One of the tasks that Immortal Works Press asks of its authors is to get a professional headshot. You don’t want an amateur looking picture gracing your novel even though it was taken by your uncle who’s “pretty good with a camera.” Lighting, composition, styling, are all important considerations as well as the resolution of the digital file.
It’s been said that a good author photo can make or break how your book is perceived. As an author, you are the brand. What does your photo say about you?
Author Chuck Wendig had a bad author photo contest a few years ago. The entries, though funny, make you wonder what they were thinking.
Because Ghost Girl (new name to come) involves mystery, ghosts and things that go bump in the night, I wanted a shot that brought in atmosphere, a sense of drama, yet showing me happy and approachable. In short, interesting enough that you’d want to read the book. That wasn’t too much to ask for, was it?
I began with a search of portraits that captured the feel I wanted. Pinterest had many options that I added to my vision board. I found I gravitated to the portraits with a dark background, the ones using shadows effectively, but yet had a warm light. I wanted to look friendly, not like I kept a collection of knives and chainsaws in my barn like this hysterical Geico commercial.
Next, I looked at photographers. I wanted one that I was comfortable with and would share my creative vision. One thing I found was photographer’s rates could vary. A lot. There’s booking fees, studio fees, copyright fees, digital file fees, print fees to consider. A word of advice: do your comparison shopping.
I chose the very excellent Renee Hennagir. Visit her website to see her portfolio. Renee was easy to work with and found ways to get me to relax in front of the camera. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather be behind a camera than in front of one, so getting me relaxed was a monumental achievement.
I brought along several changes of clothes to see what would look best. We shot inside and out, but by far, the most dramatic lighting happened inside.
Within a week, Renee sent me a link to my digital gallery. From the twenty or so options, I narrowed it down to two. With friends and family providing input, the decision was made. And here it is (and I can’t wait to see it on the book jacket!):