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JennaGlatzer
03-18-2005, 01:35 AM
Hey!

So, okay, I'm on my 14th book and I've still never had a professional author photo taken. My dad has taken the ones that appear on the backs of most of my book covers. But it's time for something better.

Was discussing with my editor at Moo Press, who suggested that I just go to a Sears or JC Penney Portrait Center. Never would have thought of that, but I visited their websites and realized they look good!

Now the question is pose/background/props. I'm sick of the author photos where the author is leaning on a stack of her books. And I'm not too fond of plain ole' headshots.

First question: Anyone want to share their author photos here to inspire me? :)

Second: Ideas? I'll probably go with a plain white background, and wear a solid dark-colored shirt. Beyond that, what can I do to not be boring?

My problem is the wide range of books I write-- this photo has to be appropriate for everything from children's picture books to celeb biographies to books for writers... so it can't fall too much into any one category.

Suggestions welcome!

P.S. Am planning to do this next week. Currently battling a pimple that won't die.

Betty W01
03-18-2005, 01:39 AM
Jenna, whoever you get to do your photo, make sure they sell you the copyright to it as well as the negatives, so you have control over where it's used and when/by whom, or get permission for future use IN WRITING, signed, dated, and notarized. When my oldest daughter died, we discovered that we had to have permission (which the photographer would not give) to have her senior picture enlarged for her funeral (a closed casket affair). We ended up having to pay the photographer over $100 to have one stinking enlargement made, and then he refused to sell us the negatives, saying that's how he made his money. So now he still owns my daughter's image and can use it however he sees fit, with no input from us required or asked for. Argh.

So, do inquire into the rights you will have over your image. You may be the subject, but you don't automatically own the rights to use it.

mommie4a
03-18-2005, 01:47 AM
I asked a few friends for recommendations, called a couple of places, chose one, had them give me the name of a makeup person they work with and about 150 shots later, I had ONE I liked it. That's not bad, seeing as how I'm the type to put scarves, hats and hands over my face when people angle for my mug.

I chose black and white, a brick background, head only. It's on a CD and they printed out two 5 x 7s and a bunch of smaller head shots. The picture is on my website (www.jillmillerzimon.com (http://www.jillmillerzimon.com)) on the About Jill page. I've gotten a lot of compliments on the picture - especially from people who know me ;-). And honestly, and especially if you've read my Idol entry about my mother telling me she hates my hair color, my parents, brothers and husband don't lie. They know I know I take lousy pictures most of the time.

I happen to agree with them this time though. The picture shows me pretty much as I am. Nothing was brushed out, though I had them show me what it would look like for fun. And you know what? Surprise, surprise - it didn't look like me and I didn't like that. So, there I am, at 40, in my first professional picture. Now all I need is the book to go with it!

Richard
03-18-2005, 01:51 AM
Brrr. I hate, hate, hate having my photo taken (of course, looking like myself, I would...) - with the unusual exception that I don't care if it's a funny picture. Sit and smile at a camera means instant horribleness, but pretending to be a mad scientist or leaping around or carving up a globe with a kitchen knife or similar is okay.

Probably not ideal for kids books though...

TemlynWriting
03-18-2005, 02:33 AM
P.S. Am planning to do this next week. Currently battling a pimple that won't die.

No suggestions off the top of my head (for the photo shoot), but have you tried an aspirin mask? Those can work wonders on undying pimples. :) If you want more info, I can PM or email you.

Richard
03-18-2005, 02:34 AM
Failing that, www.adobe.com. 30 day trial of Adobe Photoshop Elements, complete with the Healing Brush. Zap the sucker straight off the photo.

TemlynWriting
03-18-2005, 02:39 AM
Failing that, www.adobe.com (http://www.adobe.com). 30 day trial of Adobe Photoshop Elements, complete with the Healing Brush. Zap the sucker straight off the photo.

Excellent idea, Richard! Might have to try that on our wedding photos. My husband had quite the pimple that morning. :)

TemlynWriting
03-18-2005, 02:40 AM
Oh, and following the lead of "My Big Fat Greek Wedding," you can always dry a dash of Windex! ;)

JennaGlatzer
03-18-2005, 08:59 PM
LOL @ Windex. I'm gonna PM you about the aspirin mask-- never heard of that!

