For Writer’s – How to prepare for your Author photo shoot


Reading time: 3 Minutes


I hope by now you’ve made the choice to hire a photographer and go have an absolute blast at your photo session. So, if you have, you may be wondering… what am I supposed to do?

First, decide on how you want to present yourself to the world. I worked with the cutest author picture the other day. She writes seaside women’s fiction, and she made the very smart decision to have her photo shoot done at, where else, the beach! It was fun, breezy, sweet and represented her brand so well. And that my friends, is the REAL question.

What is your brand?

All of us writers have decided to write in a genre. Whether it’s fiction or non-fiction, we’re in some sort of category. We can’t escape this. When we distribute our books, we MUST input the category. That category has expectations. We based everything on that market. From how our book cover looks, to how our blurb reads, to who we try to reach out to as a potential reader. So why shouldn’t our author photos represent what we’re about?

If you write scary thriller books, considering having a dark and serious author photo. If you write uplifting self-help, or positive faith-based works, have a cheerful, bright photo that makes people smile and creates a confident mood in the viewer. If you write contemporary romance, go for a professional look. Amish fiction? Consider finding an old buggy to lean up against, or maybe a covered bridge. Cook book? An open, brightly lit kitchen is a great choice here. If you gear your author photo towards your brand, you’ll engage your reader with your work and with you.

Location can have everything, or nothing, to do with your author session. If you’re doing a basic head shot, this can be done anywhere with good light, including a studio. The depth of field should be so shallow, the background won’t matter. If you’re planning on doing something more genre themed, then choose wisely. Make sure the location makes sense for what you want to represent. You wouldn’t do your pictures in the middle of the city if you write Westerns, would you? We did my photo session at old iron works ruins. I write in a post-cataclysmic world. The location was fitting. Have fun with it! Make the situation unique and personal to you.

Clothing matters as well. Again, be sure to wear something that represents you and your genre well. For example, don’t wear a power suit if your book is on fitness. I should see you in your natural habitat,

looking the part (minus the sweat!), convincing me you’re the person to make my fitness goals come true. Cozy Mystery writer? Maybe do your session during the fall, when sweater weather and warm tea go well together, and you can convey that feeling of curling up with a good book and fuzzy socks.

Author branding is so important, and if you haven’t given the subject much thought, starting with your author photo can be a great jumping off point. How you present yourself on your work, your website, in your media kit, will help establish how your brand is viewed. Now, as you’re preparing to launch your writing career, is a great time to think about what that means for you. Still not sure? Check out the most popular authors in your genre and see what they're doing. See if their brand fits how you envision yours, and if not, what would you change? How would you represent yourself differently?

I hope this post has you excited to be venturing out into the big world of publishing where you’ll be needing an author photo. I know I’m excited for you!