Two Tips for Introverts on How to get an Author Headshot
We humans are a visual species. The fact is that we do “judge a book by its cover,” and I myself definitely make assumptions about people depending on their profile picture.
I’m having a new website built, to coincide with the upcoming re-launch of my novel, ‘The Or’in of Tane Mahuta.’ I felt that the time had come to update my profile picture accordingly, as the image I’m currently using is nearly five years old.
As you climb the ladder in any profession, you want to improve the visual imagery that gets associated with your name. Have you ever noticed, that as a person becomes more rich and famous, their imagery on social media becomes more shiny and glamorous? It’s a natural progression in this day-and-age and it’s called “upping your game.”
This week, I went along to see a friend who is a professional photographer, to update my author profile picture. This lady is an incredible, new up-and-coming talent in the photography field. But could she get a good photo of me? No.
I’m fine taking a photo of myself—a “selfie”—I’m an introvert, who could I be more comfortable with doing the shoot than me? Yet, for the professional shoot, I found that as soon as my friend raised the camera, I froze up inside completely.
No matter what I did: the deep breathing, the relaxing, the having a laugh in between, the looking away and looking back, every time I looked into the lens I tensed. I have an all-new respect for professional models!
I should probably explain that I’m an introvert.
I realised it was the first week of the kids going back to school. In the week prior, I’d taken my boys down to visit Grandpa at the beach as well and I hadn’t had any time off for myself in a fortnight.
“Every introvert has a limit when it comes to stimulation.” HuffPost blogger Kate Bartolotta explains it well when she writes, “Think of each of us as having a cup of energy available. For introverts, most social interactions take a little out of that cup instead of filling it the way it does for extroverts. Most of us like it. We’re happy to give, and love to see you. When the cup is empty though, we need some time to refuel.”
As soon as I saw the images come back from the shoot, and my first thought was, I look tired, I knew that the fault did not lie with the photographer, but with me. As I grow older and get to know myself more, I discover these things along the way.
I learnt a few things from flubbing this shoot. This lesson is for the other introverts out there (and friends). Here are my two top tips for nailing your author headshot.
1: Realize a professional shoot is a challenging situation for an introvert. Do some serious self-pampering with appropriate amounts of solitude in the weeks prior.
According to the book called, The Introvert Advantage: How to Thrive in an Extrovert World by Marti Laney, Psy.D. says only about 25% of the people in the world are Introverts. Laney states that, “Introverts are people who are over-sensitive to Dopamine, so too much external stimulation overdoses and drains them. So for this reason, introverts need less exposure to people, public situations, noise, social events, to gain all the information they need to be able to retreat again and process it.”
In order to function, I have come to realize that I need to have quality time alone at intervals to recharge. I hadn’t had a break in the two weeks prior to going for my author headshot. Therefore, I was primed to fail.
I had also made the mistake of running around like a headless chicken right up until the moment I drove to the photographer’s house. Then, I expected myself to be able to relax in front of a camera. I failed, go figure!
2: Right before the shoot, do something peaceful and calming. Give yourself adequate time in the hours prior for quiet whether it be walking, or meditating or whatever relaxes you.
In contrast, this morning, the boys have gone to stay with their father for two days, and I have had time alone. I took a selfie to go with this update. Right away, I noticed the difference in my pictures and those taken for my headshot. In my selfies, after just a few hours alone, the energy was coming back. You live and learn! My wonderful photographer friend and I are going to try a re-shoot this week, after I’ve had some R&R. She said, “Cool lessons hey!?”
Cool indeed. You live and learn.
Has anyone else experienced the same thing of freezing up in front of a camera? What’s the story behind getting your headshot?
Talk to you later,
Yvette K. Carol
The Zen roshi said, “Life is like getting into a boat that’s about to sail out to sea and sink.”