Betty, I'm floored. What a... (searching my head for a word that won't get asterisked out) BUTTHEAD that photographer is! How amazingly cruel! But yes, I did think about the rights. Thanks for the reminder.

Jill: Very nice pic!

I've used Photoshop to get rid of my eye bags before, and never succeeded... it always looked like I'd had very bad plastic surgery. My dad (bless him) has taken hundreds of photos of me for past books, but honestly, the little pic over there <--- is way nicer than most of them. I wish I could use it, but it's not close-up enough and I'd have to airbrush out Celine and the whole background. You can do that on the computer, but when you go to print it out, it looks silly.

maestrowork
03-18-2005, 09:16 PM
I like my headshots. :) I'd choose a photographer who uses "natural lighting" -- the difference (from studio lighting) is incredible. Also, I'd choose some kind of organic background (a park, a bench, etc.) instead of just plain color. The background should be "out of focus," however. The important thing is your face.

Using photoshop you can do a lot of things -- smooth out your skin, fix blemishes, etc. -- what photographers used to do with airbrush. Also, a lot of photographers go digital now, so they will be able to take 300 COLOR pictures within the session and you can see them immediately, instead of waiting for a contact sheet. And digital costs less money as well.

For an author picture, I'd probbly go with b/w, unless the color picture is exceptional. Why? I don't know -- I think I just think b/w are more classy, more "intelligent" looking. They also tend to make the subject look more sharp (without the distraction of background colors, clothing, etc.)

Betty W01
03-18-2005, 09:19 PM
Jenna, he paid for it in negative word-of-mouth advertising. The enlargement hangs over our fireplace and whenever anyone admires it, we tell them how we were treated. Very few people who know us or have heard our story would even consider ever going to this photographer, and our three remaining children had their senior pix made elsewhere, too. In fact, DD#2 was a rep for another guy!
And yeah, BUTTHEAD doesn't begin to cover it... <grin>

mommie4a
03-18-2005, 11:52 PM
My dad (bless him) has taken hundreds of photos of me for past books, but honestly, the little pic over there <--- is way nicer than most of them. I wish I could use it, but it's not close-up enough and I'd have to airbrush out Celine and the whole background. You can do that on the computer, but when you go to print it out, it looks silly.

I like that picture <---- of you too - very upbeat, cheery and sincere. I'd trust you in an instant based on that picture alone - if I didn't already.

LRFarley
03-19-2005, 08:12 AM
I suggest you book an hour or more with the photographer and get three or four dozen poses so that you can get at least a half dozen that you're crazy about. That will give you a different pose/look for whatever kind of book you need a picture for.

Bring a couple of jackets or sweaters to go over the basic black so you look different in the shots, too, along with the backgrounds.

Backgrounds: The first thing I think of is an abstract, high-tech. Like a silver and grey, diagonal stripe, techno thing. Goes with everything. But if you write down your book types, then you can choose a couple of backgrounds for each, along with an outfit for each.

Sound like fun?

For me, I use a digital camera and either a mirror or a long arm and sometimes both.

Bob/lrf in 1986, self-portrait (http://bobfarley.com/real/guitarist.jpg)

underthecity
03-22-2005, 04:51 AM
OK Jenna and anyone else who's curious,

Here's the link (http://www.allensedge.com/Allen.jpg)to my own photo on my website. When my wife and I had extended family photos taken before last Christmas, I had a couple done of me for my "author photo." This is the photo I submit to the newspapers when they do an article on me and my books (oh, and hey--had one come out about me last week, and another one is this week! Well, it's not all about ME, it's about my latest book and upcoming one.).

Anyway, I was going for the "dangerous author" image, whatever that might mean. I'm mostly harmless, I guess.

Make sure you're sitting down and take a peek (http://www.allensedge.com/Allen.jpg).

Cool, or just weird?

On a side note, the same photographer who took this picture also took the pictures inside the subway when I took the tour in 1998. The pictures she took are in the book now.

underthecity

mommie4a
03-22-2005, 04:55 AM
Under - I think you got what you were looking for! Nice.

Liam Jackson
03-22-2005, 12:15 PM
I vote for a shot of Jenna with her Cabana Boyz. A picture says a thousand words. :)

maestrowork
03-22-2005, 01:03 PM
LJ, I guess the hottub party one will go on the backcover of your book! ;)

JennaGlatzer
03-22-2005, 11:38 PM
Liam! You got back in under the right name! I'm so pleased.

