Is Your Author Photo a Selfie or Professionally Done?

What photos are you using on your website? How about for media? Or, a speaking engagement? Are they oldies, but what you consider goodies? Could they be more than five years old?

Your picture says a thousand words:

  • what you do;
  • who you are;
  • what you love to play with or at;
  • what your expertise is;
  • who’s your crowd;
  • what else?

Visuals are powerful. You may use them on your book covers, your website and your promo and publicity material. Think Bio shots, Author One-Sheets, website, promo materials, social medial. All that showcase your genre and personality.

You’ve invested in your book, your editing, your cover design, your interior. Now, invest in a photo shoot of yourself. It might me a solo shot; it might contain items that support your branding; it might capture you “out of your regular element” … but what it will do is give you a variety of options to have available for media, your website and much more.

What You Need to Determine:

What types of author pics do you need?
Ideally, you need a professional headshot. With the mobile devices, we all have and the built-in cameras, getting headshots and candid shots were simple. I have been on enough cruises, that I had actually cropped some of the pictures taken and even used those. Good enough … but were they, are they, really?

Do those photos really highlight the “best” of what you want to reflect? Maybe … but most likely, not.

Stop. You are worth more than any Selfie shot will create. Bypass the selfies. Your book and Author One-Sheet should not look like a DIY project. Your readers and buyers will know. So will your book sales and speaking engagements—don’t be surprised to discover that many may not pick up your book because it looks mediocre; a meeting planner may bypass you because of the same thing. Ugh.

When I did a self-assessment, I knew it was time to step up my game. I had professional shots down over the years … but it had been a long time. It was time to make a phone call and set up a time to do a new one.

Show some action and use different locations.
Both outside and inside … it changes the look and feel. On the radio show I did with Author Photographer Ashlee Bratton, she shared,

If you have a business book, you can use a studio shot or a neutral outdoors. Nonfiction can have a backdrop that ties into your theme. Military books could use a tarmac, bomber jackets. Cookbooks put you in the kitchen environment. Fiction books open multiple possibilities. Be creative. Listen here.  

How much should you pay and how to negotiate?
Always a good question … understand that prices will vary from a few hundred to several thousand dollars depending on who you work with and what packages they have. You want to be sure to get commercial copyright use and digital files in whatever your portrait package is. And, read whatever contract you sign. Ashlee has put together a terrific all-inclusive package for authors for under $300. Take advantage of it.

Finally, I took my own advice.
OK, I did it … meaning that I settled in and did a photo shoot with photographer Ashlee of Ashography, who just happens to be an author as well—Life Before the Lottery.

In the back of my mind, I knew … yes, I knew, that I had to step up and get a professional photo shoot done. She had been after me for a few years to do one. Then, she called my bluff a few months later. “I’m doing a baby shoot next weekend in your area and I have a few hours. I’m coming by and we are going to do shoot the next Sunday!” her voice confidently said.

Gulping, I agreed to be ready. Here’s a few from my shoot:

I loved working with her. It was fast, super casual (my style) and painless. I loved the variety and felt she captured me. Changing earrings a few times and my blouse/jacket plus a re-apply of lipstick … it was a TaDah!

Do yourself, your book, your fans, and followers a favor. Get an another photo shoot scheduled … but before you do, make sure you listen to the show I did with Ashlee to give you all the tips you need to make it the BEST!

And guess what, Ashlee is bugging me again … time to do an updated shoot. Why not—when?





Ashography Event Photography

Judith Briles is a book publishing expert and coach. She empowers authors and is the Founder of, a membership organization created for the serious author who wants to be seriously successful. She’s been writing about and conducting workshops on publishing since the ’80s. Judith is the author of 35 books including Author YOU: Creating and Building Your Author and Book Platforms (Foreword IndieFab Book of the Year), Snappy Sassy Salty: Wise Words for Authors and Writers and a speaker at publishing conferences. Book #35 was published in 2016: How to Avoid 101 Book Publishing Blunders, Bloopers & Boo-Boos. Get your copy now.

Each summer, she holds Judith Briles Book Publishing Unplugged, a three-day intensive limited to a small group of authors who want to be seriously successful. In 2017, the dates are June 22-24th.  Her audio and workbook series, Creating Your Book and Author Platform is now available. Join Judith live on Thursdays at 6 p.m. EST for “AuthorU-Your Guide to Book Publishing” on the Toginet Network at

Follow @AuthorU and @MyBookShepherd on Twitter and do a “Like” at AuthorU, and join the Facebook group Book Publishing with The Book Shepherd. If you want to create a book that has no regrets, contact Judith at

header-logo1.pngAuthor U is a non-profit membership organization dedicated to the author who wants to be seriously successful. Monthly education programs delivered face-to-face and online, The Author Resource ezine, BookCamps, and the annual Author U Extravaganza are tools designed for authors pre-, during and post-publishing of their books. Join today.

 If you are looking for FREE author and book coaching … call in to Judith’s Author Monday Mornings at NOON Eastern each Monday if you are an GOLD member. The number is 218-632-9854; Access Code is only availabe to members … have your questions ready–there’s a full hour to ask and listen. Join us.

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