Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Magic of Author Photos

I'm feeling somewhat fanciful today, reader-types, so I invite you to tell me: what would/do you want your author photo to look like? What author photos have inspired/terrified you? What cool stories do you have regarding author photos?

I don't have much (which is why I ask), but I can offer this: I once saw an author photo of Danielle Steel that looked like it had been taken in the back of a mini-van.

True story.

42 comments:

  1. If I can look like George Clooney I'm all for it. Otherwise, get that damn camera out of my face before it breaks!

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  2. Not so sure what I'd want my own photo to look like, but I do wonder what exactly Danielle Steel was doing in the back of that minivan

    ~Steve

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  3. It'd be cool if I could look like, I dunno, a Giselle and Heidi Klum hybrid. Yep. That would rock.

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  4. I'd like to look like Angelina Jolie, but I'd be happy so long as I didn't look like Nora Roberts. She always looks like a demented wannabe Stepford wife in Hoboken.

    BTW, it's slightly hilarious and completely ironic that Google asks for me to add a profile picture on this post.

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  5. I was just thinking I'd skip a picture of myself and use one of the four year old daughter instead--she's much cuter. :)

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  6. Author photos? I've never really thought about that part...
    I guess I always like it when the author is smiling almost secretly, you know? Like... 'I'm mysterious!'
    But I smile too much to be mysterious, so I'd probably just settle for not looking horrible.

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  7. My author photo would need to be in black & white to even out my skin tones & taken from WAAAY above so I have to stretch my neck & the double chin will be gone!

    Really I should have started writing when I was a young babe. Having to countenance the thought of an author photo when you're a fat old bat is the stuff of nightmares.

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  8. Can I just have one of those grey silhouettes with a white question mark on it? I think that’d just be better for everyone. ;)

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  9. I always thought Lemony Snicket's photos were cool (he wrote "A Series of Unfortunate Events") because he was never really IN the picture. His face was never showing. Kinda quirky and fun.

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  10. An author photo lives forever in cyberspace, and that is the picture people will remember you by. For an amazing progression of author photographs, see if you can find the picture Janet Evanovich used in her first Stephanie Plum book and the one she uses now. She doesn't look like the same woman. Your author photo should look professional and polished, and like you. I recommend using a photographer who shoots actors' headshots, because they get some of the the most flattering pictures. Like you, only better.

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  11. I think I may just use the profile pic I have here. I simply refuse to tell you WHERE it was taken, but I kind of like it!

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  12. I have a picture of my pup with a HUGE doggy grin on his face. I'd use that. He's much prettier then I am any day.

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  13. I had mine taken in a few months ago, my reward for signing with an agent. I've narrowed it down to 2-3 that feel the most like me.

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  14. I like minimally-styled author photos. Like DFW with his cinderblock bookshelves behind him, or the photo from an early John Irving book, where he's in winter gear, leaning against his car. Much preferred to glamour shots of more recent vintage (think: Marisha Pessl).

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  15. Unless your a known author, you'll probably have to pay for you own jacket photo. My next novel is being published by a major publisher and I had to pay for mine. I got quotes and the prices ranged from $150 to $1,200. I took the $150 because she was a neighbour and a semi-professional. I also got a nice haircut the day before and wore simple black t-shirt. The photo turned out fine.

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  16. I'm so giddy at the mere CONCEPT of an author-photo! You mean I get to daydream about what it'll look like, too?! Lord, the stars are all aligned today! How am I supposed to get anything done?

    Really, it's what's *in* the book that matters, right?

    Oh who are we kidding? I want to look like an Angelina Jolie- Megan Fox hybrid with a million dollar smile and drop-dead-gorgeous eyes, please!

    I do love to look at author photos. I have a great imagination (hellllooooo, I'm a writer!) and can make up the best little stories based on one snapshot. But then again, you're talking to a girl who got an idea for a novel based on a snapshot in a Rachael Ray magazine.

    Told you. Good imagination! :)

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  17. I want to look like Margaret Atwood. http://www.wired.com/images_blogs/underwire/2009/10/atwood_670.jpg

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  18. I had a picture taken at Glamor Shots when I was in high school, in which I looked like a film noir star. My mother hated it, but I loved it. I'd like a redo of that, perhaps.

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  19. Either my google profile pic or this that I've had in my head for a while: me, standing beside the open trunk of a car. There's shovel in my hand and feet sticking out of the trunk. I write murder mysteries ;-) (although currently not very efficiently. there's a young infant who gets priority)

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  20. When I was younger I looked like Guy Williams--the 1950's Zorro. Now I look like Col.Sanders. Old age comes to those who live long enough.

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  21. My favourite author photo is the one of Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett taken for Good Omens, with the two of them in black and in white, looking exactly like the main characters of the book. I've always thought that photos that relate to the content of the book in some way work the best.

