Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Truth Behind Your Profile Pic

I know most of you through the smiling faces of your profile pictures.  Some of them look professionally done.  Others look they were taken in a natural setting when you just happened to be smiling.  And others might be a cartoon or movie character or some significant piece of art or a label that you feel represents who you are here in the blogosphere.

I was thinking the other day about what kind of picture I’d want on the back of a book I wrote.  Most authors go out and get professional photo shoots just for the occasion.  Would I want a woodsy background?  Or would I go with some kind of solid color?  Or what about a sandy beach!...ooh...with sparkling turquoise water and white sands...and dolphins!?   

To be truthful, I haven’t had professional photos taken since my senior portraits about eleven years ago.  My blogging profile pic was taken when I was feeling particularly Jenny McCarthy-ish at a family get-together. 


Oh and that semi-professional looking one I use on my facebook account? 
Yeah, I had to cut all indecent parts out of the photo. 
If you zoom out you'll see I’m holding a beer in one hand and showing a little more boobage than a professional pic usually warrants (um, depending on the profession.)  Don’t believe me?  Behold: 

What’s the story behind your profile pic and what kind of background would you get for your author’s portrait?

49 comments:

Tim Brannan said...

I love these sort of meta-blogging posts. Ok I'll chime in.

On my blog I am using a picture of me as if I were a character in the "Justice League" animated TV show from a few years back. I like Bruce Timm's style of art and thought a cartoon version of me fits my blog perfectly; I look cool but obviously not taking this all too seriously.

Even though I am also a freelancer and people come to my blog for samples of my work I still think Cartoon-me is fine.

On Facebook I have used the same one, but currently it is a picture of my wife and I out in her garden.

I like your "thumbs up" profile pic. It stands out.

Miranda Hardy said...

I Photoshoped the background out of my current profile pic. I really detest having my picture taken, and rather have a gorilla on the back of my cover, but I'll probably concede to the best advice.

Rebecca Clare Smith said...

Just so you know, I love your blog profile picture. It makes me smile everytime I see it because it's just as cheery and crazy as your blog posts.

My blog picture was taken by me in my bedroom with the window behind me. I was also wearing a crown in the picture simply because I was having fun and didn't intend for it to become the picture I'd eventually use. You can't see the crown on my twitter account, but, after all, my blog is where I reign supreme.

The reason I use it, however, is that it's bright, cheery and recognisable (and also very red) so people scanning for my input on anything can pick me out easily.

Sarah said...

My 5yo son drew mine. I avoided all social media until I got an agent, and my avatar reflects some of my ambivalence about being fully revealed, I think. And ... I really haven't thought about author photos, and don't plan on doing so until it becomes absolutely necessary!

Jen Daiker said...

Boobage is such a great word.

I Sarah's!!! How super special this that!!!!

Mine is showing off my shoes and of course I'm pretending to think - stupidly of course - I wouldn't mind that being on my book cover. It would show my awesomeness. I had shoes made for a book I was working on, I love them so that's the reason behind my picture!

shelly said...

I had just finished my hair and make-up so I decided to snap a shot. The toilet can be seen from behind.

Yup. It's all about the toilet.

Gina said...

Mine was taken at work. I work for a catalog company that sells educational materials, and after 7 years of employment they finally decided I looked old enough to pass for a teacher in a photo shoot (is that a good thing?).

There's actually two four year olds in that picture with me. The guy who did the shoot liked that photo, so he cropped it and sent it to me. I actually think I look like Mr. Burns from the Simpsons in it, but what the heck. I can't change my face!

April said...

I have to stay semi-ungoogle-able right now...if I ever publish, I'll change that. But my husband's ex...let's just say it's better if things are kept quiet. Hence, no real photo of me yet. But I'm gonna friend you on FB! And I think your pictures are adorable. Well...you're just adorable. :)

Paul Anthony Shortt said...

