Author photos

For years, I’ve used a nice picture of myself with my dog on the beach as my photo on my website and social media accounts. My mother, who is not known for her photography skills, took it one New Years Day. You can barely make out my face.  I liked it that way.

While querying a new novel (translation: sending a letter to agents with a short description of my new legal thriller & receiving impersonal rejection letters), I’ve read a few books on having success in publishing. There’s a lot of talk about building your platform, social media strategies, etc. One thing mentioned frequently was having a professional author photo. I can’t imagine choosing a book based on an author’s photo but to each their own I guess.

The thought of taking author photos didn’t sound too appealing but it was more appealing than spending more time on social media.

First, I asked my editor for a referral. That person never got back to me. For over a month, I left it at that. I tried, didn’t I? Something prompted me to look for another photographer. And I started where I start most searches–Google. One of the first results,, was in my town. Turns out, we live on the same block!

Jordan returned my email promptly. We spoke in a few days and we set up an appointment that week. That was the easy part.

I’ve read a few posts on a list-serv I’m on for writers (The Guppy chapter of Sisters in Crime) about how to prepare for the appointment. There’s lots of advice.

Practice your pose in the mirror. I didn’t.

Be comfortable. I found that to be unlikely.

Bring props. No thank you.

Since I was investing in new author photos, I figured I should have it done right and made an appointment to have my hair and makeup done. Jordan was surprised I was getting my makeup done. I didn’t feel the need to tell him my utter incompetence in doing my own hair and makeup.

Fortunately, I did have people I’ve known for years do my hair and makeup. MJ (at Vivo Salon, Island Park, NY) applied my makeup. I told her a brief story before she began. I’ve had my makeup done professionally 3 other times in my life. After 2 of those times, I was told that I looked like I could work on a street corner. That is not hyperbole. It is actually what was said. (Thank you Mom and Eli). MJ laughed and assured me she wouldn’t go wild.

I spent days fretting about what to wear. ‘Be comfortable’ could go many ways. You are talking to someone who wore yoga pants to work last week. (And no I am not a yoga teacher.) In the end, I chose jeans and a T-shirt, because other than New York Mets shirts and shorts, this is what I’m usually wearing.

I was relieved when I left the salon and the ladies told me I looked nice. (Thank you Norma for fixing my hair. And thank you Maggie for always doing a great job.) The relief didn’t last as I realized that was the easy part. I didn’t have to do anything. I was terribly nervous to meet a stranger and have him take pictures of me.

Jordan quickly put me at ease. Most of the passersby on the boardwalk and beach didn’t even notice & none pointed and laughed. I gave him one order– “I don’t want to be too smiley.” I was really looking for an author photo like Stephen King’s. Without telling Jordan my motivation, I sat on a bench and channeled Stephen King. Jordan showed me the pictures in the viewfinder. Turns out the serious face doesn’t look so great on me. So smiling it is…but not too smiley.

Moral of the story-

If you need a professional photographer, and live on Long Island, check out

If you need to be made beautiful for said photographs (or any other event) and live on Long Island, check out

You’re not getting any younger, take those photos now!

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