Once upon a time, it was so easy. You put on your favorite Bionic Woman T-shirt, you stood in line, you picked out your plastic comb (you maybe even used it—or not), you sat in front of a baby-blue background, you smiled, and two months later, you got a sheet of little wallet sized photos that you cut out to send to family and friends.
Oh, those were the days.
When a writer starts looking down the road to publication, there are lots of things she or he looks forward to. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say “Finally getting my author photo taken!” is not high on that list.
So when it came my time to produce an author photo, I thought back on another sort of headshot experience I’d had in my, ahem, younger years. In one of my past lives, I was an actress. (Though, as my husband is fond of saying: “Was?”) I had done my share of visiting in the land known as “the actress headshot” so I thought it might help to revisit those old shots and look at them critically as a way to come up with ideas for my author photo.
Turns out, it wasn’t. (But my kids definitely enjoyed seeing them!)
Now there’s no question the author shot serves a different purpose than the actor’s headshot. I began to understand that as soon as I burned lovingly filed away those old headshots and started to do research online. There are many great tips on the web—especially on photographer’s websites where they will give you advice on how to dress for your photo shoot, make-up, etc. I even came upon this piece from Flavorwire on the clichés of Author Photos. (For those keeping score, I was going for #3, ended up with #5 but sort of wish I’d at least tried #2. Oh, well. Live and learn.*)
Just as the experts had said, I kept my wardrobe simple which wasn’t hard because my wardrobe is, well, painfully simple and I kept my make-up light (Again, not a challenge. I consider Lip Balm make-up.)
Now the only question was where to take the picture. Since my husband and I had to wait until the kids were asleep, we had to do it indoors. First, we tried to bathroom. (Is it me, or is this starting to sound bawdy enough to be a Friday post, Deb Linda?) Er, let’s just say, we didn’t have Deb Joanne’s success. Then we tried the foyer. (I’d post the disastrous results here, but I’m fairly certain you all would turn to stone and we need your readership.) Finally, we opted for something “casual” in the living room. I’m using the word “casual” here the way they do when they refer to “natural-looking” make-up. As in, it takes a lot of work to make something look like it took no work at all.
Trust me, this took work. Almost three hours of it.
And what’s so alarming and glorious about the end result is that out of the 200 hundred shots we took, this was the only one that was decent.
The only one.
*And yes, my chin did in fact end up in my hand. It just wanted to go there, I swear! (Though I wish it had crawled a little further to the right to cover up that big ole age spot. Ack!)
So tell us: Where would you take your author photo? (You know, besides the bathroom.)