Jenn Reese Writer, Artist, Geek

Author Photos: Likes & Dislikes?


I am way overdo for new author photos with my short hair. But before I embark on that soul-crushing endeavor, let’s talk about author photos in general.

Personally, I like it when the author photo somehow reflects what I like about the book I just read. If it was an adventure, I like to see that spark of adventure in the author’s eyes. If it’s a humorous book, I love seeing a goofy author picture. For a serious work, I expect a more serious photo in line with the book’s tone.

A few author photos stick out in my mind. I love this picture of Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. — he’s looking over his shoulder with this incredibly warm but slightly sad smile on his face. It reminds me of his books. And pretty much every picture of Karen Joy Fowler (but especially the one where she’s sitting in a tree) makes me think of the words “authentic” and “honest,” which also makes me think of her prose.

So I guess the best author photos, to me, capture the same Voice as the authors’ writing.

What makes you like or dislike an author photo? Why do you look at them in the first place?

Feel free to share examples of photos you like. And if you have any advice for me, I’d love to hear it!

About the author

Jenn Reese


  • I like to see the essence of the author. I don't need her to reflect the book I just read, I want to get a sense of the real person who put down those words. Would I want to meet her, get to know her, and possibly make a new friend?

    • LOL!! That's a great way of thinking about it, Anne. I guess part of my problem is that I want to look *better* than I look in the mirror — regardless of the time of day. :)

  • I love my author photo (–I feel it encompasses so much–but because it's a profile shot, many places don't want to use it and request a more "formal" front view. Of course, since the photo in question is at least 10 years old, I'm way overdue anyway.

    I just don't want one of the romance-author photos, with my hand framing my face. Meh.

    Now, if I could only find an up-and-coming photographer who'll barter the shots in exchange for using them in his/her portfolio!

    Jenn, you look awesome in every photo I've seen of you!

    • I love that picture of you, Dayle! I'm surprised to hear that people request a different one — I didn't think they would care about the angle.

      Thanks for the compliment — I wish I shared your opinion about my pictures!

      If either one of us finds that hungry, up-and-coming photographer willing to barter, let's share him or her, okay??

  • Um…I'm an up and coming photographer. I've got a great camera and a great eye, and I'll take photos for coffee or a bottle of wine. I'll even make you dinner if we do the shoot at my house! (I won't be offended if you pass…)

    As for the rest, I don't like anything that makes the photo too dated. Some author photos you can tell, by the clothes or the hair, which decade it was taken.

By Jenn Reese
Jenn Reese Writer, Artist, Geek

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