How to Prepare for Your Author Headshots

by Mary Denman @MaryDenman

Now that you’re ready to have a professional headshot taken for social media or for your book, you need to know how to prepare for your session.

First and foremost, I want you to look forward to your session. And relax.

I know, some of you hate even thinking about getting a picture taken, much less actually enjoying it. But this is where your photographer comes in.

I truly want you to have the best experience you’ve ever had getting a headshot taken. This means that I’ll guide and coach you throughout the shoot. You’re not going to stand in front of me in silence and awkwardness. Instead, we will laugh and have fun and get you great shots.

My philosophy about being a photographer is this: I’m trying to capture what God is doing in your heart through your eyes.

I want you to enjoy our time together.

Second, think about what you want to convey in your photo.

Do you write for kids or adults?

What kind of subjects do you cover? Light topics? Funny ones? Maybe a heavier subject matter?

If you write for children, you might want a brighter, lighter shot. If you write suspense, we can play with shadows on your face and create a more mysterious look.

Many clients tell me they want to be approachable. I get that and we can do it.

Again, I will coach you through all of this.

Third, plan your clothing.

The headshot is about YOU, not your clothing or jewelry, so keep it simple.

Here is my advice:

Unless you’re from Hawaii and want to convey that, leave the bright floral Hawaiian shirt at home.

Choose solid colors. Stripes and florals can be distracting. Bright red can be difficult to shoot if your whole top is red so tone it down with a jacket or sweater.

Layers work. Bring a jacket or sweater to put on and take off to change up your look.

Wear clothes for your specific audience. If you plan on speaking to business people, and you normally wear business clothing, then by all means, wear that. But don’t put on a suit if no one will ever see you in it again. Sunday clothes work well for most people.

If you aren’t sure about exactly what to wear, bring a couple of options. Then, prior to your shoot, not at your shoot, show me the choices and I’ll be happy to pick out what I think will work best for you. I’m trying to get to as many people in during the week, so you won’t have time to change when you come to your session. Just stick the clothes in a bag, catch me on Sunday or anytime prior to your session, show them to me and I’ll let you know what will work best for you.

Ladies, a word about makeup.

If you don’t ever wear makeup, there’s no need to put it on for your headshot.

Make sure that your makeup is well blended.

Touch it up right before your shoot.

Again, I want you to look forward to your session. I know I’m looking forward to working with you at Blue Ridge!

Sign ups for headshots will take place at the same time as sign ups for faculty appointments—Sunday night after the large group session.

See you there!

Mary Denman is a writer who also loves photography. Or a photographer who loves writing. As a freelance writer, Mary has had articles published in various forms ranging from Focus on the Family publications to magazines to devotions to op-ed pieces. She’s a member of several professional writing organizations including ACFW, My Book Therapy, and Word Weavers.

As a professional photographer, Mary has had photos published in both print literature and online. Her shots have been used by businesses and by fellow authors alike.

Her philosophy is to catch a moment that reflects God’s beauty and creativity, whether in nature, in life or in the face of her subjects. And as a writer herself, she understands what authors need in a headshot. Mary blends the two mediums of writing and photography on her blog.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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