Saturday, 17 August 2013

Smile, say cheese, and watch the birdy

I really don't like being photographed.

Usually I manage to avoid it pretty easily. Hang around in the background. Don't make myself too obvious. That way, I can be sure the furious gaze of the camera won't be directed towards me.

But there are times when being photographed is unavoidable. Most of them tend to be family related moments when you just have to grin and bear it. But every so often, there's a specific requirement for a specific type of photograph.

I recently had one such situation. Due to my new arrangement with Evolved Publishing, I had to provide an author photo. Bad enough that I had to submit myself to the torture of getting photographed. But what made it even more difficult was the idea of creating an author photo.

What exactly does an author photo look like? What am I supposed to do that will specifically say to anyone viewing it "This person is an author"? I had no idea. I even tried to do some research, to look at other examples of author photos, but that wasn't much help. There were so many different types of authors, and I had no idea which one I was.

Some authors are serious. They write serious books, and so their photos are also suitably serious. But I don't see that as being me. And besides, when I try to look too serious I end up looking constipated.

Other authors are funny. They might do funny, whacky sorts of photos. Maybe this suits me better. After all, my books are at least intended to be funny. But I just can't bring myself to do whacky for the camera. It doesn't feel right.

In the end, I try to think of the best way I can categorise my stories. I think my stories are friendly. They're easy and fun to read and make you feel good (again hopefully). That's the sort of author picture I need. A friendly author picture.

So, after numerous attempts, I end up with a picture. I send it in. It's now up on the Evolved website - you can look at it if you want. Hopefully I look at least a little bit friendly. Hopefully, 9 months before my book is released, I'm not already scaring the punters away.


  1. While I can't give my opinion on what an *author* photo should be like, I can at least used the criteria for a regular photo, the main point of which is that your face is in it. Given that you have that nailed, I'd say you did a good job there. If you had taken a photo of your feet, I'd be a bit worried. :)

    Photos are a bane for me as well, but only because I shoot a look at the camera that would either out-cool Bond himself or melt the heart of a puppy, depending on the mood or circumstance. Doesn't actually matter, as both always turn out like I've been impersonated by Quasimodo. So there's that. :P

    The best bit about being an author, though, is that one photo fits all. Past a Facebook, Twitter, article, and author page photograph, you're pretty much set now until you either dye your hair green, or lose an eye or two. So, no need to fret anymore!

    1. Thanks for your comment.

      Wish I'd thought of the feet photo idea - maybe that would have been the way to go.

  2. It’s interesting comparing the various author photos on the site. Yours looks like you’re posing for a passport to be honest. The one I’m using on Facebook at the moment was cropped from a photo I had taken by a professional of my daughter and me following her graduation. The first few he took we weren’t standing very close together and so it was easy to extract a headshot. The one I finally got blown up shows the two of us smiling and photos of me smiling are in very short supply I can tell you. As soon as I see a camera pointing in my direction ‘the face’ goes on and that’s it. The last photo of me consciously smiling at a camera would be when I was about eight. From the age of about ten I decided I was ‘serious’ and forgot how to smile. The few candid snaps of me smiling are usually with my daughter.

    1. Hi Jim,

      Actually, my passport photo is way worse even than that.

      Have a good week.