The Importance of an Author Photo on an Author Website

It’s one of the first questions I ask every author as we prepare for the design process: “Do you have a photo of yourself that we can use on the site?” Surprisingly, a good percentage of the time, the answer to that question begins with hees and haws.

Most authors want to have a good photo of themselves that we can use on the website, but either haven’t had a chance to have photos taken yet, or just dislike any and all pictures of themselves. In the name of full disclosure, I fit into the latter category.

But the truth of the matter is this: an author photo is a very important piece in the website design puzzle. Here’s why:

  • Readers want to know who an author is. A bio only can say so much. Photos of the author is really what readers are after.
  • The type of photo indicates the type of website. If an author’s headshot is dramatic, a site visitor immediately understands that this is a serious website. If an author’s photo is casual, it sends a completely different message.
  • An author website is built around an author photo. In an author website, there’s one image that’s more important than the others. You guessed it … the author photo. That photo needs to be in a prominent spot with the rest of the site built around it. The colors of the site should be pulled from the colors on the photo, too. It’s like the centerpiece of a table.

Too often, I have clients who ask me if we can build their website and then just add the photo later. In most cases, the answer to that is a resounding “no.” Here are a few examples of author websites that are built around the author’s photo:

See what I mean about the photos? They send a message. They tell us who the author is. And they’re smack in the center of the website. So, no, we can’t add them at the end 🙂