Monday, August 23, 2010

Picture Perfect Photo Shoot: Amber Zimmerman, Clik Chick Photography

Pam Hillman here. Seekerville is proud to bring you Amber Zimmerman of The Clik Chick Photography. Amber is the official ACFW conference photographer for the 2010 ACFW conference and will be taking appointments for a photo session with authors in Indianapolis.
I had the privilege of meeting Amber last spring. She is an extremely talented photographer and I felt at ease right off the bat. If you’re looking for some affordable shots for your portfolio, please schedule an appointment with Amber at the ACFW conference.
Today, Amber shares some tips to make your photo shoot more enjoyable and she will be available throughout the day to answer your questions.
Here’s a hearty welcome to Amber Zimmerman!!!
.So you’ve finally landed a book contract after months of plotting in your mind over your characters and storylines and one too many coffees.
What next? Time to market that book and one way of doing that is putting a picture to the voice that your readers will soon love! This is where I can help, after all, your author photo will be married to your book.
We want it to be memorable, right?
For good reasons too, not because it was a huge flub! I would like to offer some pointers to assist you when you seek out a photographer for your books/website.
1. Play up one of your features. If it’s your eyes, then focus on making your eyes stand out. If it’s your lips, then play up your lips.
2. Choose ONE accessory that makes a bold statement. You don’t want to overwhelm the picture by having a chunky necklace and chunky earrings. This includes scarves and hats, try to keep accessories at a minimum so that you are the focus and not your accessories.
3. Usually the headshot is the most important image, but full body shots are not a bad thing. Especially if it’s fun and captures the energy of who you are and what kinds of books your write. Keeping this in mind, you will want to keep your clothing pretty basic. Layers with solids and a few patterns mixed in are good.
4. Most importantly, think carefully about what represents YOU and what you write about. You want a picture that captures who you are, something that connects you with your readers. This is your way of inviting them into your world.
With Diann Hunt’s permission, I’d like to show an example of a photo that captures Diann’s personality as much as it pertains to what the book is written about (a humorous devotional).
For fun, here is a link to a website where you DO NOT want to see your author portrait end up! ;-)
Awkward Family Photos
Amber has graciously offered a free photo session (a $40.00 value) to one lucky person attending the ACFW conference. To be eligible, you must be registered to attend the 2010 ACFW Conference in Indianapolis, Indiana. The winner will be chosen from visitors who comment on Amber's blog post before midnight August 23rd, 2010. Please include an email address where you can be reached.
Thank you, Amber, for visiting Seekerville and giving us the scoop on how to look bea-u-ti-ful in our glamour shots! We hope you have a ton of fun today, and at the ACFW conference in September.


  1. Welcome amber.

    I've never seen a photo of myself that I considered beautiful. To be that, there would have to be a beautiful subject. Ugh.

    Anyhow, I'm registered for the conference and looking forward to seeing a lot of Seekers--and you.

    helengray AT

    Coffee's on.


  2. Welcome Amber!

    Helen, we're meeting in the middle. lol

    I'm off to bed, and will talk to y'all in the morning.

    Keep that coffee hot for me, will ya?

  3. Welcome to Seekerville, Amber. I love your website BTW.

  4. Morning Amber, Good points to keep in mind for photos. And it is wise to already have that photo for "the call". You don't know what your publisher will need for promo.

    Be sure and get the rights to print your photo. Amber, what exactly are those rights called? How do you state that in a contract?

    Thanks for stopping by. Helen, and Pam and Tina-you are such night owls. smile. But I'm glad because then the coffee is on when I wake up. smiling

  5. I adore that picture of Diann--so fitting with her personality. I love Amber's website.

    I'm registered for the ACFW conference. Please add my name to the hat!

    lisajordanbooks at yahoo dot com

  6. Hi Amber,
    You and I have already "chatted" via email about some new headshots for me. I'd love to win the sitting!! And I will be at conference with bells on, but not necessarily for my pictures!!!