Mine is just a photo my wife took of me on our honeymoon to New York. It's really just there until I can get a better one. A friend is a photographer and agreed to take some shots to choose from.

Matthew MacNish said...

I remember way back when you were just a mysterious dark haired girl, and only the side of her head. In my innocence I thought that was actually you.

I wonder if anyone thinks I'm actually Yoda, and whether they'll let me use that picture in my novel.

Jessica Bell said...

Gah, I think you should use the one with the beer! ;o) The story behind mine? I needed an author pic for my book so took some of myself when my Sig Oth wasn't home so I could pretend I wasn't self-conscious about posing :o)

April said...

Ugh, okay, Blogger won't let me comment on my own blog. Blogger is frustrating!!!!!! Anyway....I haven't heard of that author. What kinds of stuff does she write?

Old Kitty said...

In my dream writerly world - I'd go for the full professional photo shoot!! I want make-up people, stylists, designer wear people and the works, lights, camera, action! LOL!! Oh yes!!!! LOL!!!!

I'm tittering at your "boobage" word! Take care
x

B.E. Sanderson said...

I had my daughter take both of my profile pictures. My FB one was taken just before the company Christmas party - when I was already dressed up and looking good. The blog pic was a day I felt writerly and had the kid take a few shots for a new bio pic. I turned them both grayscale for the artsy-fartsy effect - you know, cuz I'm like deep and junk.

Both of your pics looks awesome.

Theresa Milstein said...

I'm just grateful I don't look like a wicked witch in my profile picture. I took my camera, propped it on a box, and set it for automatic. Then I posed. When one wasn't too terrible, I used it. I've tried to have my family take pictures of me, but either they see me as a monster or I get too stressed when others are taking pictures of me.

That said, my sister is a makeup artist. I really should have her glam me up and take some photos.

Nicole L Rivera said...

Lol, love your profile pics :) I'm not a fan of the plain color backgrounds. Got to love those cropping tools :) My new profile pic is cropped from one of my engagement photos that a photographer friend of mine took on the beach not far from where I live.

Liz Fichera said...

My husband took my photo but I am really dreading having to get a professionally done author photo for two reasons (1) I hate getting my pic taken and (2) They always look so "glamour" shot-like. Cue the soft backgrounds, the weird pose. Yuck. Not looking forward to it at all.

Meika said...

I like your profile pic! It's fun! Mine is just the result of me playing around with my camera phone one day. Nothing special haha

L.G.Smith said...

Ha! What a great question. I have an unhealthy curiosity about other people's pictures and what they were doing when the pic. was taken.

Mine was taken last year. It's at the Maroon Bells near Aspen, CO. One of the most gorgeous places on earth.

Since then I've cut all my hair off pixie style. I don't look anything like that anymore. :)

Emily White said...

That is so funny about your fb picture! I never would have guessed it was anything besides a professional pic!

The story behind my profile picture is this: My husband and I decided to stop at a wildlife preserve on the way home from his mother's house and thought it would be nice to take pictures while we were there. It was so bright outside I had to keep my eyes closed right up until he took the shot. We even counted to three. :) Oh, and I'm sitting on a rock. :)

cherie said...

Katie, you're so cute and funny! Boobage. Ha!

My prof pic on my blog was taken last December at a Christmas party. I'm actually holding my then 2-year-old boy but I had to crop him off :( Not because I don't love him or anything, but my parents would kill me if they see my kids' pics online in a public setting ( I abide by the same policy anyway. Too many creepies out there).

My Twitter avatar used to be the same picture but I changed it to some anime girl avatar who kinda looks like my MC.

So I don't have amazing stories (like you do) behind my pics, but they work for now so it's all good. :)

Angie Paxton said...

My profile pic was actually taken by my sister. She's a great photographer and I get her services at a serious discount, otherwise my profile pic would be some goofy shot with me smiling too big so all my neck fat is bunched up as that seems to be the kind of picture I specialize in. Definitely going with my sister's services again if I ever need an author photo. Must avoid neck fat at all costs in my author photos.

