Your Author Photo: How To Dress For Success

Writer’s Relief
3 min readMay 31, 2022

If you write short stories or poetry or books that you hope to publish, it’s a good idea to have an author photo ready. An author head shot or photo can be used on your author website, your book’s back cover, or with your bio info in a literary journal. Design experts know you don’t have to hire a professional photographer (although you certainly can if you want to!) — you can ask a talented friend to take your photo. And if you want something very informal, you can even take a selfie! But whether you go with a formal head shot or a more casual author photo, it’s important to dress for success! Here are some tips for what you should (and shouldn’t) wear in your author photo.

What To Wear In Your Author Photo

Flattering clothing: When choosing what to wear for your photo shoot, you’ll find that solid colors will look best. But keep in mind that monochromatic black or white clothing may also present problems: White can blow out, and black can lose definition and disappear. Pastels and faded colors may blend in with the background and make you look washed out. And big patterns should be avoided, since they can draw attention away from your face. Smaller prints may be easier on the eyes of your author website visitors.

Wear no more than two layers, such as a shirt with a jacket or cardigan. Too many layers will make your photo too busy. A nice pair of jeans or khakis matched with an open collar shirt under a jacket or cardigan will look neat and approachable. Don’t wear anything too trendy, because your photo may quickly look dated. You should also avoid clothing with prominent brand logos: If the brand ends up in a scandal, you don’t want to be caught in the crossfire!

Good hair: Your hair should be neat and styled simply — keep hair ornaments to a minimum. Test any hairstyles in advance to ensure you like the look. This is not the time to try a new haircut or color that you might later regret! If you have long hair, you can wear it down so it can move as your photographer tries out different poses and angles.

Few accessories, if any: One to three pieces of jewelry is all you need to make your photo pop! Unless your author brand or personality is big and bold, keep your choices understated — big statement pieces can easily…

Writer’s Relief

Author’s Submission Service Est. 1994. We help authors reach their publishing goals with targeted submissions to literary agents and editors.