Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Public Faces

I posted recently about blogger bios, a subject that gets overlooked a lot compared to author bios (and fair enough, too - we can change ours!).

I've heard lots of interesting stuff about head shots for writers too - Kristin Nelson has a good post about it here. But again, how about us unpublished bloggers? We're trying to connect with people, to 'platform-build', to 'network'. How do we go about representing ourselves visually?

As you can all see, I use a photo of myself (yes, that is me, not some random girl in a park!). It was taken by Writer Friend, my moth-phobic trilogy-writing pal, a couple of years ago and I really should update it. Plus, I've been thinking of switching to a photo where I'm actually smiling.

But the problem is, I do not take a good photo. The current one is good, but it's rare. Replacing it is a problem. Facebook pictures are the same - I am trying to be one of those people with the cool Facebook profile pictures, you know the ones, that show the subject abseiling and white-water-rafting and canoeing and skydiving and such. Not because I want people to think I'm more interesting than I am (although that would be nice) but because, crucially, in those photos it is harder to see the face.

Such photos are hard to fake in a coffee shop, though, so no luck so far.

Of course, not everyone wants to use a photo. I'm very fond of Talli's coffee cup picture and a good graphic can be far more eye-catching and personal than a blurry or substandard photo. I used Livejournal for years, just to keep in touch with friends, and their standard 100x100 pixel squares are a new art form.

Why did you choose your userpic?


  1. I had to take a head shot for work and it actually turned out half-way decent, so I integrated it into my profile. I try to use the same photo everywhere (facebook, twitter, goodreads, etc.) so people can instantly recognize it...and me. :)

  2. That's a good point DL - I change my picture on Facebook all the time but I use the same one for Twitter as I do for my blog.

    When I was in college, the staff all seemed to dread the departmental head shots, but they turned out good over half the time, which is better odds than most photos - so I think work head shots deserve a break :)

  3. I've seen some good pictures of you that you could use.

    Mine's actually stupidly old. I took it myself, back in 2006, holding my camera at an angle to see if I could get a decent shot. It turned out okay so I kept it. It deifnitely needs to be updated though.

    Maybe the two of us should have a user icon photographing party?

  4. I had a hard time finding a photo where I looked halfway decent. Husband has a habit of taking photos of me when I am in a state of dishevel. I wonder though are we too hard on ourselves and our photos. I love your photo. You look deep in thought. Very Writerly!

  5. Photos drive me crazy! I've been wanting to update mine for over a year now, but I don't have any nice portrait-like shots of myself, and I do feel it's important to see the face. The one I use now is something I let a friend of a friend take during a photo shoot freshman or sophomore year of college... and I'm graduating now! Time to change it!

  6. I use a picture taken on my favourite hiking trail in Algonquin Park. There's not really a lot of pictures of me out there, because I'm usually the one with the camera.


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