The Beauty of Cover Art

Happy almost 4th of July, everyone!

In honor of Independence Day, I would like to share with you my latest venture that I am embarking upon independently. The venture that I am referring to is creating the cover art for my first novel, which is to be released later this month. I have working knowledge of Photoshop and although I’m not a professional photographer, I do own a camera, so I figured that I could do the cover myself. To be totally honest, this was the first time I’ve ever shot cover art and it wasn’t all that pretty.

I decided that I wanted to take all of my photos outside. Without spoiling anything about my novel, my characters spend a large amount of time outdoors. Soon, I had multiple ideas of places to shoot and what I could incorporate into the shot. In some, I wanted to just feature the woods and scenery. In others, I wanted a few buildings to peek over the trees. Lastly, I wanted to experiment by portraying my main character in the shot as well. I wanted the main character to be far away from the camera with her back turned. Without sounding terribly narcissistic, I decided that I could feature myself in the shot since I didn’t know of anyone who would be available on such short notice.

As I prepared for the next day, I realized that I wouldn’t be able to take the picture and be in the picture. I recruited my younger sister to take the pictures that I would be in and she seemed more than happy to help. That evening while I was charging my camera batteries and checking my memory card, I also began to think of what I was going to wear. Again, the main character was not meant to be the main focal point and it would be a far away shot of the back of her. Still, I needed to wear something similar to what the main character wore in the book.

That’s when I realized something horrible. The characters in my novel are always dressed in sweaters and jeans because of the colder weather that is described in the book. I was about to take these pictures in Texas… in the middle of summer. I checked the weather forecast for the next day and the high was 96*F and sunny.

Much to my dismay, the weather forecast was correct. As my sister and I biked down the trails to the perfect spot, I was sweating through my jeans. I had brought a backpack with me so that I could keep the sweatshirt off as long as possible. When the time came to put the sweatshirt on, I felt like I was in a sauna. I don’t want to go into too much detail, but I’m not sure if I’ve ever sweat that much in my life. It wasn’t long until I was out of that sweatshirt and back behind the camera.

We were out about two hours in total, and I’m very happy with the photos. Although I’m not sure if I will use the photos that I sweat so much in, I’m confident that my cover art is in on my memory card somewhere.

For all of you who are considering taking your own photos for your cover art, I say go for it. I had a lot of fun taking my photos and I would definitely do it again. Since I’m not a professional photographer, my only advice for taking photos for your cover is simple.

Always mind the weather and never shoot a winter shot in the middle of summer. Ever.

Until next week,
Debbie

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