Author Photo Shoot

Probably not my best face for an author photo...


I just had another author photo shoot with my good friend, Ronda Broatch who is not just a poet, mother, pilates instructor, editor, but also an incredible photographer.

I must say, I always enjoy my time with Ronda just because we always have so much fun together.

This time, while I was getting my photo taken, I was taking notes on how to make a photo shoot go well. Here are some tips I came up with.

1) Have someone you like take your photos.

- Whether you hire someone or have a friend do it, you will be spending a lot of time and odd positions with this person. You want to look in his/her camera and smile, you want her to make you laugh and make you feel happy and relaxed. If you don't feel comfortable with the person, it might show in your photos.

2) Invite a 3rd friend.

- Have this person be in charge of your hair being out of place, your shirt being oddly tucked in, your necklace clasp moving to the front of your neck. This person is someone who knows you and what you like. S/he will be there to smooth out the unique wisps of hair that have you looking like a Little Rascals stand-in before and during the photo shoot.

3) The wind can be both your friend and your enemy.

- One of my best photos of the day came when the wind swept my hair up and moved into the sunlight. One of my worst photos happened a few minutes later when the wind pushed all my hair over my face.

4) Take photo in a few places and look for textures.

-- Some really good photos came from the back of our house where we had peeling paint. But Ronda noticed the textures, not that we needed to repaint. Also, feel free to use your neighbor's yards or a park. We wandered into my neighbor's yard to pose by his giant maple tree. Some of our best shots happened there.

Take inside and out. See what you like best (this is what is awesome about digital cameras!)

5) If you're on a role and taking good photos, don't stop, as the moment you stop, you will never be able to get things set up exactly as they were.

--If your photographer sees a good photo, have her keep keep going. Ronda was great at this. I would just move around and smile and she would keep shooting. Keep moving and "posing." And try to be funny sometimes. Some of our best shots came right after I would do a Zoolander pose or dropped something and was laughing. Just keep going if you have good lighting and the photos are turning out well, go go go...

6) Make-up helps.

--I'm not sure if a guy is going to do this, or cares if his freckles, age spots, wrinkles, etc. are showing, but for women, if you don't normally wear foundation, do it. Plus a little extra eye make-up, lipstick, etc. In black and white, everything is muted. In one photo I look as if I have no make-up on, but honestly, I had both concealer and foundation on, plus powder (thank you Jeannine for that suggestion!) I didn't wear eyeliner, but probably could have. I did wear lipstick (but I love lipstick.)

7) Think about what author photos you like. Here are some of my favorites. They are my favorites because they show the author's personality.

8) Sometimes you can be in a very weird, slightly awkward pose and it turns out to be a great shot.

--I still am not 100% sure what makes a good photo, but I do know sometimes when my neck felt as if it was going to break off, we got good pics. I think it's because my chin was up. So try new things with your body and face. Don't just go in for the class school photo.

9) If your camera can shot photos in black and white, do that as it gives you a better feel for what your photos will look without having to change them into black and white.

10) Have a clothing change ready.
-I started out in a white sweater, but changed into a black shirt and felt better about the photos. I'm very light and I think the white sweater turned me into one big snowball. Also, I wear black more, so it felt more like me.

11) Realize you will like the photos better when you look at them later.

- This happens to me a lot with photos, I grow to like some I didn't think I would.

12) Make sure to take your photos in a very high resolution.

13) Start a file on your computer for your favorite photos of yourself.

--This way if someone asks for a photo of yourself, you have a few to choose from. You may want a more serious photo for your book cover and a less formal for your reading or blog. Also, you may get bored of using the same photo of yourself and want to mix it up a bit.

14) Dress in the way you feel comfortable.

--One of the reasons I wanted to redo my photos is I wore a shirt that is more frilly than I am on my last photo shoot. Every time I saw I photo of myself, I saw the weird frill on my arms, which is just not the everyday me. I realized I tended to love the photos of me in the big bulky cardigan sweater, because that is how I always dress.

15) Don't be afraid to ask for what you want or make suggestions.

One day we'll all be getting our photos done by Annie Lebowitz, until then, these might help you out.

I'll post some of the new photos soon. Some of the really good ones and a couple really bad ones.


  1. Those are great tips Kelli :) so far I have taken all of my own photos but I think that takes so much longer to set up them if you just have help!


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