Monday, August 30, 2010

Getting Ready for a Writer's Conference: Strike a Pose

Do you need a professional photo for your writing? I say yes. And I also say you might want to include a photo on business cards for agents and editors.

No, this is not me. It's my "persona."
I have a file/disk of my professional photos to be included in any writing endeavors. A photographer, Janet, who catered especially to writers that day did my session and interviewed me beforehand to find out my personality/what I wrote. From that she worked on my session.

I have to say that I hate photos of myself. I didn’t like my photos at first because that is my immediate reaction, so I put them here on my blog to have blog-friends vote! Many of you helped me to see what you saw, and what kind of personality came through the photos. I’ve seen other writers do this on blogs and Facebook. Comments do help.

This year at the American Christian Fiction Writers conference they will have a fabulous photographer, Amber Zimmerman, available for a session appointment. Your photo should be free and clear of any usage constraints so you may use them for all of your work, which makes opportunities like this one of which to take advantage. You don't want photos that you must get permission to use each time.

As far as dress and poses—usually a photographer will address this with you. You need a face shot for things like articles, columns, and any publicity/media events. But I’d encourage you to have fun with your personality/type of writing that you do and have a few casual shots, too. (Depending on your genre and type of other writing that you do.)

The color you wear should enhance your own coloring and go with the colors to wear that emphasize the type of writing that you do. I wrote a couple articles on this, addressing what color “says” to the viewer. For example, navy blue is “trustworthy” while pink is “friendly/feminine,” and green is “earthy.” Of course, everyone’s heard of the red power tie. Make sure you wear the color; don’t let the color wear you!

Some of my shots were outside, but that was for lighting and she included some flowers. At one point I was on the ground on a white background and she was up on a ladder. Photos taken from above are flattering to your face. If someone shoots you from below, things have a tendency to “expand.” (Even if you’re not heavy.)

I think that any business card you give to an editor or agent should have your photo on it—a really good photo. (Remember that it will be small.) It does jog the memory of the editor/agent, especially when you have jotted the project you have pitched to him on the back. Make sure you have all of your contact info on that card. If you want to have a business card for all others that only lists your web site/email address, then that’s ok, but you definitely want certain people to have access to you.

Here is the photographer, Amber Zimmerman, for the ACFW conference and samples of what she’s done with authors:

The authors you see there are Colleen Coble and Denise Hunter, but she’s done many other authors because her mom is Diann Hunt (also an author.)

Amber’s page on “what to wear” is mostly for family shots, but she also wrote about photos for authors on Seekerville Blog: (GREAT article on Seekerville)

I do think it’s important as a writer these days to have a public platform/persona. When you go to sell your work you will have to have these photos, and while you may have them updated and redone when the project is actually sold (especially for books,) it’s great to have done this ahead of time, too.

You want to have your photos available for blogs, FB, Twitter, articles (written by you or ON you,) any public forum or platform, for your books, and for media kits.  We needed to be friendly and approachable, as well as trustworthy looking. You do not have to be a model or drop-dead gorgeous (glamorous) in those photos, but you should have a warmth and a joy that comes through. Be yourself but find a photographer who helps bring “you” to the picture.

What kinds of advice do you have about photos?


Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Crystal -

Thanks for the tips on photos. There's only one picture I've liked of myself, and it was taken a long time ago.

Susan :)

Story and Logic Media Group said...

So now I find this post. . . after the photo shoot.

Amber took my photo in March so I knew she would do a good job. And since I've lost weight everyone tells me to hurry up and change my profile picture. LOL.