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What Does Ashley  Barron’s Author Photo Look Like?

Finally! A Proper Author Photo

In 2018, I will be releasing BONNER, the second novel in my Priya Club series.

One day, while making a checklist of items needed to prepare for this new book release, it occurred to me that I had yet to have a proper author photo taken. OK…it is more accurate to say that I had thus far managed to avoid having one taken, as I considered it to be a low priority and a big inconvenience.

Both family and friends offered to take the picture for me, but none are professional photographers. At the time, I was re-branding my bookseries and building the new Priya Club website, and there were other book-related projects that would require me to add a photograph.

With all this mind, I decided that I would go ahead and invest in a studio-quality portrait. I’ve never had a professional portrait taken, one that involved hair, make-up, great lighting, and a photographer complete with expertise and equipment. What that means is that I didn’t know what I was in for, learning-curve-wise.

When I first began investigating options, I searched for photographers that specialize in headshots. I found several good options, read through their websites, picked the one with the most appealing photos, and sent an email asking a few questions. Here is what I sent using their contact form:

Message: Hello! I’ve been all over your site and very much enjoyed seeing the range of styles and expressions you captured in your photographs.

I have two quick questions. When will September open for booking appointments? I am interested in the Business Session, in late September, say, around the 21st or 22nd, and would need to coordinate a travel schedule around the appointment day.

Also, with regard to the makeup artist, does he or she have a page or site where I can review the styles offered? I am a writer of love stories and need the photos for my book jacket and website, which is why I like that this package includes two looks. Do I go “professional” makeup (as a writer) or “evening fun” makeup (as a writer…of love stories)? Or, since a change of clothes is included with this session, am I able to do both looks?

One last question: If I decide to add something on to the session (black and white pic, or full length pic, or one of the other add-ons) how much advanced notice do you need? Or do I let you know on-site?

Please note that I am easiest to reach by email or text.

Thank you for your help. Wishing you a lovely weekend!

Ashley Barron

Where did you hear about us: Google search

Who can we thank for this referral?: The inventor of the Internet! 🙂

So, it seems pretty straightforward. I make the appointment and pay the deposit. I go in, I have my make-up done, I have a few pics taken, then pay the balance of the fee before leaving. I wait a few days, receive the images via email or Dropbox, and that’s it. Right?

Nope.

Here is the response I received:

Hey Ashley,

Thanks for contacting us and thank you for the details in your request.

Our booking opens a month in advance.

Our make up artist does have a page and I’ll be glad to connect you with her or with the photographer before the shoot to discuss these final details. As far as looks, looks are in reference to your outfits not make a change. Black and white conversions, pulling images or things of that matter can be added on à la cart during the shoot.

I do want to make you aware that our general licensing does not include book covers. For licensing that does cover a book’s leaf or jacket we do have an additional fee. Again if you would like to discuss this over the phone I would be happy to please let me know the best number to reach you at and when is a good time.

Have a great day and I look forward to hearing from you.

Additional fee? To use my own image for my own purposes?

Let this be a lesson about the value of asking more questions, even if you – or they — think the answer is reasonably obvious. If I hadn’t added in the detail that the headshot was for a book cover, I may have found myself owing huge sums of money in order to use my own image.

So it was back to the drawing board, but with better knowledge in hand.

The photographer I ended up choosing was very patient with all my questions – and I had lots of them! She also provided a recommendation for hair and make-up. I do wear make-up, but not the “bright lights” kind. And I can style my hair myself, sort of, but I decided to go the distance and have it done by an expert. And why not? It’s fun!

Prior to scheduling the appointment for the photograph, I made sure to ask for a waiver of any additional fees for my headshot, beyond the original quoted price, now or ever. The photographer assured me, in writing, that my photoshoot fee included full rights to all pics she took of me, and that I could use them any way I wanted, as many times as I wanted.

When the contract for the photoshoot arrived in my inbox, it did not include the added language that would guarantee me full rights to my own image. I emailed the photographer immediately and she made the necessary changes to the contract before I signed it. (Note: She uses a standard industry form for photographers. This is common. Always read everything before you sign it!)

Choosing to have my hair and make-up done specifically for the photograph turned out to be the right decision. It upped the cost, but paid off.  I was surprised at how much learning was involved in what had seemed, at first, to be the simple process of having a proper author photo taken.

And how did it turn out, my official author photo? Better than I’d hoped. It’s me, just a really spiffy me. In fact, I like it so much that twenty years from now…I’ll probably still be using it. True story.

Tweet me your thoughts @dcPriya!

Ashley Barron Author of The Priya Club Series set in Washington DC.

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