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5 Tips for Making the Most of Your Author Photo Shoot

Having an author photo taken always demands a measure of engagement on your behalf and the artist’s. Just because the portrait is depicted photographically doesn’t mean it should resemble an identification photo: ability and effort are required on multiple levels throughout the process.

Consider the following five tips when having an author’s portrait made:

Have an idea about the mood and theme prior to the session.

Try visualizing and describing it to the photographer the best you can. The conceptual work happens well before the camera is turned on, and a defined goal helps the photographer envision the overall scene and determine a suitable approach beforehand. By the end many things will end up awry, so it’s good to hold onto a clear set of rules early. Submitting a photo ahead of time could provide a helpful point of comparison.

Come up with a “look” that successfully conveys the style and intended purpose of the theme.

The portrait will largely define the visual aspect of your identity as an author, and your readers will associate it with you and the writing for years to come. Allow enough individuality and character to come through, and keep clear of exhausted, commonplace expressions: own it and make it “you”! Practise it frequently until it becomes available on command and comes out natural and relaxed.

Choose a photographer willing to put effort into bringing out your “look,” not just press the shutter release at the prospect of a smile.

Visualizing and then materializing the idea as intended is an ability that requires knowledge, practised skill, and grit – through conceptualization, the actual shoot, and even post processing. The photographer should be competent enough that the invested effort matches the outcome and passionate enough to persevere when it doesn’t. Look for an artist or a craftsman rather than an operator.

Know under what terms you’d like the work released.

Ask about commercial use and distribution, reproduction rights (digital or otherwise), alterations, and attribution in public use. Even under favourable conditions, the release could specify a limited print run within a narrow period of time and geographic area. Some photographers are flexible and grant a wide range of allowances, others don’t – any artist meticulous in his or her work will likely be painstakingly particular controlling its use. Have the interest of all parties in mind and be prepared to compromise.

Be calm, patient, and flexible throughout the session.

Effort takes place on both sides of the camera. Feel free to ask for breaks or mental timeouts as the process can become tiring and overwhelming. Be comfortable and open about yourself and any features or details you’d like lessened – they’re not always obvious or unfavourable to an outside perspective. Don’t just get your photo taken; care and be positive, and the end result will show it!

About the Author

A Northeast Ohio photographer, Alexlupo has recently had the absolute pleasure of working with Anna Kopp, a forthcoming Blue Moon Publishers writer, for an author’s portrait.

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