I've had to postpone the author pics a bit more. My skin and I are having arguments. The one giant pimple is mostly gone, but several itty bitty ones have decided to attack me all at once. Sneaky!

Where are my Cabana Boyz? They must have sneaked out the window because they were horrified by my heinous skin affliction!

Alphabeter
03-23-2005, 10:40 AM
Cool, or just weird?

Its that dangerous undercurrent cool.

I like it.

And tell your wife she got a cutie. :gone:

Galoot
03-23-2005, 10:53 AM
I suppose you've already decided against using a picture like the one you deleted from the PA thread earlier this week, huh? I know Photoshop pretty well and, if you were to send me a high-res one like that, I could spend as long as you want fixing it...

...Longer than you want, probably.

Alphabeter
03-23-2005, 11:13 AM
First question: Anyone want to share their author photos here to inspire me?
I have my avatar pic which is what I use for articles.
I think it gives an edgy vibe to rather dry computer instructions.

Then I have my profile pic (if you click on my username, its the picture on the top right) which was the best in the set of three PA demands of its authors.
Its modeled after a rare photo of Princess Grace (she didn't wear her glasses in public). I think it sophisticated.


Second: Ideas? I'll probably go with a plain white background, and wear a solid dark-colored shirt. Beyond that, what can I do to not be boring?

You asked for it!

Wear something in the red family. I look great in burgundy/maroon but you might pop better in a tomato red. With your dark hair and light background it will give a great balance for any color cover.

Wear a solid top (a three-quarter sleeved blouse works better than a sweater) rather than a two-piece anything. You want the one-two-three of your dark hair, light face (with light background) and medium clothing. Too many separations is distracting.

Smile sweetly with a hint of teeth. Too toothy is creepy for any genre and studies have shown a no-teeth smile conveys the person is hiding something.

Leave your hair down. I think you look better that way.

Stand up but have the majority of pictures taken head-and-shoulders. Sitting down pulls the weight down, but you're too thin to pull that off.

Simple jewelry. Small earrings. A thin necklace with a small pendant. Your rings. If you don't wear a right-hand ring, then balance it with a small bracelet. Keep everything in the same metal color. For example, if you can't get all silver, white gold and platinum can mix too.

Don't cock your head.
Do look a little off to the side of the camera like you're dreaming. Straight through the lens eyes can also contribute to the creepy writer effect.

Holding your breath like you're in mid-laugh can work but don't try it for more than three pictures (especially in a row!).


Currently battling a pimple that won't die.
Hemorrhoid cream. A big glob on it overnight and a little mixed with your moisturizer during the day. Works especially nice on the big puffy ones that are unpoppable. :mad:

Oh and get a set balanced for and printed in black and white. If you leave it to newspapers and other media photo editors to take the color out of your shots, it can be scary!

underthecity
03-23-2005, 04:01 PM
Joy, thanks! <blush>



And my advice,

Don't do that "hand under the chin" pose. It looks so cliched.

utc

Alphabeter
03-23-2005, 04:19 PM
You're welcome UTC. :Hug2:

And another additon--no leaning on the typewriter for a "retro" look.

Even Jessica Fletcher couldn't pull the look off!

maestrowork
03-23-2005, 04:36 PM
No snapshots either. I have seen so many author's pic that looks like some twelve-year-old snapped with their Wal-mart disposable cameras...

;)

From what I see, we have some attractive writers here. Alphabeter is a cutie. ;)

JennaGlatzer
03-23-2005, 09:47 PM
No kiddin'. Joy, you married? I happen to know a single guy who makes a mean bug soup...

mommie4a
03-23-2005, 10:03 PM
About whether to look straight into the camera or not: I don't like my nose. So the only thing I told the photographer was to make sure that whatever we did, we had to minimize my nose (it's not really that bad at all, I just find it to be one of my least photogenic attributes). And they had me look at the camera, so that my nose wouldn't be seen in profile. I was satisfied with how that approach worked and the result worked for me. I know Jenna's looked, but it's on my profile or at www.jillmillerzimon.com (http://www.jillmillerzimon.com) if anyone wants to double-check my insecurity.

Jenna, they will make you look mahvelous, I'm sure!

TemlynWriting
03-23-2005, 10:22 PM
I have my avatar pic which is what I use for articles.
I think it gives an edgy vibe to rather dry computer instructions.

