I am an erotic romance writer and do my own covers using stock photography. I have a line of "Curve" titles (Christa Wick - bbw erotic romance on Amazon/Barnes & Noble) and am at wit's end on maintaining a supply of photo (not illustration) covers.
Weight-based keywords give me mostly insulting covers (woman on scale, woman pinching fat, cellulite in abundance (celllulite doesn't inflict all plus-size women and even skinny women can have it), covers of pregnant women, unhealthy food or healthy food, etc.
I'm looking for sexy pictures with models like those on the clothing site hipsandcuves.com. Big girls, gorgeous skin, curves, well done make-up and hair, fashionable figure-enhancing clothes (or lingerie). I'm not super happy with the ones I currently have (no disrespect to the photographers, I have very specific wants/needs) and am not only looking for stock going forward, but to replace some of the barely bbw covers on existing books.
I'm not the only author with this problem. Just search bbw erotic romance on Amazon for Kindle and you'll see how big the market is. I know there are gorgeous models out there that fit the bill.
(Edited to add - don't forget to leave room for titles and such - so avoid arms away from body, etc.)
I have made a collection of positive/everyday pics of plus sized models. Not all of them are suitable for erotica, but if you click on the pictures of the models you like you might find what you are looking for. https://www.dreamstime.com/obesity-in-everyday-life-colldet11054
20-33 for age range. My personal preferences for the stories I write:
1. Vertical format 2. Caucasian 3. No tattoos/piercings visible 4. "BBW" is open - a 14 at the right angle will look bigger than she is. I prefer size not go beyond the largest lovelies on the site I referenced earlier (hipsandcurves.com) 5. Indoors (can be a solid color but, so I can block that out and slip a background behind it, hair has to not be a pain in photoshop) 6. Naturally colored hair (it doesn't mean it can't be died, just must look natural) 7. Tasteful makeup and natural or tasteful nails (no catwoman claws) if they are visible 8. No mere headshots (at least belly button up for area of body shown - I know there are focal length issues* which is why there are so many bloody headshots on stock sites) 9. Okay for model to look at the camera but all expressions should be discreet, convey character but not be exaggerated (particularly no hamming it up; body language also should not be exaggerated and in general, limbs should be close to the body). For body and expression, hipsandcurves.com is, again, a great example. A smiling mouth should be closed, an open mouth should not be smiling. (Yeah, I'm looking for very particular aesthetics.) 10. Keep the face clear of objects (no flowers, hands, etc.) 11. Absolutely no weight cliches (food, scale, fat pinching, exercising or exercise fashion, etc.) 12. Don't crop - leave it to the person making the cover to crop*
You can gmail wickedchrista if you have more detailed questions or for side deals (I don't know what the TOS on dreamstime is re side deals)
* I know for indoor shots, there are focal length issues. Funnily enough, my son is a photographer (but he is a photojournalist and doesn't work with models)
Thank you for the link. There are a couple in the there that are frustratingly close (and all of which I've seen before).
Maccleod Thank you for the suggestion but I can assure you (and my list to BC above probably demonstrates the point), this is not an issue of my having poor search abilities. As a writer, I keyword/SEO my content up the wazoo and have seen all those images (under exactly the search you suggest and several more) a couple dozen times over.
I will also add that I am on a forum with other erotica writers and a great many of them are starving for good BBW photos. We frequently have to use (under separate licenses, of course) the same photos, which makes the ability to crop for a new angle, etc., important. Anyone photographer who comes up with good shots with good models will have more than me buying from them! I'll let my fellow bbw writers know.
E.g. I have 40+ titles for bbw in my head. I do a couple of stories a month. I have 14+ already done and published, some of which could use more appropriate (smexier) covers. And, like I said, I have a bunch of smutty buds looking for their own covers!
I'll ask them to pop in and give any specific wants the have relative to bbw.
Yes, there's a bunch of hungry writers all trying to figure out how to use the same handful of sexy BBW images without looking like copycats. It's very frustrating. The site Christa mentions is a perfect reference. I could happily use just about any of them for covers!
Christa's list is perfection. I would add that ebook retailers also have restrictions on cover images that may seem a bit ridiculous, ie: no 'hand bras'.
