The most brilliant thing about my job is getting to meet a variety of interesting people. From CEO’s and higher ups of big banks and corporations, to entrepreneurs. From creative business owners to couples and families, I certainly get to meet a huge variety of people. But as an avid reader, I really enjoy meeting writers and undertaking author headshots.
As a portrait photographer I am often asked to create author portraits for book jackets and PR campaigns for book releases. And I adore this work because I love meeting creative people. I’m a creative person, but my medium is images taken with a camera (or clay or pencils, depending on what I am undertaking that day). But not words – I am not a writer and find it so much easier to express myself visually rather than in words.
So I am in awe of people who write professionally. And well! As I often capture author headshots of new writers whose books are just being published, I get a little sneak peek into the publishing world. Being able to ask about the author’s inspiration, story behind the book, the writer’s influences, etc is fascinating. And I always read the finished product which is really interesting when you have met the person behind the book.
Over the years I have photographed prolific, veteran authors such as Anne Sebba. And last year, Bonnie Garmus, the author of one of this year’s biggest books, Lessons in Chemistry. I’ve also photographed Fran Littlewood whose book was published in January 2023. As well as Donna Freed, Ira Mathur, Ariana Neumann, David Wheeler , Becky Hunter and Ben Housden.
How I get a good author portrait
Well generally, getting a subject to relax is the best way to get a super result for their portrait. Doing this is a bit of an art, really. But I find it is something I am naturally able to do. Really, it’s just because I am very interested in people. And in telling their stories through photography. So to do this, I ask them about themselves and particularly their books. I find that this usually works as well, authors are natural storytellers!
Once the subject is relaxed, we have a lot of fun. I’m not afraid to act a bit silly if that’s what gets the best results. I wiggle, giggle and do whatever it takes really to get that great shot. Author’s headshots are normally pretty simple images, but I try to really convey the personality of the writer in each one.
It is always a pleasure to be a (very small!) part of the process of launching a book. If you are an author in need of a great portrait for your book jacket, PR purposes or both, please don’t hesitate to get in touch! You can email me on email@example.com, ring me on 07958511819 or click to book a Zoom or telephone conversation.
And if you feel a bit nervous about having headshots, read here for how to prepare.
“Photography through the lens of a storyteller”
LONDON HEADSHOT AND CORPORATE PHOTOGRAPHER