Author Headshots

Jaidakgwo: worth doing

In ancient times, people considered it a great event to cross a river.  Imagine a person at the bank of a rapid river, with very simple tools at his disposal.  He would cross over only if he believed it worthwhile.

I decided to get my author headshots done last week, because I thought it was jaidakgwo.  These  photographs are used by an author on his or her website, blog, or published novel (pretty please).  My decision to go in front of the camera was because of a convergence of two factors: 1) I realized that in my current headshot, I’m not actually looking at the viewer, plus it was taken at a wedding, and 2) I admired my friend Julie Daniels‘ portfolio and wanted to utilize her skills.

While preparing for the shoot, here are some tips that I discovered online, in no particular order:
-Wear a simple shirt (something one-colored and not too ornate)
-Opt for long sleeves (bare arms can be distracting)
-Try to not wear a shirt the same color as your hair
-Put your hair down and don’t cut it within 1-2 weeks of the session

I believe I broke most of these rules.  I brought several outfits with me (including one black shirt that I never ended up using).  Half were long-sleeved, but I liked the short-sleeved look better.  I wore my hair down, but I did get it cut quite recently (the long hair made me hot and dragged my head down).

One tip that I received while getting photographed was: turn slightly, because a pivot of the legs looks nice, but a straight frontal view is like a mug shot.  (My favorite author headshot while searching Google Images has to be of Gillian Flynn.  I like the second one from the top.)

An issue I encountered during my author headshots was my youthfulness.  Julie had to work to capture the author look for me (a.k.a. someone old enough to have written a novel).  And yes, I do get carded sometimes.  So here’s an untouched shot of me in my cheongsam (or qipao, for you Mandarin-speakers).  (Note: it is both ornate and short-sleeved, but I do like the Asian look.)

Please chime in on my serious author look.  Do I pull it off?  (Of course, there are more snapshots that my photographer is still looking through, so this is just one preview.  I’ll have to decide for certain in the ensuing weeks.)

I’d love it if you shared some of your own photography experiences as well.  Thanks for visiting!     

Once in a Blue Moon in Spain
Our Fears


  1. Well Jennifer, breaking the rules is often a good thing, except there’s one you didn’t mention: a SMILE.
    You have a very nice smile and i think that an author with an ‘approachable’ look fares better on a dust jacket.
    Double love your cheongsam.

  2. Like the dress, but agree with comment to smile :)

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