Self Publishing

The Horror Of Taking Headshots

Probably the most demoralizing thing I’ve had to do in the process of getting ready to self publish hasn’t been staring at a blank page, hoping the words will come, it hasn’t been editing out thousands of words at a time because those words were hot trash, and it hasn’t been sending off that story to complete strangers and praying it doesn’t get totally torn to shreds. No, none of that. The absolute worst thing I have endured in this process is taking a photo of myself.

Authors need headshots. Well, actually, no, we probably don’t. All we really need are words and platforms, but at least one good photo has the potential to help. It won’t sell your book, but humans are curious creatures and like to put a face to the words, from what I understand. And also Amazon wants one. Having a face out there is probably a good idea anyway because I’m going to have a lot more work to do since I’ve got no publishing house marketing for me, and I need to be personable. So, here’s my teeth, Dear Reader, don’t they make you want to buy my book?

I have pictures of myself that are just fine, pictures I’ve used for profiles on Instagram and Twitter and even my Gravatar, pictures I even kinda, sorta like! But I needed something inviting, friendly, clear with good lighting, and dare I say even professional-ish. Sure, I’m a fun and quirky lady who likes to wear pigtails and stick her tongue out, but I’m also taking this writing this seriously. So, fuck it, I guess, I’ll straighten my hair and smile. But, gods, at what cost?

Nothing will make you hate your face more than having to look at it over and over. Even if you thought you hated it before, you will reach a whole new level of hate. It’s no wonder that Facetune and Photoshop are rampant in selfie culture. I don’t care if people post a million pictures of themselves or really even if they edit them, but we’d all probably love ourselves a lot more if we just didn’t have the opportunity to see ourselves so much! Because let me tell you, looking at photo after photo, scrutinizing my stupid lips and my stupid eyes, and my stupid hair made me want to barf BIG TIME.

Part of my problem is that I went cheap on this, which is to say I did it myself for zero dollars. At first I enlisted Husband to help, but realized I was going to need about 10k shots before I was happy, and released him from the torture that was ahead: why should be both endure that? So it was just me, my subpar phone camera, and crippling self-consciousness.

It eventually worked out, I got something that looks okay and feels like me, but the road to get there was paved in the grotesque. And so, Dear Reader, I figured I would share with you some of the discarded shots (that I didn’t immediately delete) because you’ve read this far, and you’ve earned a laugh.

Look how quirky and fun I am, and that faux scene hair, yas, bitch.
Maybe if i don’t smile and hide behind my hair I’ll exude a sexy silence that…nope, just look gassy and dead-eyed.
This is my 80’s hair. Also I thought opening my eyes that wide was a good idea. Like yes an actual good idea.
I took a break, and Di immediately showed me up.
Now this one, I know, I almost used it, but I thought it was TOO good and no one would take me seriously enough if I looked this sexy.

So here’s what I actually went with:

I got to show off my nails (my literal best feature) and still make a kinda dumb face because that’s accurate to whole I am. I don’t know if it’s the best shot, but honestly I cannot be arsed to look at myself anymore. I am so done with my fucking nose and my fucking eyebrows and that fucking grey hair growing right out of my fucking part. I put eyeshadow and lipgloss on for this! Bitch, WHERE?

Also, I achieved this by setting up my camera on the windowsill and staring outside like a crazy person to get some natural light on my face. I also used portrait mode on my camera phone (Android) which blurred the background for me. It took like a half hour, tops, but it felt like a century. Don’t look at it too long, you’ll see the desperation in my eyes that my smile doesn’t exactly reach. Hopefully future Dear Readers will just view that as “Please, buy my book.”

8 thoughts on “The Horror Of Taking Headshots”

  1. The only thing more ridiculous than writers needing headshots… is voice actors needing headshots! Oh, yes indeed. I’ve had bookers tell me that I should be using every social media thingie on the Internet, and posting daily selfies from the studio, in order to make it “easier” for them to sell my voice. What rubbish. Anyway, I think your photos are fun and authentic, and if your readers really want to know you, then you’re the only person who can give them exactly what they want.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Actually, I think this is the route we should start going in. Author headshots should be more honest: messy buns, coffee stains, knit brows, and the look of someone who’s been clearly talking to themself for too long!

      Liked by 1 person

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