My Publishing Journey: Photo Shoot!

I’m not much on having my picture taken—no selfies for this self-conscious writer—but part of my publishing contract with Barking Rain Press, signed July 2014, included having a hi-resolution photo of me for The Hanged Man’s Noose.



My friend, Nina, likes to tell me that I’m a “rules follower.” I suppose she’s right, because I immediately went and had studio photos taken last summer. Here’s the thing: although I used the photos on this website and on Facebook and Twitter, I have never felt comfortable with them. It wasn’t just that my hair was having an off-day (something Nina, who is also my hair stylist, was quick to point out—and no, she didn’t style my hair that day), but the fact that the studio did something called a “magazine retouch.” In short, I stopped looking like ME and started looking like me, only 20 years younger.

Photoshopped Judy

Now, you might be thinking, “What’s so wrong with that?” But the whole idea behind having your photo in your novel (or on the back cover) is that you hope people will recognize you at a writing convention or what-have-you. Not to think, “Hmmmm, must’a been a few years since that photo was taken!”



Still, as much as I wanted to look natural, I wanted to look my best. I turned to Nina, who in turn set me up with Christina, a local make-up artist. A test drive to be sure I wasn’t going to turn into the painted lady and we were ready to go.


Jen Short

The day of the photo shoot was a cool, windy May day. Nina did my hair and Christina did my make-up. By the time I left the salon to meet with Jen, I felt like a fairy tale princess. Jen let me change outfits three times and took photos in several spots in Bond Lake Park. The entire day was magical, and so far removed from my sterile studio experience a few months earlier.

A few days later, Jen sent me the photos, and I was allowed to select 14 out of 65, to be used for a variety of  purposes. Narrowing the selection down was relatively easy. After all, 14 pictures is a lot (especially for someone who doesn’t like to have their picture taken). Finding the one photo to use in The Hanged Man’s Noose, that was a challenge. But, with the help of my husband, Mike, I managed to do it.

Here’s my second choice:


Photo by Jen Short. Hair by Nina. Makeup by Christina. Outfit from my closet 🙂

My first choice? You’ll have to wait for the book!


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18 responses to “My Publishing Journey: Photo Shoot!

  1. Judy Penz Sheluk

    Thanks Charlotte. The venue was great – Bond Lake in Oak Ridges.

  2. Judy, I love your photo! Can’t wait to see the “official” photo.

  3. Judy Penz Sheluk

    I’ve always loved that photo of you, Edith. I agree, we have to be ourselves. It does make you realize, though, how we can be fooled by the flawless beauties on magazine covers.

  4. Judy, I love the second choice shot. I had the same experience. I paid for a studio photo before my first book came out but I never really relaxed and it showed. A year later I again got my makeup and hair done, but this time I had a fabulous natural light photographer, and a friend came along to make me laugh. I still love these pictures three years later! (Yes, the one attached to this post.)

  5. Judy Penz Sheluk

    Thanks Gillian!

  6. Gillian Hobbs

    You look great, Judy, and so natural! It’s irritating on book covers the way some authors continue to look the same way they did fifteen years ago when you first started reading them. Your attitude is refreshing.

  7. Judy Penz Sheluk

    Thank you Christine!

  8. Wonderful post and photo. Your writing craft shines through making us wait for the winning photo!

  9. Judy Penz Sheluk

    Thanks Kristina! I so prefer the outdoor setting, as you did for your photo. Great minds think alike!

  10. Kristina Stanley

    Aren’t you sneaky. Now I want to see the photo you chose! I’ll be spying on your blog waiting for the grand unveiling. It must be great, since your second choice was fantastic!

  11. Judy Penz Sheluk

    You made me laugh out loud KB! Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment.

  12. Judy Penz Sheluk

    Thanks Christine! I think the lesson learned here is we need to be true to ourselves, and in doing so, we look our best! (And having professional makeup and hair didn’t hurt either :-))

  13. Getting a professional photo done was the hardest thing. I had been using some snapshots of me in period clothing. I asked a friend who teaches forensic photography if he would do it. His photos came out great. I didn’t look the least bit dead.

  14. Christine Finlayson

    I love your #2 choice, Judy — after reading this, it will be fun to see your first choice in the book! It’s great you found a photographer who can capture the “real you.”

  15. Judy Penz Sheluk

    Thanks Vicki! It does feel good. I’m such an outdoor person. I should have known a studio photo wouldn’t cut it!

  16. I love it! Don’t you feel new and fresh with a new photo? Hugs!

  17. Judy Penz Sheluk

    You have that right! Just finished proof galley. A post for next week!

  18. You didn’t realize you’d have to jump through so many hoops to publish a book did you?

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