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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm thinking it's probably about time I get some author photos done for promo purposes and whatnot. I want to try doing it myself due to budget concerns and such. Has anyone done their own photos before (ie: have a friend or relative take your picture instead of hiring an expensive photographer)? As a newbie to the game, I want to learn all the tricks of the trade, regardless of how big or small it is.

I realize there's a certain 'art' in taking a proper author photo in order to make it look professional enough. I wanted my picture to be relevant to the genre I write (which, in this case, is fantasy), so I thought maybe something contemporary-ish like outdoor photos. I wanted to steer away from the 'business-esque' or 'posh take-a-picture-behind-a-bookshelf' kind of thing. I figured these sort of things are done so much, I wanted to be different for a change.

Does anyone have any suggestions on how I can get started with something like this?
 

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You just need a simple headshot. With the right lighting and a decent digital camera (my phone could do them! I got it for the camera) anyone with a stable hand and good eye can take it. You can crop and edit on your computer.

:)
 

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Mine actually ended up being candids that were very nice totally by accident - much better than any of my posed ones!

Make sure they are taken by a really decent camera, though - I think that is the greatest challenge. A cheapie camera could produce unprofessional shots that come to pieces at the various sizes that the picture will be shown in. Make sure they are taken at the non-economy data setting (i.e. large and high quality), and re-size from there. If the camera quality is good, and you take care with the pose/lighting/framing, you should be fine, I think.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the advice, guys! :D

ilyria_moon said:
You just need a simple headshot. With the right lighting and a decent digital camera (my phone could do them! I got it for the camera) anyone with a stable hand and good eye can take it. You can crop and edit on your computer.

:)
I always thought camera phones were really bad to use? I know mine is really bad. I have a Motorola Droid and the picture quality is terrible,grainy and amateurish. Supposedly it's a 5-megapixel camera, too. But my old phone which had a 2-megapixel camera in it took way better shots with less grains in the picture. It still had amateurish results, though.

So headshots are the general standards for author photos? I've seen pictures from all angles and lengths, but I wasn't sure what was the more popular/universal shot to take that a reader would better identify with.
 

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I'm so glad you asked this, as I've also been trying to figure this one out.  I have a very decent camera, found a space with nice indirect light and put the self timer on and...found out that I need a haircut, and that I can look really fierce and unfriendly!  :-[

The best advice I have on this is pick a space where you are not in glaring sunlight, which is unflattering as it makes you squint and casts harsh shadows.  Bright indirect light - for example, filtered through white curtains, is usually quite flattering.
 

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RM Prioleau said:
Thanks for the advice, guys! :D

I always thought camera phones were really bad to use? I know mine is really bad. I have a Motorola Droid and the picture quality is terrible,grainy and amateurish. Supposedly it's a 5-megapixel camera, too. But my old phone which had a 2-megapixel camera in it took way better shots with less grains in the picture. It still had amateurish results, though.

So headshots are the general standards for author photos? I've seen pictures from all angles and lengths, but I wasn't sure what was the more popular/universal shot to take that a reader would better identify with.
I think all you need is a head shot, but you are not confined to that. That is the basic. Though, I still wouldn't get too fancy or artsy - those portraits look really badly dated very fast.

And I think your idea of outdoors is a fine idea - semi-filtered or soft outside light makes for nice photos, in my opinion. (Not bright enough to make you squint, though, so be careful!)
 

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RM Prioleau said:
Thanks for the advice, guys! :D

I always thought camera phones were really bad to use? I know mine is really bad. I have a Motorola Droid and the picture quality is terrible,grainy and amateurish. Supposedly it's a 5-megapixel camera, too. But my old phone which had a 2-megapixel camera in it took way better shots with less grains in the picture. It still had amateurish results, though.

So headshots are the general standards for author photos? I've seen pictures from all angles and lengths, but I wasn't sure what was the more popular/universal shot to take that a reader would better identify with.
I suppose it depends on the phone. Mine's 12.1 megapixel with a xenon flash, so it works really well. It basically works like a digital camera that happens to have phone capabilities hehe. I get great concert shots from the front row and the audio never distorts even when I'm in front of the bass cabs. :)

My photos were taken by a pro photographer with an SLR, but weren't for writing; we were just messing about while the models changed outfits. I don't know which is the best size, but I always imagine for a dust jacket, either headshot or to the waist is best.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
ilyria_moon said:
I suppose it depends on the phone. Mine's 12.1 megapixel with a xenon flash, so it works really well. It basically works like a digital camera that happens to have phone capabilities hehe. I get great concert shots from the front row and the audio never distorts even when I'm in front of the bass cabs. :)

My photos were taken by a pro photographer with an SLR, but weren't for writing; we were just messing about while the models changed outfits. I don't know which is the best size, but I always imagine for a dust jacket, either headshot or to the waist is best.
Thank you for this! Much appreciated! :)
 

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My friend asked her dad to take the pictures and he only charged me $25, since he was already a doctor and just starting this side business. You should try networking with friends and family and see who can.

Hoped that helped.
Tiph
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Tiphanie Thomas said:
My friend asked her dad to take the pictures and he only charged me $25, since he was already a doctor and just starting this side business. You should try networking with friends and family and see who can.

Hoped that helped.
Tiph
Thank you! I will ask around!
 

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This is a longish story - so I will try to be brief.

I had mine professionally done. I was posed on a motorcycle, which is not visible in this photo.

The story behind the pictures is that DH got in BIG trouble for allowing another female to sit for a photo on his motorcycle. Therefore he chose to pay for professional photos instead of having extensive body work - i.e. repairs to motorcycle after I took a baseball bat to it.  8)
 
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I paid $75 for mine. I went to my local professional photographer, told him I wanted something for a book/website that looked professional. Took a ton of shots of me looking like an idiot, found one good one, and then he burned it on a cd for me before I ever left for home (since I didn't need anything done in print). I'd recommend finding out what your local photographers would charge for something similar, because really, there's no reason to settle.
 

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Interesting discussion. I have a super zoom that can shoot in RAW, so I might consider that option, but in all probability self-portraits are probably not something I can do without looking wooden. I do have a friend who is a photographer, so I will probably ask him when the time comes.
 

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<--My husband took this shot in our front yard.

I made him snap photo after photo because he's a shaky photographer at best, and cuts off the top of your head at worst.  Once I found one that would serve, I cropped it myself, etc.

Free is good!
 

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I hired a struggling photographer friend of mine to do my art. I paid him a reasonable price, but we were both VERY happy with the results. I got it reasonably cheap, the pictures are AMAZING, and I got to keep all of them for future use... and he got some much-needed cash.

Win-win.
 
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