Now, about head shots. Professional is the key word here. The primary reason most people don’t have a professional head shot is the cost factor. But when you consider how important the head shot is the cost seems to be insignificant. Don’t make the mistake of having a family member or a friend take the photos – unless they happen to be a pro, of course – as there are many factors that play into it.
First thing to consider is the background. You don’t want a wild background that draws the eye away from you, the subject of the photo. Instead, use a subtle background that is maybe slightly faded out. Wear clothing that is flattering and proper for the book that the photo will be on and the genre you are writing in. For instance, if you are writing a children’s book, you don’t want to be in a bikini on a beach somewhere but with a quiet backdrop – or none at all – that is honest for the story you are telling.
Lighting can make all the difference in the world – you don’t want a drab, dark photo that people can barely distinguish what they are seeing. You want a photo that invites, endorses and is memorable. Lighting and makeup are equally significant. If you are good – really good -- at applying makeup that is nice and presentable, then maybe you can do your own. Otherwise, consider having a professional do that as well.
If you are writing a book that will be for academia you want to look professional. You don’t have to look boring, but you do want to present a welcoming but focused look through your clothing, your backdrop and maybe even what you are holding in your hand, if anything: a book, glasses, pen.
Think about the fact that the cover is what draws a person in initially, then the back cover where you give a quick synopsis of the story and a line or two about yourself. Look at other books to see what is out there. Comparison shopping never hurts anything and is always a good idea – look at what others are doing – if you find them appealing then maybe you could do something similar.
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