Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Word Witch Wednesday - the dreaded author photo

I hate having my picture taken. I prefer to be the photographer. I work alone, tucked away in my writing cave, with no care how I look most of the time. My typical uniform during the week is a geeky t-shirt or hoodie and flannel pajama bottoms.

Most writers tend to be the same way. We want to share our words with the world. Not our faces!

I've had the same author photo for a while now, and I'm bored of it. I no longer think it looks like me. Okay, it does, sorta. But I want something different.

Plus, I want to cut my hair very soon. It's long right now. Every time I get more than 12 inches past my shoulders, I cut it and donate it. (Here's a good article with the differences of donating to Pantene and Locks of Love.) I don't wear short hair well, so I want to get in a photo with my long hair.

I put a lot of thought into my author photo. It is a key factor in branding yourself as an author. I'm not going to take a selfie in my writer's uniform or have my kid take one of me folding laundry. I want it to represent me as confident and professional.

I have a plain background in the photo I have now, but I either want books or something outdoorsy in the new one. Do I smile or scowl at the camera look serious? Do I go with a traditional pose or try something different? Can I pull off quirky?

I also have the difficulty rating of being an author of multi-genres. Romance authors tend to go with sexier photos. Fantasy authors with something a little magical. Urban fantasy writers go dark. I'm an author of all these things.

I could photoshop something great, but it has to be realistic. It must represent me as a writer.

What author photos stand out to you? Any favorites? Is it acceptable to take a picture of my cat in front of the computer and go with that?


  1. Hi Christine - I know Elizabeth Spann Craig wrote a blog post about her author image - but searching WP sites I find impossible sometimes - like now! I know professional, 'quiet', yet confident looking are important factors with an easy background ...

    Cheers Hilary

  2. My current author pic was taken by my son, so I was immediately much more relaxed. I much prefer the photos where the author is smiling, or at least not looking too serious - even if their writing is very serious, I like the author to look friendly.

    Er... no cats, though :-)

  3. I dread the thought of ever having to have an author photo. I'd definitely go with one of a cat instead :-)

  4. Maybe an outdoor photo of you in a garden during twilight might encompass most of those elements.
    You know how I feel about an author photo...

  5. Hey, we have the same uniform! :)

    I need a new author photo, too, but I've been putting it off for longer than I care to admit. Hmm, maybe I could use one of the tortoises for mine.... :)

  6. Your desk has a hutch, etc. doesn't it? Perhaps it would be cool to pose in front of that, in your favourite geeky t-shirt. So, sort of like how you'd appear when writing etc. but a little more posed and polished?

  7. I had my photos done, eek, about three or four years ago now. I don't look like my author pic any more either! I was thinking I should do a new one soon. I've attended conferences where you can get author photos taken, but I don't have any conferences on my slate, and I can't really spring for more professional photos at the moment. I'll just have Scott keep taking pictures of me at random times to see if I get anything I like!

  8. I like Clare's idea with the geeky t-shirt. :)

    I hate having pictures taken of me. I can't even take a selfie without getting incredibly nervous and self-conscious. I've had the same author photo since 2012. I probably should update it sometime. Heh.

  9. I think a pic should capture more than a face. I prefer the old black and white portrait because it also gives me a sense of character.

    Anna from elements of emaginette

  10. I'm not a big fan of my picture being taken, though I've realized my photo is pretty dated now as well. I'm sure that you'll get something awesome, with a good mix of elements :)

  11. I dread author pic. The one attempt I has so far is very mehish. I tend to be so stiff at photos that nothing comes out naturally. Have you checked out the tips for poses? There is quite a bit online including always holding most things in your body at an angle, etc

  12. I totally think it's okay to have a picture of the cat up sometimes! ^_^

    I am not a serious person. Therefore my "author photo" is just going to be anything I can stand to look at for a while that has my face in it. I have to change it up sometimes, I get bored. I actually prefer, personally, if author photos conveyed personality more than genre. When I see a super gothic author picture from a paranormal writer, I roll my eyes. It's too much. And when I see a super professional picture, it makes me think they're too serious about life. But I'm probably not serious enough.

  13. I would read a book by that cat in a heartbeat.

    Personally, I liked Brian's (from Family Guy) approach to author photos. Why make just the novel fiction?

  14. I shouldn't admit this but my favorite head shots are cropped out of photos with other people. When I try to get one taken specifically for an author shot, I look too stiff.

  15. I'm up in the air on author photos. I have mine which I did a few years ago- sexy black and whites are more my style because I like the look and I write PNR romance.
    Though professional seems to be the key with most authors, you can still make professional fun. Why not have an author image taken with a couple of your books on the shelf in the background, or something like that?

  16. You could pull of a darkly magical romantic pic! Could you image what author photos would look like it they were all taken while writing.

  17. Hilary, thanks for the tips! Quiet background definitely fits me.

    Annalisa, I'll just have my hubby take the picture. I'll get too many looking up my nose if my kid did it! :)

    TCS, it's so tempting because my cat is adorable!

    Alex, yes, I do. And your suggestion is a good one. Twilight is my favorite time of day.

    Madeline, uniform buddies!

    Clare, it might work. But which geeky shirt would be right? *LOL*

  18. M, if you could get a good picture in France, wow, that would be awesome!

    Cherie, geeks rule!

    Anna, black and white photos are marvelous if done right.

    Meradeth, seems like a lot of us have old pictures and dread to have new ones taken.

    Renee, I've read tons online, but they don't help when it's all in your mind! *laughs*

    Krystal, the ones that stick out in my mind have tons of personality too. Yeah, the super gothic pictures make me roll my eyes as well.

    ABFTS, HA! Love that Family Guy reference. Now I'm considering having my cat write a book.

    LD, me too.

    Decadent, I want to try to have fun with it. But we'll have to see what works for me.

    Holly, oh the horror of pics taken while writing! *LOL*

  19. The cat is acceptable. lol

    Mine is old too. Sometimes I take photos when husband unit and I go out. Someday, I'll get a pro one done... maybe. I think take one photo that fits any type of authoring.

  20. Mary, the cat thinks he should be on all my social media! *LOL*

  21. I think you should just be lovely self, Christine. I don't believe in author photos resembling someone else just because of the genre in which they write. I find that very cliché. I think your fans/readers just want to see the real you :)

  22. I'm with you... hate photos.. I vote for our cat photo instead haha

  23. Don't like having my picture taken, either. I think it's been years since anyone has captured me on camera, LOL. If only we all could have cats stand in for us for author photos! XD

  24. For mine, I went to a lighthouse and did some outdoors pictures because I was all "I want to show off how awesome Michigan looks." LOL I also did a cheeky one since I can be silly.

  25. Juneta, and he loves to be adored!

    Nicola, the real me cleaned up some, though!

    Tania, *LOL*

    Heather, if only!

    Patricia, not too much to show in central Indiana. Hehehe! I had hoped to do some pics at the university yesterday, but it rained.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.