Charcoal Renderings said...

Generally the pictures I use for the blog and social networking things are from my canon of professional shoots. As an actor I've tried to make sure my "brand" that is out there in the interwebs is consistent and flattering, so everything I put up is something that I feel passes that test. My best friend takes all my pictures--not only have we known each other since the third grade, so she knows me well enough to capture natural shots that showcase my personality, but she's also a fancy big-time wedding photographer, so all of her work is geared towards making people look their best while being themselves. Which I love.

That said, when the time comes to have my face plastered on the backs of my novels, she will be responsible for that photograph. And it will probably be fun and glitzy and classy and elegant. With just a hint of quirk.

And I do enjoy seeing your grinning-thumbs-up in my blog feed! Always makes me laugh. :-)

Cynthia Lee said...

I think my Dad took my profile pic. I really can't remember though. I've honestly never thought about an author photo or background.

Every time I see your profile pic I think "I wish I had her hair." Fah real.

Ryan Z Nock said...

For some reason my pics tends not to show up when I post comments in Blogger. It was taken while I was on a ferry in New Orleans, feeling completely relaxed and confident, staring out at the Mississippi.

I may have had the song "I'm on a Boat" in my head too.

Caitlin said...

Haha I love the stories behind your pictures. Although I'm fairly certain that a beer is totally acceptable in professional author pictures.

Mine has a boring story. My sister came to visit us and wanted professional pictures of her boys and my daughter together (she paid, I was so not game). The photographer snapped a picture of me giving my daughter a kiss, and there you go, profile pic :)

Fa L'Americana said...

I actually took my picture of the Colosseum when I was on a winter-break term in Rome with some of my professors. I was very proud of how it turned out, and I think it goes well with my blog theme :-P

As for my book photo... casual setting probably. I always envision myself sitting on my living room couch or something. But definitely professional makeup. That way it seems like I always look that good while I hang out at home.

Tamara Narayan said...

My blog pic is from the day my husband popped the big question--awww. I think you can see part of his ear on the left. We were at Longwood Gardens in PA. I chose this one because I like the expression on my face, smiling but not in a goofy way.

Even though it's eight years old now, I still look the same, uh, well, if you stand far enough away and it's evening. Hmmm, maybe you should take off your glasses/contacts too. Oh, frigit, I'm old.

Nicole Zoltack said...

Mine is a wedding picture. Since I had a Renaissance themed wedding and some of my stories are set in a medieval-type world, it seemed fitting.

Bethany Elizabeth said...

My profile picture was shot from my computer, because I didn't have a camera at the time. I'm about to go out with friends, and I was feeling really happy. That's about it - although I did accidentally take one picture during that 'shoot' that was unintentionally sexy. I was trying to get the computer to work and staring meaningfully up at the camera wondering why it wasn't working and then suddenly it did...

erica and christy said...

The last time I had professional pictures taken was 19 years ago. Can I use those on my book?? (just kidding)

Our profile pic is pretty straightforward. Plus we blogged for several months before we met in person. We're like 8 inches apart in height and all pics are very awkward, therefore we remain wine glasses!
erica

Hart Johnson said...

I think the book shot depends a little on what you write and with your YA, your fun shots are great. My blog pic is from my last class reunion--I am theoretically giving a speech, but someone was making me laugh... my dirty little secret is it is now 7 years old. I change the FB one periodically. Rotates between pics, book covers, and projects i'm working on.

Johanna Garth said...

My blogger photo is one I snapped of myself when I realized I needed one without my kids and those just didn't exist.

My FB photos rotate whenever I'm in the mood. I hate to have to feel like I'm being professional EVERYWHERE, even tho I probably should. The current one was taken by my husband at a cocktail party and even though I look kind of drunk I like it because we all had such a great time.