Then I have my profile pic (if you click on my username, its the picture on the top right) which was the best in the set of three PA demands of its authors.
Its modeled after a rare photo of Princess Grace (she didn't wear her glasses in public). I think it sophisticated.



You asked for it!

Wear something in the red family. I look great in burgundy/maroon but you might pop better in a tomato red. With your dark hair and light background it will give a great balance for any color cover.

Wear a solid top (a three-quarter sleeved blouse works better than a sweater) rather than a two-piece anything. You want the one-two-three of your dark hair, light face (with light background) and medium clothing. Too many separations is distracting.

Smile sweetly with a hint of teeth. Too toothy is creepy for any genre and studies have shown a no-teeth smile conveys the person is hiding something.

Leave your hair down. I think you look better that way.

Stand up but have the majority of pictures taken head-and-shoulders. Sitting down pulls the weight down, but you're too thin to pull that off.

Simple jewelry. Small earrings. A thin necklace with a small pendant. Your rings. If you don't wear a right-hand ring, then balance it with a small bracelet. Keep everything in the same metal color. For example, if you can't get all silver, white gold and platinum can mix too.

Don't cock your head.
Do look a little off to the side of the camera like you're dreaming. Straight through the lens eyes can also contribute to the creepy writer effect.

Holding your breath like you're in mid-laugh can work but don't try it for more than three pictures (especially in a row!).


Hemorrhoid cream. A big glob on it overnight and a little mixed with your moisturizer during the day. Works especially nice on the big puffy ones that are unpoppable. :mad:

Oh and get a set balanced for and printed in black and white. If you leave it to newspapers and other media photo editors to take the color out of your shots, it can be scary!

Lots of excellent advice, Joy. And I forgot about the hemorrhoid cream. That was another remedy I'd heard about, thanks to the beauty boards.

TemlynWriting
03-23-2005, 10:27 PM
No snapshots either. I have seen so many author's pic that looks like some twelve-year-old snapped with their Wal-mart disposable cameras...

;)

From what I see, we have some attractive writers here. Alphabeter is a cutie. ;)

My hubby just got a *really nice* new camera (well, WE got a new camera, but he uses it more), so we're hoping to take some nice pictures this holiday weekend. Maybe I'll have a decent one to post up here on my profile or as an avatar. The current profile picture (on my profile page) is one of our informal engagement photos (my father-in-law took it at one of our showers. It's from November 2002, so yeah, it's kind of old. My hair is a lot longer now, and well, it's just an older photo.

TemlynWriting
04-04-2005, 10:59 PM
Jenna - did your pimple ever disappear? Have you had your author photos taken yet?

We had some great photos taken during our Easter trip, but nothing suitable for an author picture (though we got a few adorable shots of me and my husband, and our friends).

However, Saturday afternoon my hubby and I took some pictures of a nearby patch of bluebonnets. He got a few of me sitting in the flower patch, surrounded by bluebonnets. A few of those came out nicely, and may work for author photos. He loves this new camera - the pictures are so excellent!!!

Lilybiz
04-06-2005, 08:52 AM
Hi everyone--

Very interesting thread and I'm enjoying reading it. I make my living as an actor and I know plenty about headshots for that type of work, but I wouldn't guess the requirements are the same for an author photo. I'm listening and learning. Not sure I like the idea of looking away from the camera, though. I kind of like a more direct approach. Just personal taste.

One thing I know, however, is that most professional photographers use digital now, so you needn't let pimples be a problem. They can be erased digitally in seconds.

Canada James
04-06-2005, 11:38 AM
Was discussing with my editor at Moo Press, who suggested that I just go to a Sears or JC Penney Portrait Center. Never would have thought of that, but I visited their websites and realized they look good!


Jenna, do you have any actor friends where you live? Ask them where they got their headshots done and ask to see them. When I was working at becoming an actor (shudder), my photos were of utmost importance. Worrying about the background, what you are wearing, etc, should be left up to the professional who can guide you through the entire process.

A good photographer will discuss with you what it is you want with the photos. (Do tell the photographer you will require written permission to use them.) The photographer will have you bring several outfits, will take pictures in a few settings, and will know best what works with what.

It's more expensive than Sears or JC, but photographers are like publishers. Do you want something cheap that you probably could have done yourself, or do you want to leave the worries up to the professional who has the training to give you a great end product?

