On Saturday, November 30th and December 7th & 8th Sam will be offering 1 hour photo sessions. The Writing Barn (10202 Wommack Rd.) is a gorgeous 7+ acre retreat in southwest Austin just minutes from downtown. I recently sat down with Sam to find out about this event.

sam bond


Scribe:    How are author shots different from regular shoots?

Sam Bond: Whether it’s a model or a family, you’re just trying to capture them looking the best they can.  When I do family shoots I like to find the interactions within the family, like when a child sticks her tongue out or is caught doing something naughty.  When you’re dealing with an individual you don’t have that interaction to play off, you’re trying to get the connection.  It’s more important to try to find out who that person really is.  It’s not about how pretty you look.  It’s about how approachable you are to your target audience.  If you look too glamorous you might actually put someone off.

Scribe:  Do you consider the genre of the writer when you do a shoot?

SB: You wouldn’t do the same type of shoot for a mystery or thriller that you would for YA. I’ve done a lot of children’s authors.  I like to ask the author to bring the book with them so we can play around with it. I ask the author, “What do you want to look like in this picture?”

Scribe:    What do you bring to the table to capture an author’s spirit?

SB:  I’ve always enjoyed meeting people.  When I work with somebody I feel like I’m making a new friend.  Being English, I think my accent tends to captivate people’s attention.  I seem to have a way of warming people up.  I often just sit down and chat with them.  By the time I start taking pictures they don’t even notice.

Scribe:   What can authors do to prepare for their photo shoot?

SB: Think about what you’re going to wear.  The clothes shouldn’t take away from the face.  Don’t wear anything with a logo and avoid whites or bright prints.  You can bring several changes of clothes if you like. You don’t have to do anything special. Just show up and be present.  Bring any sort of props that you want.  Get a good night’s sleep and don’t come in hung over.  Show up, have fun, look forward to it.  Be happy knowing that you’re going to have something wonderful at the end.

Scribe:   Why do authors need up–to–date head shots?

SB: When you show up at an event you want to look like the picture .  You don’t want that “deer in the headlights” look like “Is that you?” and “You don’t look like that in your picture”.  When you’re an author you have a persona that you want to share with the world.  It has to look like you.

Scribe:   Why did you become a photographer?

SB: I kind of fell into it.  I used to travel around the world with my friend who was a photographer and I was always jealous of how well she took a picture.  Finally, I got my own SLR camera and started taking pictures.  Then I adopted my first daughter, Olivia.  In the first year I took 10,000 pictures of her.  I would go to reunions and have fun taking pictures, being down on my knees or on my belly, whatever it took.  I started seeing my pictures on people’s Christmas cards and invitations.  People began asking how much I charge for a photo shoot.  It just took off from there.  Basically I’m self taught.  I’ve taken some classes but a lot of what I’ve learned I learned online.  I’ve been doing it professionally for over 10 years now.

Scribe:     What experience do you have photographing authors?

SB:  This is something quite new to me but it seems like the obvious way to go.  I am surrounded by authors.  I am a writer myself with a book coming out soon.  I know what authors go through and what they need.

Scribe:    What advice would you give on what NOT to do at a photo shoot?

SB:  Come alone if you’re comfortable with that so there won’t be any distractions.  Don’t wear strong cologne.  The shoot is being done outdoors. You don’t want to be attacked by bugs.  Don’t wear high heeled shoes, you could trip.

Scribe:  Tell me what to expect at a Sam Bond photo shoot?

SB: We meet, we chat for a while.  We walk around the premises and check out the light, see where the best lighting is.  When you work outside with photography it’s never black and white per se.  You don’t have the control you would have in a studio setting, you have to work with the light.  We wander around a bit; we choose two or three spots.  I like to find a place where you can look up, it’s really great for the neck.

It’s a walk in the park.  We wander around, we take a few photos and you go home happy with 15 to 20 different photos.

Writers League members receive a $50 discount on the package.



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