Laura Marcella said...

Hmmm, I think I want my author pic taken at the zoo with zebras in the background!

My favorite author photos are the natural looking ones, with books in the background or posing with a pet. Those are nice!

The Desert Rocks said...

No matter what's going on, I'm typically the friend that is smiling- so my back flap would show me smiling of course and maybe wearing something blue to set off my eyes, but I look great in red and yet green is my favorite color and white shirts look so sweet and refreshing, while tan always seems so professional and black might look dynamic or even sexy....

Donna Hole said...

LOL; I took mine with my netbook's web cam. It was a lot of work. I put on a decent shirt - but refused to put on a bra :)

I love your profile pic here; it zaney.

......dhole

Elle Strauss said...

Mine is from my birthday a couple of years ago, the only day I can make my family do whatever I want, which includes family pictures. Next time I'll have to be more specific and tell my sons they have to wash clothes before hand and can wear matching wrinkled greying t-shirts they found at the back of their closets.

Kelly said...

Mine are casual pics that I cropped. Though I will have my dad take an authorly one someday! He's a photog!

Raquel Byrnes said...

It all happened kind of fast, really. The publisher sent over the contracts for my book and a sheet of stuff they wanted from me ASAP. One of which, was a professional head shot (not the assassination kind, but...you know)

A friend of mine is a photographer and she offered to do it for me like five minutes after I told her. So I raided my closet and ran over to her house.

So grateful. Didn't get to choose backgrounds because she said I'd choose something weird -- which is probably true. So she went with edgy romance writer. She's a keeper!
Edge of Your Seat Romance

Slamdunk said...

Being anonymous, my image is not of me, but of our oldest son when he was a curtain climber. He and the dog would wait by the windown for me to get home from work--in the photo, the little boy decided he has had enough waiting.

Missed Periods said...

I had to take a picture to accompany an article I wrote for a college newsletter, so the librarian and I snuck into a classroom and did a photo shoot of me faux teaching grammar.(I'm an English teacher.) I used one of the photos from our America's Next Top Grammar Nerd shoot.

Your pics are cute.

Susanne Drazic said...

It was fun reading all the different comments on why people chose the pictures they chose. I don't have one, yet. I don't like how I look in pictures, so I avoid getting them taken.

Tom M Franklin said...

i'm an aging hippy white guy. what's interesting about that? besides, i've never liked the way i look in photographs, but i do like how my formerly psychedelic camera would make me look.

my profile pic was a self-portrait taken in a diner after a long three-day weekend arts & crafts show in virginia. i like to think it makes me look hallucingenically pensive.


-- Tom

Heidi said...

Oh dear lord I love this post!

I laugh at mine all the time. I was having a photo shoot for fun at my house, actually it was for a Flickr challange.... at any rate the pic I have right now was a *complete* accident. In between shots I was goofing around and BAM, that thing was captured and I loved it.

Since I lack any sex appeal at all, I find it deeply amusing. ;)

Talli Roland said...

Love the story behind the photos! I hate having photos done and I find the less I think about it,the better they turn out. Ergh.

Elliot Grace said...

...personally, I think those professional photos on the back covers, the one's where the writer is "posed" in some form of stunned realization, as if just fallen victim to a jack in the box on Christmas morning, are just silly. Readers want to see the person behind the story, the real person.

My photo on the back of "South of Charm" was taken by my wife on our wedding anniversary following dinner, which explains the smile :)

Great post,

EL

Geoff Maritz said...

Having been in the film industry for more than 25 years, I know just what a professional photographer can do for you. My picture though was taken by a friend at a pub here on the farm. Yep I was also drinking a beer, no boobage though. He, He.
Good post with oodles of comments, funny too. God bless, Geoff.

Royce A Ratterman said...

I compiled photos of myself from various periods of my life, including the drama years, and though it was fun.

Jason Christie said...

Switch to the uncropped one. ; )

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