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  22. I want my cover photo to look like Dan Brown. In fact, I want it to be Dan Brown. I also want to use Dan Brown as a pen name. I suppose he'll sue. We live in such a litigious society. :(

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  23. In my experience the best photographs are taken by a friend or loved one who knows how to hold a camera. With the advent of digital-- a significant other can take shots of you in a number of familiar/comfortable/ 'you' locations. With a few hundred to choose from, there is bound to be a couple that are 'you' at your best. You are much more likely to be relaxed--therefore looking good and approachable/friendly. The posed/ chin on hand/ blurry edged photos taken in studios are so stiff as to be comical. Wouldn't you much rather pose in your back garden on a lovely spring day for your lover dressed in nice comfortable 'you' clothes with normal hair and makeup than in a sterile studio after going to a beautician who uses too much hairspray and/or a makeup artist who makes you look like someone else? If our readers are to like us; if we are selling ourselves first and our book second, shouldn't we look like someone you'd want to know?

    Christine London
    www.christinelondon.com

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  24. I like the author's photo to have a dog or horse in it - then I warm to him/her immediately. When I get there mine certainly will have.

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  25. Authors need to hire a professional (not just the friend who is "really into" photography) to do their shot. I can't stand a crappy picture and those who know about real photography will think you're a dork :) There is a HUGE difference between a snapshot and a nice portrait. I wouldn't chintz in this area!

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  26. I'm a professional photographer, so I know all the tricks and while I'm not novel-published, already have my photo. :) That was one of my first requirements and with the tools to do it, did! I wanted something true to self, my personality and very well lit (light and shadow are what make one look good). Then touched up (to make it look great) . :) That's the only way to go! :)

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  27. Now that print media for book reviews no longer exists, do we HAVE TO have an author photo in the press kit?

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  28. I love the author photos that look candid and natural. I like one of David Sedaris's photos of him at the beach.

    I really don't like the photos of authors in front of a bookcase or a desk. They remind me of this series of creepy portraits of past principals posed with dictionaries that we have in the office at work.

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  29. This is so mean, but Shel Silverstein's photo scares me.

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  30. I vote for an author photo that blends well with the blurb. My fiction and nonfiction are so different I need a separate identity. But then...

    Readers will need to recognize me when they come to my signings or sign up for my workshops - so I guess the author promo photo should also be honest.

    Time to get to the beauty shop and start working out... I don't photograph well so I need to focus on being a pleasant surprise, in person.

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  31. I'm shy when it comes to taking photos. I always get self-conscious. So, maybe, as natural a shot as the photographer can get? I don't know. When the time comes that I have to take an author photo, I would still be on cloud nine for actually getting published. In this case, my photo might look all swoony. Not a word, I know.

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  32. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  33. I'd use this one: http://www.josephlselby.com/promos/Me2_Avatar.jpg

    Sorry about the link, but it won't let me use an img tag.

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  34. I don't want to look like Hilary Mantel on the jacket of Wolf Hall. That's one thing I know for sure!

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  35. I was so giddy to get a book published that I didn't even think about an author photo until they asked me for one... and gave me one day's notice. So my shot has my hair un-cut, not enough make-up, and I'm kind of sweaty. Er... hooray?

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  36. Oh wow, my writer's group and I were just talking about this! I'd like to look like Meg Cabot - her publicity photos make her look smart, approachable, and charming, like the kind of person you could be best friends with, which is exactly how I'd like my readers to see me.

    I also always loved Gregory Maguire's photo in front of the hat shop: http://www.playhousesquare.org/bbuzz/wicked/images/headshot---Gregory-Maguire.jpg. He looks like a nice guy, but also a fashionable one!

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  37. I thought I needed to go to a pro, who made me look like PTA Mom meets the mall photographer. Plus, she used SO much photoshop botox I looked like my skin was covered with saran wrap.

    My very talented semi-pro sister came to the rescue and I ended up with a perfect shot that was electronically botoxed JUST right. Plus, with a sister, you can talke as many as you need till you hit pay dirt.

    I wrote a post on this "photoshop botox for authors," cause really, there is no guidance out there (unless you have the juice to get to Marion Ettinger.)

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  38. I realized that my personal appearance (40-ish and chubby) wouldn't help sell a single book, so I didn't put one on my novel (or my blog; hence the bear). So, my author photo for MINDER is a white and grey mirrored silhouette (e.g, "Is it a vase or two faces?"), which completely ties into a major theme of the book.

    And it looks cool.

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  39. Oh, I know I wouldn't be able to resist going totally Eighties glam. A fur collar (faux) clutched close to my neck, lots of makeup, a fan blowing my hair back off my face... Yep, I'd just go for it.

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  40. I want to look plain, so that when people meet me in the flesh they don't feel cheated. A photo of a young, svelte, glamorous author could lead to disappointment at book launches.

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  41. I kind of like the idea of having a landscape with a tiny little dot on the horizon, and a circle around it and an arrow, labeled, "The Author"

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  42. You can set manual blur or blur effects on your stylish photos. Click on the blur tool & move your finger on the Background blur effect unwanted object that you want to blur & keep the special object area that you want to show without blur.

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