On Author Photos

You know the ones. They’re usually on the very last page of the book or on the back cover. They’re always professional shots and usually pretty nice. Usually.

During the course of my three months at Half Price Books I’ve seen a few older books come through the doors. I’m not talking a century old, I’m talking about 20-30 years old. And some of the pictures taken back in the day were not very good. They had dogs looking like they were trying to climb off the chair. They had authors wearing rather interesting attire. I think I’ve even seen t shirts. Any author can obviously wear whatever they like in their author photo, but I think it should still be considered a professional photo. And today it is, but I’m not so sure it was viewed as such just a few decades ago.

Have you ever seen an author photo that you thought was a bit questionable? I know I have.

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8 thoughts on “On Author Photos

  1. The worst was not too long ago… an author from one of my local groups was commenting about her photo. The conversation went something like this.

    Her: I want to rework my author bio
    Me: *so-n-so* just got great, professional head shots from someone local… I’d really recommend getting a professional head shot.
    Her: These are professional! I had the photographer come to my house.
    Me: *blink* *uhhh* See that sky? Talk about blue. *runs*

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  2. Haha! Nice one, Shanan.
    Yes, there are some awful photos out there. The ones I hate the most are the Vaseline on the lens, clearly photo-shopped from decades ago ones. You’re an author, not a model – this is not your application for Miss World. We don’t care how gorgeous you are – that won’t affect whether we enjoy your book. Just look respectable and professional.
    Best pic I’ve seen is from a few years ago – Donna Tartt’s on the inside cover of The Secret History. Possibly a bit of haze on the image and very severe looking, but a pic to envy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I teased a friend of mine who continued to use a headshot taken in his early 30s well into his late 50s. He’s a musician… so it’s not like he can even hide behind the anonymity of his work. He performs! I was like, “Dude, seriously… someone, at some point, is going to show up at one of your concerts, hold up the program and go, ‘but that’s not him!'” Funny thing is, he looks great! He finally took some updated photos and replaced the “I am immortal” images on all his media releases. LOL

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ha! Bless him. Yeah, he can’t hide in his study, can he? I guess I can understand the temptation – music is very much an image-centred profession, after all. And I have sympathy – I loathe all photos of me and can never quite understand why the twenty-something girl in my head isn’t still staring back at me from the image (or from the mirror). I feel like the younger me, so why do I look like my mum?

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I actually googled author photos for hours to sort of see what people did before I had mine taken. Oh mi god. Cat around the neck. Or the monster chair and tiny author ones. Some are quite amusing.

    Liked by 1 person

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