#BookFaceFriday: A Why-For and How-To

#BookFaceFriday: A Why-For and How-To

Posted on October 2 by Kyle
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has been a growing trend among booksellers and libraries for the last few years. It gained popularity in 2015 with a couple articles by the Guardian and the New York Times. A customer shared one of the articles to our facebook page, and we thought, “That could be fun!” I had just taken a course on social media for small business and was looking for ways to improve our presence online. 

We did our very first BookFace on June 26, 2015 and have done one a week (with a few exceptions — especially early on) since then. It is a way to creatively promote books and authors, and share your store’s personality.

What you need to successfully create a BookFace photo is a book cover, a model, and a camera (a smartphone is easiest as you’re often holding both the phone and the book to get the shot.).

It helps if you have an eye for it, but patience and practice (and taking many, many, many photos) will build that skill and get you there.

Sometimes the covers you think are going to be simple turn out to be the most difficult. And some that you think will take a long time to get right, are perfect three shots in. We generally manage to get the shot within 20 minutes — occasionally it takes longer if there is outfit prep or very fussy positioning.

Make sure your camera has memory (it’s so very annoying to have to stop and delete a bunch of photos so that you can take more!), enough battery, and that either the store is quiet or there is someone else to help customers.

Here are a few things to consider when preparing a post for .

Proportions are essential. Sometimes the faces, heads, and hands on the book cover are zoomed in and thus larger than the average human — making it impossible to get a perfect shot. If you aren’t as obsessed with creating a believable match, then go for it anyway — you will still get a fun creative picture out of it!


Trying to get the Princess Diarist cover was hilarious because the cover was larger than the average face, so Natasha and I both tried and ended up with the book smooshed against half our face as we tried not to laugh, and look in the right direction. We even tried to do Princess Leia hair, though it was unnecessary in the end. 

Outfits can be a lot of fun. We get really creative with our window display fabrics, making all sorts of makeshift outfits from them! (As you can see, we’ve even used recycling bags to add volume to this “dress”.) 

Sometimes half the fun is getting the “outfits” ready!

Props are also fun and can help create the whole picture.

In the first photo (left), our coworker happened to have a vintage suitcase that matched this cover pretty well. In the next (middle, we used this old speaker lying around at work, and an ethernet cable to make the mic cable. Finally, in the third (right), our friend and author Kristine Perron created a space suit  herself using an old baby carrier, bra pads, and a marker!

If you are having a hard time getting it to look right, try changing the position you are taking the photo from (for example, teeter on a step ladder or chair to get a different angle, or crouch like a fool on the floor).  Don’t be afraid to look silly. You get good at describing which way you want your model to move (“turn your chin toward your left shoulder, tuck your elbow in, twist your hips toward the front of the store” OR “try flaring your nostrils more”)

It can be surprising which get more reaction than others. We’re happy when we get around 100 likes, but for some reason this photo went crazy!

This was a really hard shot because the model has amazing cheekbones that didn’t match the face shape of the woman on the cover. We got the giggles pretty bad trying to get Kristie to push out her cheeks, or stick her tongue in her cheek. I had to do a little shading after the fact. And that’s another thing - don’t be afraid to play with a bit of photo editing. I use Snapseed on my phone - nothing crazy, just a little lightening of skin or hair to match the cover better. This is just an option if you want to take that next step.

Laugh a lot.

Tag everyone and everything you can — author, publisher, designer, model (if they’re willing). Authors are generally pretty thrilled when they see these pics. (We had a husband email ask if he could get a copy of the photo printed because his wife (the author) loved it so much and he wanted to give her a framed copy — melt our hearts!)

And above all: Have Fun! We certainly do.


Dundurn would like to thank our friends at Otter Books for putting together this article on their fun activities. It was written by Samara Nicoll from Otter Books.