    Pam Meyers

  7. Welcome to Seekerville, Amber!

    And now, HELP! I always feel like such a smuck when it comes to having my picture taken which may be the reason there's not a lot of photos of me out there.

    But now that I have a book coming out next year, I desperately NEED one. I'm signed up for the conference and would love to meet and work with you on this. So please enter me in the drawing--I would SO appreciate it.


  8. I'm really looking forward to meeting Amber. And I'd love to win the free photo shoot.

  9. Good morning! Thank you for the warm welcome. :) Sandra - you bring up a great point about the copyrights. I have a form that I include in the order that has a copyright release. Lisa - I'll be sure to add your name to the schedule! :)

  10. I love the photo of Diann and it's great when photographers can capture our personalities!

  11. Welcome Amber! Looking forward to meeting you at the conference! Your website is grand!


  12. This sounds great. Thanks for the tips. I've never been photogenic, and I really do need a good author photo, so I'm putting my hat in the ring for the photo contest. I will be at ACFW. My email is

  13. Oh, Helen, you are far beyond beauty, dear woman. Have you LOOKED in the mirror lately? Seriously? Absolutely lovely, stem to stern, and I don't offer praise lightly, my dear.

    LOVING the coffee too. Oh my gosh, it's Monday, drizzly, cool (loving that, actually) and coffee is perfect as always, Helen!

    Amber, what a fun job! Helping us look good. Do they have special filters or silk screens for us aging writers that want to look 35 again????

    Say yes.

    Thanks for coming to Seekerville. We love insider knowledge here, and a $40 session: SWEET. God bless you for doing that!

    And let me know if there's a magic photographic dust that erases eye circles, under-eye bags, minimizes crows' feet and lifts sagging jowls.

    Tina wants to know.


    Sorry, couldn't resist. I brought fresh carrot cake, awesome stuffed croissants, a mix of egg/sausage and cheese, oh, so good!!! And home fries for people NOT counting carbs....

    (Did you detect a note of WHINING there??? HUH????)

    And there's a juice bar, a fresh array of flavored creamers, and hugs.

    Always hugs.

  14. I had pictures done last year at another conference and I had them done both in a coat and tie and casual. For me, the coat and tie pictures look better. ( I use them on Linked-In.) For the males who get you to take their pictures, are any of them coat-and-tie or are they mostly casual?

  15. I suspect many people aren't that comfortable having their picutre taken. And the older we get, the more self-conscious we are.

    I remember pictures that I had taken 10 years ago, and I did not think they were that great.

    The photographer did a fantastic job, but he took pics of ME, you know.

    Now, I think those pictures look pretty good, considering! lol

  16. Somebody give me a cup of java to go. It's a work day, and I'm outta here.

    But I'll check in as often as I can.

    Have fun!

  17. Amber, I'll be at the conference and look forward to meeting you. For me, having my picture taken is right up there with trying on bathing suits! I know my experience will be different with you.

  18. Ruth - Photoshop does wonders! ;-) It really can take a few years off!
    Walt - Great question. I think it depends again on what represents you and your writing style. If you are writing a book on say. . .investments, then it seems a suit would be appropriate. If a fiction book (think Ted Dekker), then casual would fit in best. There really is no right or wrong answer. Whatever makes you comfortable! :)

  19. Thanks for the tips, Amber. I'm definitely overdue for a headshot, and I have a hard time just getting a shot with my eyes open! I'd love to win the sitting at ACFW (I'll be there).

    I visited your site--all of your photos have a lovely softness to them. As Ruth said, I'm not above resorting to special filters to get that look--I hope you aren't either, Amber! ;-)

  20. I am registered for the conference and am in desperate need for a good headshot! (I'd say "great" but one can only do so much with the subject)! I also want to give my sweet hubby a wonderful photo for our anniversary which occurs while we are at conference. Ooops.

    Question for Amber: Can we bring 2 outfits for different looks?

