There were times when I didn't want to buy a photo, or couldn't find one suitable for autographing.
That's when I'd write my usual letter and request one, which most times resulted in receiving a very nice signed portrait, something "approved" by the actor/actress themselves because it's what they chose to send to fans.
Avery Schreiber was a comedy actor who I first saw in the 1960s, when he was teamed with another comedy actor, Jack Burns. Burns and Schreiber had an act in which Schreiber was a taxi driver and Burns was his annoyingly talkative back-seat passenger. They were a team for many years and appeared on several tv variety shows, and for some time even had their own show. The team eventually split when Burns decided to spend more time writing and producing. Schreiber continued acting, becoming a well-known and highly recognized character actor.
For some years, Mr. Schreiber was the tv commercial spokesperson for Doritos chips, in which he'd play a variety of characters.
When I wrote to him in 1981, he replied with a brief note on his personal stationary, which had a caricature image of himself. I was disappointed that he didn't send a photo, but I was satisfied with this, at the time. Now I wish I'd searched a bit more diligently for an appropriate photo.