Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Give It Your Best Shot

Anything you are passionate about deserves your best shot.  This includes your image as an author.  What does your headshot say about you?  Is it your best?

Headshot: Why you need one

Readers are curious.  They want to know who wrote the book.  In addition to a short bio, a good headshot will help answer the question.  It will also be a key piece to your marketing later.

Tips For Taking a Great Headshot

Whether you are going to hire a photographer or are going to use or take your own picture, keep in mind the following:
  • Keep it simple.  Only you should be in the image.  No trying to crop somebody else out.  People will always wonder who was supposed to be attached to that disembodied arm around your shoulder.
  • There should be nothing competing with you. The background should be simple and uncluttered.
  • Wear something without a print or a very subtle print.  Be careful of logos or words on your shirt. You want people looking at your face, not your shirt.
  • Keep your hair and jewelry simple, the focus should be on you.  That said, especially as an author of children’s books, it should also show a bit about your fun personality. This can be accomplished with tasteful prompts - just don't get too crazy!
  • The image should crisp, well-focused, and well-exposed. Your eyes should be the sharpest thing in focus in the image. Eye contact is how people feel connected to one-another - even in photographs.
  • Don't have the background competing with you for space!  Make sure you fill the frame. Typically a headshot is from the chest up.
  • Select your posing and environment carefully. This can help set the stage for how you want your readers to perceive you.
  • Make sure it looks like you! Don't go overboard with make-up or with retouching the image. You want to look like yourself on a really good day. When you finally get to visit schools, bookstores, and libraries for readings and book signings, you don't want everyone wondering if you're an impostor!
  • Ensure it is the proper resolution for printing.  This website explains it pretty well: http://graphicssoft.about.com/cs/digitalimaging/f/pixelsprint.htm

Choosing the Best Shot: Things to Consider

Here are a few things to consider when evaluating your headshot:
  • Does it make you look professional?  Would I want to buy a book from you?
  • Is there a certain way that you want to be perceived by your audience? Does this image do it? 
  • If you sent this image to a newspaper or other advertiser, would they use it?  Is it high enough quality?
Tips for a great headshot

Contact Me

If you have any questions you think I can help with, feel free to contact me.  If you live north of Boston, I may be able to provide you with the headshot you are looking for.  Be sure to check out Hiring an Event Photographer for more information about choosing a photographer you can work with. The same principles apply!

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