Tuesday, August 13, 2013

How to Design a Book Cover- Part 2 of 2

This post is a continuation of yesterday's guest post by Rachel Taylor, a professional photographer and owner of R. Taylor Concepts.  I have a few additional questions for Rachel regarding book cover design and she was gracious enough to answer them.
 
Christina Williams: What kind of lighting advice would you give an amateur when they are shooting their own book cover photos and don't have access to an elaborate lighting system?
 
Rachel Taylor: If shooting a person or people, I would suggest using a large white poster board (foam version is nice as it's sturdier) to bounce light onto the subject(s).  This technique can be used indoors and out and will ultimately add more life to your subject's eyes by creating a catch light.

Another option would be shooting in a room full of white or light walls (this works for objects as well), remembering that color reflects (e.g. green walls adds a green hue to the skin/object which may or may not be desirable).  If shooting outdoors with the ultimate goal of a softly lit portrait or scene, choose late evening or very early morning to shoot your subjects when the sun's light projects most softly.  Overcast days create the perfect soft box free of charge.  Should you desire harsher, bolder, more dramatic lighting, use the midday sun of lunchtime as your strobe.  Adjust your subject(s) accordingly to create the shadows you desire upon the face or scene in general.  I also suggest turning off your camera's flash (this will work best when there is plenty of light overall).

CW: What are your thoughts on the amount of objects shown on a book cover?
RT: Speaking strictly in visual terms; the fewer the objects, the more solid and simple the background and the starker the contrast between those two elements, the more visible be your results in my opinion.

CW: For ebook covers, what special attention needs to be taken since they are initially shown often as a 1" thumbnail photo or smaller?

RT: With ebook covers, I would use the aforementioned ratio of fewer objects, bolder contrast in lighting and in color as well as a simple background if it were my cover.

CW: You've mentioned to me before that certain colors make others stand out well.  Any advice you'd like to give?


RT: High contrast begets eye catching results (think black & white).  Lighter colors attract while darker colors recede.  Using complementary color schemes creates visually appealing effects (e.g. yellow & blue).  If subtlety is your goal, colors closer in tone and/or in monochromatic mixtures will do the trick.
 
Example: monochromatic blues… still bold, still high contrast with a nice pop of white to attract & catch the eye
 

 Example: bold complementary colors… reds/ blues / yellows
 

Example: Although not a book cover, this is a great example of the same complementary colors of red, blue & yellow in softer tints.  Less noticeable in a line up overall. Taken from http://www.seasonsforallathome.com/

 

CW: Thanks so much Rachel for taking time to share your expertise with us.  It's greatly appreciated.

Note: Photos are not examples of Rachel's work but are shown as examples of the concepts about which she is speaking.


Rachel is a freelance photographer based in south Missouri in the Lake of the Ozarks.  In addition to her experience as a successful free-lance photographer, she's worked with top designers in the silk floral retail and wholesale industry and has done a wide range of commercial work, including, but not limited to, photography for Evergreen Home Décor.  If you are in need of professional photography services, you can contact Rachel at pureskylight@gmail.com

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