -- I want them to be professional, but not stuffy or too "staged."  It just wouldn't fit with the subjects I write about.  We've all seen author pics where they're behind a desk or something with their hand under their chin.

Even Michael Crichton, author of Jurassic Park, is guilty of this.

So, I've been scouring my author friends' pictures to find ones I love.  I've found a few that have a style that I like (which could also be due to the photographer as well) so I thought I'd share.

Here are a few of my friend, Laura Kaye, author of North of Need and many others.

I love how the shots are outside, and she looks comfortable in the pictures.

Here's one of my all-time favorites.  The author is Meg Cabot, who wrote The Princess Diaries.

The picture is fun and fairly relaxed, and her feet can even be cropped so it just shows her face and hands to make an entirely different picture.

I'll definitely be getting hair and makeup done for my pictures, and carefully choosing my wardrobe so I'm dressed in something that will both photograph well and not date the picture too much.

Living in a completely different area than most of my writer friends, I couldn't go by any I did a lot of Googling and checked out websites to see the photographer's portrait style. Because most photographers do portraits but don't have "author photos" listed on their price list, I emailed to ask for prices for what I wanted done.  I also requested that I retain the rights to the photos...I certainly don't mind crediting the photographer, but if they retained the rights, I'd have to constantly ask for permission to use a picture for whatever I wanted.  Want to use one for my Facebook author page? Gotta ask.  Want to change my Twitter icon pic?  Gotta ask.  Want to badly Photoshop mustaches on my picture just for the hell of it--or in case I write The Big Book of Mustaches?  Gotta ask. Thankfully, the photographer I have lined up was willing to work with me.  I'm hoping to have the shots done in early May if the weather permits.  I'm looking forward to it!

Have you had professional pictures taken?  What did you think of the experience?

xoxo Sarah


  1. Yeah, I want to read Sarah Allan's The Big Book of Mustaches. Really. I'd pay money. :)

    I had professional photographs done once and wasn't thrilled. I am not sure what I'll do next time I need some done. I am (like most females) rarely happy with how I look in a static frame.

    Have fun with this!

    1. You know, I had such an urge to write it after I wrote the title. I will get back to you on that...I may have found a niche market. :-P

      I'm hoping they come out okay...I'm only ever happy with them when I'm in professional shots and "feel" pretty. I suck at candid pics and ALWAYS am eating something. It's pretty strange. I'm sure you'll get to see them sooner or later...the author pics, not me eating things. :-)

  2. Good for you! I've never really had professional photos done, but I've been thinking of getting my author pics done as well. My wedding photographer does family photos and business head shots so I'm thinking of going with her - we worked very well together and listened to all of our ideas. Like you I'll definitely be having my hair and make-up professionally done as well. I may wear it everyday and have it look okay, but is it professional photo quality? Hmmm....probably not.
    With regards to the rights, for our wedding she released the rights to us a year after the wedding. Give the amount of photos she took and gave us the rights to, when we broke down the package price, it was about $400 for the rights release. I'm crossing my fingers that for a few author pics she won't want to charge me that much for the rights.
    I'm glad you were able to work something out with a photographer! Can't wait to see the photos! :)

    1. Thank you, Melinda! I hope they come out well, too. Yes, we do our makeup and everything every day, but photo makeup is so much's a lot heavier so it actually shows up in pics. I can do fine every-day makeup, but no way am I trusting myself to do it for the big day. The rights shouldn't be too much...normally shoots are a lot shorter, maybe 60-90 minutes, and then you'll pick from the ones that look good. I think I'll be lucky to get between 10-20 that I like. :-)

  3. Hi, Sarah! Congrats on finishing your book and getting professional pics made for it. The pics you show of other authors are delightful. Best regards to you. Ruby aka Grammy

    1. Thank you so much! I hope I get it finished soon...I'm hoping the pics will help inspire me. :)

  4. Here's a good starting point for that book!

    1. Hahahaha! I think I should write The Big Book of Mustaches as a joke. It would probably make more money than my "real" writing. :-P