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How to take and select the perfect author picture

Ever opened a book, looked at the author picture and thought: ‘hmm he/she looks like a total f-wit?

Author pictures are important when you want to build a relationship with your readers. Why? Because they will judge you! I know this might sound as unfair and judgemental – but it is the truth.

If you look like an arrogant dickhead on your author picture, people will perceive you as an arrogant dickhead. People have always done this. We make our first judgement of someone’s character within 6 seconds when we first meet them. That’s pretty horrible -but that is how the human mind works. And it is also the reason why having a great author picture is of the utmost importance.

Warmth and Openness

First of all, you want your author picture to radiate warmth and openness. Smile, have an open expression on your face and make sure you express joy and enthusiasm. Don’t forget that joy and enthusiasm are ‘contagious’ and as long as your readers aren’t psychopaths – it will help you to build a relationship with your readership.

One way to get your audience to focus on your facial expressions is by cropping the picture nicely – face and shoulders only, and putting a black and white filter over the picture as bright colours might take away from what really counts: your smile, warmth and openness.

Great example
Great example

Watch out with framing.

Make sure your author picture is not taken from a weird angle. Also make sure it is not skewed and your face is centred in the middle.

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The last thing you want is your picture to signal unprofessionalism and amateurism.

Bad example
Bad example

Be Casual

We want to appear very casual on our pictures because we want to be approachable. This will build report with our readers. Make sure you look comfortable – one way to do this is by (for men) unbuttoning the first button of your shirt, and casually crossing your arms.

Great example
Great example

Don’t go for a white background.

You don’t want to go for a white background. It looks impersonal and fake. Rather stand against a wall – this can be white or light, with a bit of texture, this makes you stand out – but also shows you as a flesh and blood human being rather than an untouchable robot.

Bad example
Bad example

Shoot with a professional camera

I know that a lot of phones nowadays have great cameras – I myself absolutely love the camera on my P10, however: make sure that your author picture is shot with a DSLR camera. There is a massive difference in depth and colour you will not be able to achieve on a phone camera without extensive and professional photoshop skills.

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