  21. If you can make me look decent, I'd pay a lot more than $40!

    But I'll be at ACFW too so toss my name in for the drawing.

    terism at rgv dot rr dot come

  22. I went to your website and there were so many clever pictures. I'm really looking forward to working with you in Indy.

    Those tips are great. I'm already trying to decide what to wear. One question, what if your best feature is also your worst? My eyes are a unique shade of blue, but I have dark, puffy circles under my eyes. What do you do then for the photo shoot?

  23. Thanks for the tips. I needed them when I got headshots the year before last. Maybe you can do something better for me at conference. Could you make me look like my heroine??? Love your website. Please enter me in the drawing Thanks for the coffee y'all. It's great as always.

  24. Thank you for sharing these tips, Amber! What about glasses versus no glasses? I wear glasses all the time (have to), but I don't like them in photos because I feel like you can't see my eyes. :)

    lynette at

  25. Good morning Amber,
    Yes, I'm signed up for ACFW and I'd love to see you there.

    Thanks for the tips about wearing only one focus item...I went out to a photo site and guess what? That's what they had done for most of their shots! See you there.

    Sandy Elzie

  26. Welcome, Amber! I'm so glad you joined us today!!

    Ruthy, you need to quit being soooo BAAAAD!! LOLOL (Poor Tina). :)

    Edie, I'm with you!! :)

  27. I love pro photographers. They make us look so much better than we do. The tips were helpful.

    stvauthor at yahoo dot com

  28. Love this! I had a really good photo shoot a few years back, but have to admit that the older I get the less I like any of my pictures. I like the idea of a photo needing to portray what you write about to readers, and not just be about looking good.

  29. Amber you tempt me to try again.

    I had my picture taken three times when I first was getting website set up, then got a book published.

    I paid progressively more. I had my hair done for one. I spent longer in the photo shoot each time.

    No matter what I did, the pictures just all came back looking like ME. So I gave it up.

    I had someone look at my current photo and ask me why I changed from the old one. They liked the old one better, thought I looked better in it.

    I said, "Sure I did. I was younger, thinner and smarter back then. (I also apparently had less insulting friends-but that's not the picture's fault).

  30. FYI, right now Ruthy's cyber eggs are the only safe ones. So eat up.

  31. I also noticed this when I got my picture taken.

    I'd get a sheet of proofs and I'd go through them and all three times, I'd just reject and reject and reject, then I'd pick the last one. Not because it was better but because cold reality set and I realized it wasn't gonna get any better.

    Still three times, last picture each time. Ah, the female self-image. Alive and well and as abusive as ever.

  32. I have seen Amber's work and she's amazing. Absolutely the best I've ever seen. Anyone wanting a professional photo--and we writers all need them--this is your woman.

  33. Pick me! Pick me! I'll be at the conference!

    I had photos taken, and I ended up with one I like, but to be honest, I wasn't that satisfied with it. I want to try again! (I'm not very photogenic!) And since I write in two different genres, I think it would be good to have at least two different "looks."

    So I will probably be making an appointment with you, Amber! Even though getting my picture made, for me, is akin to going to the dentist!

  34. Like nearly everyone else, I've seldom seen a picture I like. I'm one of those people who smile at the drop of a hat, and when I see myself in a picture doing that, I think I look WAY too cheesy. Best picture I've had in the last 10 years? when I was a school librarian - a school yearbook picture. and then there was my 15th anniversary picture, but that was 12 years ago.....

    Long story short, I'd LOVE to win a sitting with you, if you think you can do anything with me!


  35. Amber, I love your creativity with a camera lens. Which is why I've already contacted you about setting up an appointment at conference. However, winning a session would be even better!

  36. Great pointers on what makes a good headshot/portrait, though your picture of Diann seems to break your accessories rule with the bright blue rings, the hat, the sunglasses, and the umbrella in the background. Then again, perhaps she wanted it that way.

    Even if I don't win the free shoot, it was nice getting to know you a bit. I hope you'll get some great candid shots of people throughout the weekend.

