Choosing a Website Photographer for Writers

February 25, 2012

When I decided to have professional photos taken for my website (, I asked around for recommendations from my writer friends, but their leads were not exactly what I wanted.  So I turned to the information highway.  I had hoped that a simple internet search would uncover a local photographer that specialized in author headshots, but that also had experience photographing dogs.  Yeah, well, that detailed of a specialty was a pipe dream.

I had better luck when I queried the broader terms of head shots, pet photographer and San Francisco Bay Area.  From this search, I narrowed my choices down to two very different options.  One was a traditional business and the other was a family boutique operation that either shot on location or in their home.  I soon discovered that the boutique family operation was shifting the focus of their photography business (RicKaraPhotography) to include web hosting and design (   I probably would have opted for the more personal experience of working with a less commercial business anyway, but this information, as well as Ric’s promise that if you weren’t 100% satisfied you didn’t pay, cinched the deal.

From the moment I walked in the door, I knew that Ric was more interested in producing a quality product than maximizing profit.  Ric discussed the type of look I wanted.  He took a few practice shots and we discussed the particulars that I liked and didn’t like in the shots.  As the three-hour session progressed, I was allowed as many outfit changes as I wanted.   At the end of the photo shoot, I had a variety of poses with and without my dog.

We wrapped up by reviewing the available background choices, but when I got the photos and compared it to my website pages, I didn’t like how my choice blended with the website.  Ric was very accommodating and indulged my request to plunk a variety of backgrounds behind a sample photo to aid a change of backgrounds.  He also accommodated by touch up requests.

Here are a few words of caution about choosing a photography service.  Make sure you will own the copyright to the photographs.  Have a clear understanding of what is included in the price.  You will need to decide if you want outdoor or indoor photos.  If you choose shooting indoors in a studio, you may have the choice of preselect backgrounds or shooting on a green screen.  I chose shooting against the green screen so I would have maximum flexibility in background choices.  While all of these options may be important considerations in selecting a photographer, I think the most important criterion is to pick someone you are comfortable working with.  RicKaraPhotography (  was the perfect fit for my needs.  I couldn’t be more pleased with the final results.




Do Writers Need Book Clubs?

June 28, 2011

The Avid Readers Book Club celebrated its 15th year last month. In that time, we have read a mix of fiction and nonfiction. We’ve explored classics, mysteries, thrillers, romance, memoirs, and science fiction. Some I’ve loved, others I’ve suffered through.
Book groups offer two invaluable tools to writers. First and foremost, these sessions provide the reader’s perspective on a book from a variety of viewpoints. My group’s tastes are diverse and often opinionated. Our meetings can be emotionally-charged debates or more about the food and wine depending on how successful the writer connected with the reader. From these discussions, my writer persona has gleaned what works and what doesn’t.
The other advantage a book group offers a writer is the book selections. I am of the opinion that to write well, a writer must read. I have read books I would have never picked up. Being in a book club has forced me to persevere through novels I’d never have finished. Knowing what doesn’t work is just as valuable to a writer as what does.
Of course, my book group is more than a study in reading and writing. These are my friends and I value their thoughts and perspectives. Some people have come and gone throughout the years, some founding members remain, others went to one meeting and didn’t stick, but every person has taught me something about reading, writing, and even about myself. I wonder what the next 15 years will bring?