Thursday, September 4, 2014

What are you saying with your headshot? (part 1)

Me ;)
I'm preparing to head off to the ACFW Conference where I will be acting as the conference photographer. In addition to that, I'll also be taking headshots of authors and aspiring authors to update their profiles or if they needs headshots for their upcoming books. It's a lot of fun (I did this last year) and I thought I'd share some tips about headshots and why they are important. This will be part of a 3 part series so make sure to "tune in" again for parts 2 and 3!

If a picture is worth a 1000 words, what are you saying with your headshot?

Why a good headshot? 

You may be thinking--I'm just starting out as an author, I won't need a good headshot until I sell my book.

You're wrong.

Sorry, that's harsh--but it's true. In this age of social media and promotion, your face is sometimes all someone will see of you. We are told not to judge a book by its cover but we all do it. I know I do it. Unfortunately, this is true for who you are portraying yourself to be through your headshot.

I'm not saying we need to look alike. If anything, I'd be saying we all need to look like US.

You may wonder what that means. Well, you are what makes you unique. Yes, that's what I meant to say. YOU are your brand. If you are an author/writer, no matter what stage (published or not) you are building up awareness of you. Your smiling (or not smiling) face is who your readers will associate with you.

I think of Ted Dekker as an example (see what I mean here). A little creepy, right? Well, his headshots and other photos of him are all in line with that. Yes, I hear you all cringe behind your computers. This is marketing. Ugh! I know, not a lot of fun, but definitely helpful when you are trying to get the word out about your book.

Expense and Savings | Where to skimp and where to splurge

The next thing I always hear when discussing headshots or photography is, "But it's expensive!" My only reply to that is: yes, it is.

"But wait, Emilie, you're a starving writer. You should relate to my plight of not wanting to pay for photos."

Ah-ha! Gotcha. I'm also a starving photographer! I know, a terrible combination, eh? Let me just say that I do commiserate with you, photography can be very expensive, but let's put this into perspective.

>>At the very least you spend possibly $50-$75 for a mini-headshot session (p.s. this is really cheap!). If you use this photo for a year, that cost you $4.17-$6.25 a month. If you use it for 2 years, that's $2.08-$3.13 a month. (That's less than you'd spend on coffee in a WEEK)

>>On the higher end, let's say you spend $175-$225. For 1 year that's $14.58-$18.75 a month (that's like paying for Netflix and Hulu+) or for 2 years, $7.29-$9.35 a month (just Netflix). Just think if you stretched it to 3 years??

I would recommend spending a little more and getting a great headshot that will last you rather than getting by with what you have and putting forward less than your best.
I used this shot for almost 2 years!
Just a word on photography in general tough. There area LOT of factors that go into making a great photographer. No, it's not the camera that takes great pictures - it's the photographer.

What that means:
  • They have spent time learning their craft
  • They have done research/reading/studying about photography
  • They have invested money into their equipment (we're talking thousands of dollars here)
  • They are committed to giving you the best quality images they can 

Headshot or No Headshot - that is the question!

The simple answer is YES!

If you have any type of media presence online or are hoping to build one, you need to make sure that your audience is seeing the "real" you. A confident, assured, smiling you. Well, unless you want to be a little moody - depending on what you write of course ;) Check back in on Friday for part 2 where I'll discuss the dos and don'ts of headshots and some suggestions on posing and what to wear.

If you're going to the ACFW Conference, take advantage of the conference photographer (hehe *wink* that's me!) and sign up for a 15 minute session by following this link:

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