Canada James

mdin
04-13-2005, 02:31 AM
Something you might want to be concerned about is most chain photography places retain the copyright to the image they've taken. I can't imagine they'd ever know or do anything about it, but it does often contain their copyright notice right on the back of your family portrait.




Using photoshop you can do a lot of things -- smooth out your skin, fix blemishes, etc. -- what photographers used to do with airbrush.

This is basically what I do 8 hours a day at the newspaper where I work. (I used to actually write stuff, but I had decided I didn't want to die of a heart attack before my 30th birthday, and I took a less stress-intensive job. Never write for a paper unless you're an adrenaline junkie.)

I take the pictures and make them print-ready, which includes 'airbrushing' the publicity photographs, color correcting, etc. etc..

Ella
04-13-2005, 04:31 AM
Speaking of marriage, I once removed an ex-husband and a wedding band from a photo. Fun stuff. :D
(With photoshop, not scissors.)

Jenna, maybe try an action shot. They always come out so much more natural looking. Go jump around a park, or tell dirty jokes with a friend, and tell the photographer to just be patient. :-)
I agonized over this myself, and had a friend shoot a bunch, and they sucked. Sooo, no more posing. I was thinking about maybe a night out with friends at a karaoke bar, but then my shots would look just like my avatar, and that's already raised enough ire. ;)

JennaGlatzer
04-13-2005, 08:59 AM
I keep postponing the pics because I've been looking bad lately. Too many all-nighters. But I got my nails done today in case I decide to do it this week. :)

Galoot
04-13-2005, 09:07 AM
That should come in handy for your Freddy Krueger biography.

mdin
04-13-2005, 09:11 AM
I keep postponing the pics because I've been looking bad lately. Too many all-nighters. But I got my nails done today in case I decide to do it this week. :)

You don't need to get a picture done. The one in your profile is priceless.

JennaGlatzer
04-14-2005, 10:52 AM
Isn't it? Galoot made it! :)

Grr. I still have a case of the uglies. And a brand new pimple! This calls for drastic measures. :guns:

Lilybiz
04-14-2005, 07:07 PM
Seriously, no kidding, they can digitize your pimple and your wrinkles and whatever you want digitized. They can make your eyes switch places. Pimples are no longer a problem as long as your photographer uses digital.

And I agree, your photo with Celine is beautiful (she must be jealous!).

TemlynWriting
04-14-2005, 09:48 PM
Isn't it? Galoot made it! :)

Grr. I still have a case of the uglies. And a brand new pimple! This calls for drastic measures. :guns:

Jenna, you are NOT ugly. Repeat after me: I am not ugly. I am not ugly. I am not ugly.

:) :Hug2:

oneidii
04-16-2005, 05:31 PM
Hey Joy,
What about the ones with a background, or with a favored dog or cat? I have two friends that took pics with a dog (and a cat, but we ignore that fact) and one looked really good, the other ghet-to.

What are opinions of human/animal shots? Too creepy I-love-my-animal writer?

maestrowork
04-16-2005, 07:14 PM
Does anyone want to share our photos and critique them? And no, I don't mean to crit them like "oh your nose is too large and your double chins are distracting..." LOL

I'll start: my profile picture (a cropped version of it) would be my author's photo on the back cover. What do you think?

mdin
04-17-2005, 02:07 AM
Does anyone want to share our photos and critique them? And no, I don't mean to crit them like "oh your nose is too large and your double chins are distracting..." LOL

I'll start: my profile picture (a cropped version of it) would be my author's photo on the back cover. What do you think?

I think the picture itself is spectacular. It's moody, you look all serious and writerly.

Obviously the cropped version is not the original, so this may be moot, but when I look at the quality of the image, I'm immediately struck by how flat it is. It's one of those things 99% of people out there won't ever notice, but it's my job to make pictures 'pop out.' Just working with the tiny jpg in your profile, I noodled with your picture and came up with the attachment so you can see what I mean. (I sharpened it, also. While it make look a little too sharp, the act of printing on stock softens (blurs) the image slightly, so that evens it out.)

maestrowork
04-17-2005, 02:14 AM
Thanks! The picture is flat looking. Fortunately, the actual pic (300 dpi) should be much sharper. ;)

Torin
04-17-2005, 04:53 AM
My fave pic of me is from 2 years ago in the hospital with my brand new granddaughter.

http://www.cebarrett.com/images/gramma1.jpg