ETA: Well, the photo doesn't show. Here's the link: www.hipsandcurves.com/plus-size-lingerie/images/product/medium/hc8975_mer.jpg
This gorgeous image would be filtered (meaning, not included in basic searches) because she's using her hand to cover her 'naughty bits'. A bra would be fine, hands (hers or someone else's) are a big no-no. That's not to say you should steer clear of it altogether, but you'll see limited downloads because a filtered cover = low book sales. Same goes for 'hand panties' and an excess of butt crack.
Perhaps it goes without saying (but I'll say it, just in case) that raw, graphic images of genitalia are not what we (or at least I) are looking for. Classy, sexy, sensual images of plus size ladies - with or without partners - are an upward trend.
Just popping in to *ditto* Christa. I'm in the same boat. I write BBW erotic romance and tend to put muscular men on my covers alone as finding images of curvier models to pair with them is difficult, if not impossible. While I'm not as prolific as Christa, I do publish 1-2 books per month.
Honestly, her guidelines/requests/preferences are spot on.
Here's a couple of images I own, but haven't used yet...
https://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photo-sweet-tooth-image21011755 *I plan/planned on removing the hand with the cake and cutting the spoon as well and tweaking her lip after removal.
https://www.dreamstime.com/stock-image-beautiful-plus-size-woman-image24799361 *This one, I just changed the dress color to go with what I was looking for.
For me, those just show a sexy/seductive curvy woman without having to flash skin all over the place. Obviously, tasteful skin is great if the model is comfortable, but it's not a requirement to me. I'd just pair a clothed, sexy, curvy chick with a shirtless man and call it good.
Yes yes yes! Please! I second everything Christa Said *waves to Christa* I too am a member of that writers group and verify everything Christa said. I'm not sure how photographers work but maybe a couple of tasteful pictures of sexy BBW in a silk/satin nighty standing beside a brass bed with a "come hither" look on her face?
Maybe something for us PS challenged writers so there's no need for a lot of tweaking?
Djk - that is a nice shot! It would be better if she had more body showing (and, again, leave it to the cover artist to crop in most cases). The background is unwanted noise for most authors (IMO), but because her hair is tightly wrapped and the clothes also are close to her body - it's easy to take out the background.
I just want to say thanks to Christa and the other authors who have taken time to provide details on the kinds of images you are looking for. It is very helpful to get this type of information, and the specifics you have given are exactly what we need to help produce the images that have a higher demand.
In addition to posting in this forum, you might also consider setting up a Dreamstime "collection" of the BBW images you have found. The disadvantage of a collection vs a lightbox is that the collection is public, and so any competitor will have access to the images you place in it and will not have to spend time doing as much searching. However, if this is not much of a concern, then having a public collection may encourage contributors to contact you with a request to add matching images into the collection. You can encourage this by advertising your collection by creating a blog post. The DT blogs get read by quite a few contributors, and many people advertise new collections this way. Be sure to go back and post a link to the blog in the description of the collection so that people will know where to send suggestions.
Also, out of curiosity, is the writer's forum you are part of strictly for romance authors, or is it for all genres?
Enigmacyper - thank you very much for the suggestion. I will look into doing this soon.
The forum is erotica and erotic romance only and is restricted access/invite only. However, artists/photographers looking for insight on how to shoot specifically for cover art can participate on the Writer's Cafe on kindleboards (KB) - http://www.kindleboards.com/index.php/board,60.0.html - this is all genres, to include non-fiction. There are rules for posting "solicitations", so you'll want to check over the rules for that section of KB before posting any kind of ad for services.
I would also suggest looking for indie published books on the top 100 genre lists within Amazon. It won't always be the case that the cover helped sell the book (there are some high-selling books with awful covers!). To effectively browse - go to the kindle bookstore for fiction at http://www.amazon.com/Fiction-eBooks-Kindle/b/ref=amb_link_355831402_13?ie=UTF8&node=157028011&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=left-1&pf_rd_r=10Z9ZE14JZ9E9S2Z5ZPA&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=1438688222&pf_rd_i=1286228011 - then pick the genre you're interested in browsing from the left navigation. Top selling appear first. Indies aren't marked as such but your eye should be able to easily discern traditionally published from indie. Of course, optimum, is to produce stock that could serve as the base for a cover worthy of traditionally published.