The picture at the beginning of the website is me sitting down for a cup of tea after spending the day teaching kids about sheep. I have one of me trying to catch the sheep and several of me with a borrowed chicken.
These photos may be picturesque but they aren’t great for picking me out of a crowd. I needed something that could go in a conference book, something that showed I have hair, and something that I could put on a story that wasn’t historical.
So after a couple of years of fooling around I finally asked a friend of mine to take one of me, one of me and my daughter together, just in case we ever did anything together, and one of her.
Yes, she is a published writer, too. No, we will never write anything together. (You can find her at elizabethingleerichards.blogspot.com).
I spent months looking at professional photos of friends. I ruled out the studio
portraits in favor of something more informal. I nailed down the photographer
while the trees were still bare and told him we had to wait for a green background.
Thursday was the day. I tried on half my closet. Bright red silk? Boston Red Sox tee shirt? Purple and gold African print? What should I do with my hair? Makeup or none? I never wear makeup and haven’t since graduate school.
In the end I chose a muted rose knit shirt, no makeup and there wasn’t much I could do about my hair.
Did I tell you that the photographer teaches forensic photography? He kept saying things like “nice skin tone.” But hey, how many mystery writers are immortalized by a person whose job is taking photos of dead people?
I had expected, well, I don’t know what I expected. I could list dozens of things
I didn’t want but I had no idea what I did want.
Once we got started it became clear he knew exactly what he was doing. I got to pick the background and that was about it. A bunch in the grove with out of focus trees behind me, and some up against the rock wall of the Madison Factory.
Smile or not? “Yes, smile as though you like what you do.”
Head shot, 3/4 shot or whole body? He came in close and got my face. There is one shot where I am sitting at the table looking relaxed and happy that shows I am wearing something below my waist.
My daughter joined us, right from work. She works in a warehouse that doesn’t have climate control. This is August. Her hair was frizzy, and she had a coffee stain on her shirt. She looked fine to me.
Couple of shots of the two of us together, then head shots of her.
My very favorite of the whole bunch is the two of us laughing, both with eyes closed and mouths open. We look as thought we like each other and we love what we are doing.
I went home and started a new story to go with my new portraits.
I'd love to know from writers what you looked for in your Author Photo, and from readers, what you think of author Photos.