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The Candid Guide to Author Portraits

Updated: Sep 20, 2019

Discovering a book for the first time means picking it up to get a better look at the cover; reading the book description printed on the back or inside flap; flipping to the back to read the author’s biography and take a peek at their photo. Believe it or not, author portraits are an important part of a book and can make or break a book purchase. We know how easy it is to be camera shy, so we’ve got some tips that will help you through this stage in the publishing process.

What is an Author Portrait?

An author portrait is simply a photograph of the author that is included with a short biography at the back of their book. It invites the reader to gain more information about who wrote the book and bring them to life, instead of simply being the name on the front cover.

Point and Shoot

While there is a standard to the art of author portraits, it will take some thought to make it your own. To get you started, we’ve compiled a few tips to help you get the perfect author portrait:

1. Find your focus

Figuring out what you want your portrait to convey to the reader is very important. Do you want to look clean and polished, or like you jumped out of bed and rushed to the photoshoot? Just as books are categorized by genre, the same goes for author portraits. If your book is about business management, your portrait should express how you personally achieve this through your clothing choices, personal grooming, and posture. Looking confident in your portrait will tell the reader that you are a strong leader and can be trusted to provide helpful business management advice.

Determining your focus in your author portrait will make the photographer’s job a lot easier. They won’t have to guess at how you want to be captured. If you have a few examples of author portraits that inspire you, feel free to show your photographer to help them out.

2. Find your photographer

There are so many photographers advertising their work online today, it can definitely be overwhelming to narrow it down to one. Do a little research for photographers in your local area to see what you can find. If there are a few that stand out to you, get in touch with them about their rates and ask about their experience with author portraits. You can even ask them to send you examples of their previous work to give you a better idea of their personal style.

3. Get creative

If you are looking to try something a little out of the ordinary, you could commission an illustrated portrait. This is a great option for authors of children’s books and graphic novels because they are both examples of illustrated works. If you are already working with an illustrator you could ask them for an author portrait to continue with the theme of the book. If you don’t have an illustrator, ArtCorgi is an easy way to connect with artists online.

Whether you’ve written a book about plants or cars or aliens, it’s important to include an author portrait that reflects who you are as an author. Readers want to know who you are and why you decided to write the book they happened to pick up. Providing a photograph allows you as an author to come to life! So what are you waiting for? It’s time for your photoshoot!

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