Thursday, October 30, 2008

Guest Blogger: Robyn Martins

A Cover Shoot

Sometimes, when I work on a book cover design, I have to have a model who represents the main character, often a character who is a strong-willed woman of the prairie or a love-sick woman in the Wild West or an antique dealer in Atlanta who is wooed by a man in need of a slap upside the head. I come by these models by working with Jim the photographer and by renting costumes from a costume shop that provides wardrobes for theater productions.

Yesterday, I spent a couple of hours at the studio working with one of these models, Michelle, who was nice enough to let me take some shots and post them here.

Here is Man On a Stick who helps out with lighting.

Here is Cowboy On a Stick cannoodling with Ashley, my partner in design. She likes 'em tall.

The model stands among lights and screens and umbrellas in front of a green screen so we can delete the background easily and blend the model's image with a setting suitable for the story line. In this case, the setting is snow and horses in the midst of a Texas winter.

We stand behind the photographer where we can see the model and the computer where each shot appears within seconds. That way we can quickly see if there is a hair out of place or if the skirt is bunched up. Ashley's sister Rachelle is a magnificent stylist who helps with hair and makeup, so she stays with us to keep an eye on those details.

After dozens and dozens and dozens of poses and shots and flashing lights that make you half blind, we get just the right image, something like this...

and we can call it a day well spent.

Robyn has been with Barbour since the 80s, working on designs of catalogs, marketing ads, book layouts, and covers. She works from a home office, so we don't often see her to get a candid photo of her.


Blissful said...

Fascinating. Thanks!

Debby Mayne said...

How interesting! I had no idea how y'all did this!

Anita Mae said...

Thank you, Robyn. I've always wondered how they create book covers.

I should've guessed you use a green screen since I'm an extra in the film/TV industry and have used this technology on set.

My last shoot was with a still camera too, but it was for a crime drama and by the time we see it on TV, a computer will have filled in all the courtroom details and action. (I was a juror.) It was so weird...12 pics a minute and it'll be transformed into a live action scene.

Erica Vetsch said...

That is so cool. I've always wondered how cover design worked.

Vickie McDonough said...

Very interesting! So where do the scenery covers come from. Are they stock photos mostly?

Becky said...

Yes, the scenery comes from stock photography most often, and I'm always amazed how photos can be combined.

Mary Connealy said...

I hope this is part one of a ten part series on this. I still have a lot of questions.
I loved this look behind the scenes. Keep it up. :)

Lynette Sowell said...

Wow, I loved seeing this! I think the covers are outstanding. :)