This is easily one of the most neglected aspects of an author platform I’ve seen consistently over the years. Not having a professional author photo can really hurt any credibility or authority your trying to build. While building your platform and brand, it’s paramount you present yourself as a credible and professional as possible. Part of establishing and building your author brand is having a professional author photo.
People connect with people and the increase in engagement is based largely on readers and visitors knowing, liking and trusting you.
This is where a professional photo plays a pivotal role. Being able to see the person behind the books and the blog posts will elevate your visitors first impression of you. This means you throw out the photo of you with your cat in the kitchen. This also means no photoshopped photos either.
If you’re serious about platform building, want to earn income and actually have people take you seriously, then here’s five ways to get a better professional photo for your platform.
1. Get a professional
The obvious and best way to get professional photos. Yes, this means investing a couple hundred dollars or more. Professional photographers have a trained eye, understand lighting and composition. Ask family and friends if they know of a professional photographer that might do ‘mates rates’, put a post on Facebook for Authors, or do a local Google search for photographers in your area.
Readers and the media, seldom have time for amateurs. Get a professional, they are worth their weight in gold.
2. Look respectable and professional
This could be considered common sense, but the idea is for you to look like someone people actually want to deal with. This doesn’t mean wearing a suit and it doesn’t mean wearing your favourite track pants. Smart casual is best.
There’s actually brand stylists that actually work with professionals to create a certain look and visual branding cue with clothes. Although this might be a little over the top for the first time author, you might have a nice coloured shirt in the closet that is inline with your branding identity.
3. Have photo rights and high resolution files
The last thing you want, is having to pay a small license fee to your professional photographer, every time you use a photo. Be clear upfront that the couple of photos you select are yours to use and reuse anyway you see fit. Also, make sure you get the high resolution print files, not just small website resolution photos. Most photographers should be happy to do this, but double check.
4. Genuine look, not stiff
Those of us who feel somewhat uncomfortable in front of the camera, struggle to pull this off. This is why a good photographer can help because they direct and coach you at the same time, which actually relaxes you. The goal is to look genuine, friendly and approachable.
5. Pick one or two main photos
As your author photos will appear across your platform, you want to adhere to consistent branding. I touched on this in a previous post. Having one or two main photos you use will build familiarity and a tight brand presence across your platform.
Here’s some photo examples of Book Cover Cafe authors.
Look sharp, look the part and you’ll stand out and be taken more seriously.
Looking the part