    -Ben Erlichman

  37. Amber,

    Thanks for the "posing" tips. I actually prefer head shots of authors and no hands around the face!

    I love the website with the ackward pictures.

    Don't enter me in the drawing since I can't make the conference.


  38. Edwina -yes. . .two outfit changes are fine. We women have a hard enough time making up our minds without having to commit to one outfit! :)
    Tiffany - I always touch up the photos minorly (taking care of blemishes and dark circles and such). You're in luck!
    Lynette - wearing glasses is at your discretion. We can always shoot some with and some without. Some ladies/men prefer to keep them on and some don't mind removing them. It's usually only a problem when using a flash which I don't use.
    Hannah - makin' me *blush* :)
    Ben - I wondered if anyone would mention that! :) I guess there can be exceptions. A good rule of design is to create a visual triangle. In this case it is the teal in her rings, hat and in the backdrop (umbrella). It causes your eye to move through the image instead of just landing in one place.
    Great questions!

  39. Amber, you sound like my kind of publicity photographer. When I published a book several years ago, I went to a professional portrait photographer, followed his guidelines, and ended up with a boring photo that made me look professional but uninteresting. I like your guidelines much better.

  40. Hey, Amber. I went through this same indecision in the weeks preceding the RWA conference. I want to make an appt, but can't seem to find the courage to actually do it. I've lost 40 lbs in the last few months and still have 100 lbs to lose. It's only a headshot... and it's only US $40, but still, my teeth are crooked, my double chin hangs down, my hair is greying, ugh ...

    ... I just don't know. *sigh.

    Thank you for bringing Amber to our attention, Pam. I've seen the photo set-up at other conferences but never felt inclined to stop. Until this year.

    Anita Mae.

  41. Someone was joking about the 'chin resting on the fingers' shot so many authors use.

    I told them I planned to have that next time. We'll just pretend my neck is NOT forming extra chins by the hour.

  42. Ooops - went to preview that last comment and hit publish instead...

    Please enter me in the draw. I'll be at the conference.

    I guess that's one way to help me make my decision about having my photo taken. LOL

    anitamaedraper (at) hotmail (dot) com

  43. I have to say, Amber, you are my absolute, all-time favorite photographer in the whole wide world!!! And the fact that you are my daughter has absolutely NOTHING to do with it!!!

    Nothing at all!

    Truly, I LOVE your photos! Anyone who can get rid of the rings around my neck and sagging eyes, is a miracle-worker in my book. :-)

  44. Hi Amber:

    I was a company photographer for a number of years. I loved hanging out of helicopters to get Grand Opening shots! I also had to do some portraits and I have a few ideas which might be useful.

    I don’t look for beauty in an author’s photo. I look for character. (To see ‘character’ look at the expressions in most of Winston Churchill’s photos. Each photo says, “this is the real person.”)

    I actually think that the more sincere character a photo shows, the more beautiful the subject appears.

    As a fan, I do want the author to look like ‘what she’s writes’. If she writes western historical romances, I’d like to see her in modern western garb, outdoors and near a horse or on a horse and, if she can’t stand horses, at least sitting at a campfire on the open range.

    I don’t like Glamour photos because too often all the women are beautiful in the same way. There usually is no character. Also it is almost always a let down when you meet the real person. Who needs that?

    I like natural lighting -- shadows and all. I also like the candid look. To the degree the picture is posed, I usually don’t like it. The exception is when the pose itself is creative and full of character. For example, your family photo is perfect while obviously posed! (See picture at the below link).

    I really admire your work!

    In selecting a photo for a book jacket, I think it might be best if the shot is chosen by fans who don’t know the author personally.

    Philosophy Alert! I believe that an author sees herself from the inside out while fans can only see her from the outside in. It would also be nice if the photo matched the author’s ‘voice’.

    BTW: I have already been to the one conference I can go to a year. Next year it will be the ACFW for sure!. : )


  45. Hi Amber,
    Thanks for all the good photo tips. I personally believe I'm the most unphotogenic woman in the world, but every now and then I accidentally get one that I like. Too bad I can't use my wedding photo for book publicity :+} In any case, I'm looking forward to meeting you in Indy. Be blessed!

