I got the wonderful opportunity to photograph Kate Brauning’s Author head shots. She has written a truly fantastic book, How We Fall. I was pretty darn excited to see the photography credit in the back page of her book. Like thrilled really. Amazing.
Now I’ve been honored again with the opportunity to interview her! So I asked her a couple of questions sharing them with you along with a few of my favorite shots 🙂 Enjoy!
What made you decide to choose a professional photographer for your photos?
I thought long and hard about what I wanted for my photos. They’re a significant piece of marketing, so I decided my headshots and my website were two areas where I wanted professional work done. Author photos are one of the first things readers see, besides the book itself, so it’s a great opportunity to show who you are, frame expectations, and start building your brand. I could have had a friend do them for free, and knew some friends who were good with a camera, but I wanted a professional specifically because someone who does photography for a career knows a whole lot more about what goes into that polished, professional look than I do.
What did you enjoy about the headshot process?
Cameras make me nervous (maybe it’s an introvert thing), but it was actually a lot of fun. I really enjoyed figuring out the look I wanted for my photos. I did a lot of research, looked at the photos of authors I admire, and authors who write in my genre, and showed the ones I liked to my photographer. My photos needed to look good with the book, so since the cover is a darker one, and my website follows the same color scheme, I decided to wear darker colors and asked for backgrounds that would work with that. I figured out a few styles and poses I wanted, and left the rest to the pro. The day we did the photos was fun, actually. Jenni knew what she was doing, and gave me enough feedback that I really just had to follow directions and let her work.
What made you choose the portraits you did to represent you as an author?
I wanted my photos to have a consistent style, but I also wanted to have some variety, so I could choose a more serious one for my book jacket, a few more relaxed ones for social media, some that showed a bit more personality, and some outdoor shots that would match both the content on my website and the rural suspense feel of the book. I also didn’t want them to all be headshots. I ended up with a nice mix that will work for social media, interviews, the book jacket, and my website, but still have consistent colors and style.
Not everyone can afford professional work, of course, but this was one area I felt was worth it to invest in, since it’s such a significant piece of marketing and branding. I recommend shopping around, seeing what’s out there, and then deciding where author photos fit on your priority list. Regardless of whether you go with a friend or a professional, my recommendation is to be intentional with the style of the photos, no matter how formal or casual you choose, to make sure your author photos are high quality. They’re your face (literally) in a digital world, and one of the first impressions people get of who you are, besides your books.
About the book:
Ever since Jackie moved to her uncle’s sleepy farming town, she’s been flirting way too much and with her own cousin, Marcus. Her friendship with him has turned into something she can’t control, and he’s the reason Jackie lost track of her best friend, Ellie, who left for…no one knows where. Now Ellie has been missing for months, and the police, fearing the worst, are searching for her body.
Swamped with guilt and the knowledge that acting on her love for Marcus would tear their families apart, Jackie pushes her cousin away. The plan is to fall out of love, and, just as she hoped he would, Marcus falls for the new girl in town. But something isn’t right about this stranger, and Jackie’s suspicions about the new girl’s secrets only drive the wedge deeper between Jackie and Marcus.
Then Marcus is forced to pay the price for someone else’s lies as the mystery around Ellie’s disappearance starts to become horribly clear. Jackie has to face terrible choices. Can she leave her first love behind, and can she go on living with the fact that she failed her best friend?
Kate Brauning grew up in rural Missouri and fell in love with young adult books in college. She now works in publishing and pursues her lifelong dream of telling stories she’d want to read. This is her first novel. Visit her online at www.katebrauning.com or on Twitter at @KateBrauning.