Friday, October 13, 2006

More Photo Madness

Let's look at some great photos today:

This is author Mary DeMuth

What's good: Mary gives off a warm relaxed appearance. From the picture we think she is friendly, and inviting (and since I sat next to her at a Writer's View dinner, I happen to know this is the case!) She's outside, which adds to the relaxed appearance. She's smiling, almost laughing, but it's still got a gentle quality.

Here is Jennifer B. Jones - a new novelist - her first book is about to debut:

What I like about this is that she chose clothes that make her look sophisticated (it says "trust me - read my novel!") but young and fresh as well (love the pink leopard print jacket). It's just funky enough to be appealing to her audience, but subdued enough to be completely professional.

Now, here is Meredith Efken, of fiction editing fame...

This is kind of got a young, fun, feel as well. The props work for this photo because she is advertising her editing services. She gives off a "go-getter" feel - exactly what you would be looking for when you hire someone to tear apart...uhhh, I mean edit your manuscript. She also has some full-length shots here and there in the website. These work well because her photos have a current feel.

Now. Crystal asked about finding a photographer.

Many photographers have websites so that is a good first spot to check. You will want to chose by portfolio - not by price. Does the photographer you are looking at do the kind of shots you'd like to get. Just like with a web designer, you will want to point out other photos that have the quality and feel of what you'd like to have. Print out the photos you find on the Internet to take with you.

Your steps:

- Start with the websites and see what you find there.
- Visit studios in your area.
- Don't neglect photographers without a studio - some photographers shoot entirely on location, some stay in the studio. Studio shots will always have a more formal feel - even if they are more relaxed (like Jennifer's). That's okay - you want to look professional - you just don't want to look stiff. People will think that's what your writing is like too.
- Look at the portfolios. If you find things you like, point them out. If you get some ideas, ask what is possible.

One place to get recommendations is at a Camera store in your area. I'm not talking Ritz Camera here, but a place that caters to professionals - a place that has cameras in excess of $1000. You'd be surprised at the dirt those employees will be able to give you!

The better idea you have of what you want, the closer your photographer will be able to get.

Don't dimiss temperament in choosing a photographer. You must have someone you will be able to relax with. If they don't make you feel comfortable in a consultation, don't even try to go in the studio with them.

I'm a fan of the location shot myself. It's easier to add that "relaxed and trustworthy" feel to a photo. But you can acheive a more relaxed feel in the studio through posing. Of all the chain stores that do photos, The Picture People tend to be my favorite. In general, because they use full-length and 3/4 shots, they can pose you in interesting ways. They also don't have sitting fees (unlike a professional) so you could try some stuff out and see what you like. The downside is trying to get the rights to them. I've never tried, so I'm not sure what they would allow. But it might be worth it just to get a photo session under your belt that is focused completely on you. It might help you shake out the jitters before you fork over the big bucks:-)

Any other questions? Thoughts? And tell us what great photos you've seen out there in cyberspace...