    Jen - jallee725(at)hotmail(dot)com

  46. great photo tips, Amber! Looking forward to my session with you at the conference.

  47. Mary, did you send me a chin? I seem to have an excess of them of late, and one has a distinclty funny flair I could peg as Connealy, no hint of lie upon my lips.

    And women are NOT HAPPY with what God gave us most often. 'Sup wi' dat?

    Our butts are too big, our belly's are too loose, our thighs have cottage cheese written all over them....

    And we care more about how we look to other women than to men.

    Nut cases, pure and simple.

  48. My fave pictures are when I'm standing about 20 yards from the camera. I'd like a shot to use on my website or possibly biz cards or other promos. What sort of package would I need to purchase for that?

  49. Great tips, Amber! Thanks for joining us in Seekerville today!

  50. Amber, what a FUN and unique post. Very informative. See you in September!


  51. Great post and good tips on what to wear/not to wear. Thanks!


  52. AMBER!!! What a fantabulous idea!!! And, honey, boy do you have your work cut out for you, because I would LOVE to make an appointment with you for a photo session in Indy!! I will get your e-mail from Pammy and contact you directly, okay?


  53. Amber, thanks for the photo shoot tips. Please enter me in the drawing. I'd love to update my picture.

    Do you have any suggestions on what colors to wear? I've heard solids are best. And what kind of necklines are most flattering for someone with a square chin?

  54. Thank you for the sage advice on
    having photos taken, Amber.

    I would love to win a free photo shoot and
    look forward to meeting you at the conference.


  55. Hi Amber! Thanks for the tips. I definitely need some new photos. I'm registered for conference so please enter me in the drawing!

    Can we go ahead and sign up for a photography shoot before conference? I've been awake since 4am, so things are starting to appear fuzzy. If I missed that detail in the post, please forgive!


  56. Thanks for this great opportunity! I'm already registered and can't wait to see everyone next month!


  57. Vince - Thank you for your encouragement! It means a lot coming from a fellow photog. :)
    Teresa - Lol. . .I know what you mean - I'm not a huge fan of close ups either! The $40 package should be just fine for what you are looking for as you will get the full print rights to all of your photos in hi-res form so you can use them for your website, books, publicity - whatever.
    Julie - I look forward to it! :)
    Keli - solids are best. I will have a solid black backdrop and a white one. Other than that, I use the surroundings.
    Christy - Absolutely! Let me know if you'd like to be added. :)

  58. Hi Amber,
    I enjoyed your tips for having a good photo shoot. Hope to meet you at the conference!

  59. beautiful pictures on the website, Amber. I'd love to get a photo at the conference! ONe more thing to look forward to in Sept.

  60. Hi Amber,
    I've seen some of your photos on your website and blog and they are beautiful! I am registered for the ACFW and I would love to meet you!

  61. Hello everyone! Looks like we had fun yesterday.

    Thanks so much to Amber for visiting and giving us some pointers on our photo sessions.

    I'll draw for the winner of the photo shoot later today. We'll contact the winner, and it will be posted in the WE.

  62. I'm always so impressed with those back cover photos, but when I read that you could touch up the smattering of age marks that dot my complexion....ah! Sign me up for a session at the conference, s'il vous plait.


  63. Normandie, and everyone, go to Amber's website at

    and send her an email if you'd like to schedule an appointment before the conference.

    I'm not sure how often Amber will be able to check back into Seekerville, and she might miss comments made after today, although I'll make every effort to pass requests on to her.

  64. The winner of the Photo Shoot has been drawn and notified via email.

    Once the winner has confirmed receipt of the email, I'll post here, and it will be in this week's WE.

    Thanks to everyone for making Amber feel so welcome.

    You all are the best!

  65. I'm really interested in doing this and so glad you posted about it before conference. Now just need to start saving a few more nickles and dimes!