The Cover Shot ::: Behind the Book

I think some people have long, drawn out cover shoots.  In fact, I know they do.  I know authors bring in photographers, stylists, TEAMS of people on cover shoot day.  I have been fascinated by their stories and drank them up as I wrote my book and got closer and closer to publishing.  (Here are a few of  my favorite stories:  Brown Eggs and Jam Jars, Emily Henderson, Lauren Liess, Garden Betty).  My cover story is a bit different.

Behind the Book Making a Cover with Amy Renea of Crafting With Nature
One of the "working" covers

As book release date draws closer (March 22nd!! ), I thought I might give a peek into the creation of my book start to finish.  You might remember how I started out on giant posterboards and then clipboards organized by chapter for the writing (the whole post is HERE) then transitioned into hardcore crafting, testing and photographing. A large portion of the book was shot indoors last winter (2014-2015), so I did a lot of work in our courtyard where the skylights give some natural light.  The absolute best days were the snowy days when the extra white on the skylights made things pop!

The Setup

Most of the white backgrounds you will see in the book were made on cheap IKEA LACK tabletops.  You can find the tops for $1-2 in the as-is section of IKEA and they are sturdy and thick. A photo like the one above with a white bottom and back is done on a LACK table with a LACK tabletop sitting vertically on top of it:

Behind the Book Making a Cover with Amy Renea of Crafting With Nature
Yes, that is a chicken coop being built in the background :)

The light reflects white onto the picture from the second tabletop for top down photos like this one.

The Process:

Step 1: The publishers sent samples of the image style they thought would work best for the book,
namely including materials and finished products in an artful way shot from the top down.

Step 2: I grabbed some materials and finished products I had from the book and took a sample shot. 

Behind the Book Making a Cover with Amy Renea of Crafting With Nature

Step 3: I evaluated the lighting and placement of items and made adjustments over and over again. My publishers had sent me an idea of what they were going for with the text, so I knew the text was going to be in the upper right and lower left when looking at the cover vertically and I needed to leave those white spaces. (see above, the white space in upper left and lower right when oriented horizontally)  The next few shots were moving things around to see how many more projects or ingredients I could get into the frame without A. losing the necessary white space and B. getting too cluttered.

Behind the Book Making a Cover with Amy Renea of Crafting With Nature

I liked the lavender bits across from the lavender hearts, but lost the lower white the clippers...
Behind the Book Making a Cover with Amy Renea of Crafting With Nature
Too little heart, but gained the earrings -- like those!  Lost the clippers too....hmmm

Behind the Book Making a Cover with Amy Renea of Crafting With Nature
 Better, but I blew out the whites and you can't see the lotion bars in the middle...

Before I bore you though....just imagine that process with 150 or so photos.

The Submission

I sent in several variations, some with the clay tools in the corner that ended up making the final cover below (one of my favorite details!).  Once the designers got their hands on the cover, it got MUCH better!  They tweaked and arranged and photoshopped until it was *just* right. I asked for the "Nature" font by name with a light watercolor effect, while the designers picked coordinating fonts for the remainder of the book and made the finishing touches on the photo.  All in all, it took about a month from the first photo request until the cover was finalized. It was surprisingly one of the fastest portions of the entire book writing process. The cover officially looks like this:

Make your own coconut oil.
Gather your own sea salt.
Grow your own grapevines for wreaths.
Give gifts naturally grown and crafted from your backyard garden.

Each chapter focuses on a plant or groups of plants and how to grow them in your home garden.  Then, gather up those natural ingredients and get crafting! From lavender wreaths and hypertufa planters to lambsear angels and pickled tomatoes, there are projects for beginners on up!

Crafting with Nature is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books a MillionPOWELL's! (!!!!)  Booktopia (Australia!), IndieBoundAlibrisGlose.comThe Book Depository and  Books are also rolling out to retailers and libraries, so check for them there. 
 If your library does NOT have it yet, this is why you should talk to your librarian!

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