What Makes a Good Author Photo?
When building your author brand it's important to have a good author photo. People want to see the face behind the book. They want to feel like they know you. Having a good author photo is a good starting point. But what makes a good author photo?
I came across this guide on how to take a great author photo and, once I'd stopped laughing, it made me think about what works and what doesn't.
|Image source: http://powells.tumblr.com/image/42389890453|
Whilst I appreciate that some people prefer not to put their own face everywhere (there are numerous reasons why people decide to stay in the shade) I always feel a bit disappointed though when all I get is an avatar or caricature instead of a real person.
Another clear lesson here is that if you decide to use accessories in your photo you need to choose wisely. The "writer at work" pose isn't bad in itself but it needs to look natural.
Although animals are very cute the main subject of the photo should be you. Is a character in your book based on your cat? If not should he really be in your author photo?
How old is your photo? Although you may have been more of a looker in your younger years can you still honestly say that your photo is current? Author photo's should be updated at least on a yearly basis. If your bio reads that you started writing full time when you retired having an author photo of you as a twenty-something might seem a bit odd.
I decided to do what most of us do when we want the answer to a question, I asked Google. Doing a search for images of "author photos" gave a huge number of results. This is a screen shot of the first page:
|screen shot of Google results for "author photos"|
One of the first things I noticed was that most of the photo's were in black and white. Does this mean it's the "norm"? If the answer is yes, maybe it's not a bad thing to go against the trend as the colour photo's stand out a lot more in the mass.
Other things I noticed were that the majority make eye contact and that most of them feature just a close up head shot.
This is a photo I took of myself this morning (I used the timer setting on my camera to delay the snapshot by 10 seconds to give me time to get in front for the picture).
As you can see I then edited the photo to make it black and white. Which photo would work best as an author photo? Does it make a difference if the photo is for use online or for print?
I've still got to find the answers to a lot of questions on this topic but my research has definitely given me food for thought.
What are your thoughts about author photo's? Is yours black and white or in colour? Did you get it professionally taken or D.I.Y.? What, for you, makes a good author photo?
Have your say in the comments section and feel free to post the link to your own author photo.