During my panic, I posted for tips on Facebook and spent way too much time reading headshot tips online. I even did a search on "author headshots" in images and studied them. I was a little freaked out when I discovered curly hair wasn't a thing in headshots. See, I have naturally curly hair. When I asked a friend of mine, who also happens to be a hairdresser at a salon, she said it's because curly hair can tend to look messy in professional shots.
Happily, there were plenty of tips out there, and I figured I'd compile them and pass them along in case any of you are in a position to spazz out over getting your photos taken.
In no particular order:
1. Get lots of sleep the night before. (Easy for them to say). Set it for a time where you are at your most awake/energetic. (Again, easy for them to say. That time starts at about 9 PM for me.)
2. Ladies, wear makeup. Fella's, sometimes you need to, as well. Consider going in to get your hair and makeup professionally done. (I had my hair done that morning by Christine at Total New You Salon, but did my own makeup, which was not my first choice, but there wouldn't have been time for me to get my makeup done since I was also working at the event.) Make sure the professional doing your hair and/or makeup is familiar with makeup for photo shoots, as there might be differences between those and every day wear.
3. Stay hydrated. (I can drink water!)
4. Know what colors work well with your skin tone. (I have no idea, but blue seems to work.)
5. Do not wear any strong patterns, such as stripes, polka dots, or florals. In addition, don't wear jewelry that will overpower your face. You want them looking at you, not your clothing, not your jewelry. It's a headshot, not a fashion shot.
6. Take an alternate outfit (or a couple) to change into to see what works best. I did have a different option, but stuck with the one I went in with. One of my fellow writers getting headshots kept the same outfit on, but added a scarf for some of the photos. Try some photos with a blazer/jacket on and some with it off. Mix it up.
7. Be mindful of your particular genre. Headshots for a romance author might be different from headshots for a horror author. A good photographer will take your genre into consideration.
8. Be comfortable. Be yourself. If you're comfortable, you're confident. If you're uncomfortable, it will show.
9. Don't look sexy. Surprising? A lot of tips I found said no cleavage and no looking sexy. Even for romance writers. They said it can turn off a number of readers, which is really the opposite of what you're going for in every way possible, right?
10. Go with a photographer you're comfortable with. Look at their websites/photos. Talk to people. Get recommendations. Chat with the photographer. Look at their website. I really, really, hate having my photo taken. I don't even like looking at photos of myself. But the photographer who did my headshots is someone I know, someone whose work I already knew of and respected, and someone who is excellent at chatting with folks and putting them at ease. That's the full package right there. (My photographer was Jared Hagan, who will be doing headshots at Pikes Peak Writers Conference this April, as well.)
11. Don't let the photographer over-edit. Editing some blemishes is fine, but you don't want to look like a weird plastic version of yourself, do you?
I'll leave you with a couple of my favorite shots from the photo shoot. The first two are the serious professional ones (and are the same photo), and the third one is aimed directly toward my writing horror. (Photographer: Jared Hagan. If you're in the Colorado Springs area or nearby and are looking for headshots, email firstname.lastname@example.org.)
I'll see you guys as a co-host for this month's IWSG on Wednesday!
What do you think? Which photo should I go with? Any tips I missed? What has your experience with headshots been like?
May you find your Muse.