Behind the Author Photo(s) with Janet Gurtler

Can I tell you how much I LOATHE having my picture taken. Yes? Okay. I hate it. A lot. Some people are photogenic and some....aren't.  Guess which category I fall into?

But when I'M NOT HER sold, sure as shizzle, I needed to get author photo's done.  Part of the contractual obligations and all. Which isn't such a bad thing when you think about it.  But hmmm. What to do? Who to go to? Where should I take them? What should I wear?

Lucky for me, I had a local connection.  I am lucky enough to  have hooked up with an in-person group of YA and MG authors. (with a little bit of PB thrown in too!) We meet every month and we swap books and we gossip about all things bookish and it is definitely one of the highlights of my month. But I digress.

So. One of my lovely lunch ladies also happens to be a photographer. The amazing Stina Lindeblatt. As her website says, she offers amazing photography as well as fiction tips on her blog!  So I asked her to do my author photo's....and she said yes!

Part of the problem for me was deciding how the pictures should look. Rather how I want to represent myself. As in outfit. Persona. No pressure. In the end, I decided to go for an outfit that I felt comfortable in, and something that I actually wear all the time. Black pants with a white t-shirt. It's a staple. Also a blazer and scarf, which is really my extent of "dressed up". If I'd been authentic in my shots I should have worn yoga pants and the white tee, but the objective was to look professional and still me and not "so involved in writing I haven't brushed my hair yet and am wearing comfy writing clothes."

Little known fact-the necklace that I'm wearing in my author picture is a gift from my mom,  a little tribute to her.

So....Stina picked out the location for me and was nice enough to bring along some pictures of poses (After I whined about how much I hated having my photo taken) to copy. Unfortunately, I ended up looking like a dork in most of those.  The models were young and breezy and me...well older and kind of stiff.

At any rate, we got lots of shots and it was so much more comfortable to do the shoot with someone I know.  Stina had me outside sitting up on  top of a picnic bench on a cool October afternoon.  A few joggers passed by and a few walkers told me to "work it" and for a second or two I felt like a glamorous model. But that lingering feeling vanished quickly.

So. I started out in a blazer with a scarf before which I then tossed off and whipped on a black vest for other shots. I love scarfs. And vests. Yes I do.

Below was my fave scarf shot. But someone who shall remain nameless mentioned that it makes me look a little constipated.  And now I'm inclined to agree.

The setting is lovely though, yes? Stina loved the idea of the sailboats in the background. And I know nothing about photography but she is into natural lighting and it's kind of a cool feel.

The only thing Stina and I agreed to disagree on was that her fave shots were ones where I was smiling and I like close mouth smiles. Another silly self conscious thing about my teeth. Boy picture taking makes me sound really neurotic.  Eek.

However, looking back now I think she's right- the smiling scarf picture is much better... I think I actually like it the best now.

With lots and lots of shots, the picture at the top and the one below are the ones I find myself using most on my social networking profiles.

This is the picture that I think best represents me- how I see myself.

Thanks to Stina Lindenblatt for making the whole process pretty non-traumatic and for giving me many great shots to choose from.


  1. Love the photo you went with, it feels very authentic and like it's the "real" you. Although it's very cool to have airplanes in the background! I pictured you hopping in a plane and starting the propellers as the photographer watched and waved goodbye to you.

  2. LOVE that--you definitely know you've gotten a good shot when you see your true self in it...

  3. I'm a photo-hater, too, Janet, but you look gorgeous in all of these. Work it, girl!


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