As a cover artist - specifically for romance and erotic covers - there are several requests my colleagues and I have regarding what we need. I would like to list them here and perhaps augment this list as time goes on. I've listed some areas as well as detailed specifics about what we need for photos. I will also try to list the keywords I usually search for in these categories. Perhaps I'm just not using the proper search terms, but at least you'll a) know what keywords you can add to your pictures and b) perhaps let me know what might get me better results. And let your imagination run wild! Thank you!!!
There is DEFINITELY a Market for This I freelance for an eBook publisher, but I also create print and eBook covers for many self-published authors. I see so many wonderful models that are attractive...and then their looks are wasted on ONLY commercial shots. When working with an attractive model - ESPECIALLY a pair/couple - PLEASE start to include in your photo sessions some shots that you might imagine on a book cover versus a phone center ad or a corporate presentation. There's a huge need for this with all the self-published books and eBook publishing companies. One of my favorite couples who have been in both commercial and romantic shots: https://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-images-young-couple-image2560269 GREAT chemistry and such a variety. But I can't keep using them. :(
Romance & Erotic Genre - Top-Selling Genre in America Specifically for romance novel covers, we're very interested in couples (gay and straight) who are ATTRACTIVE and in romantic embraces or poses or almost kissing. Sorry to be so blunt or sound rude, but I see a lot of everyday couples in romantic poses in the stock images databases and customers just don't buy average Janes and Joes on covers. They use these books to escape and they want handsome men who are fitness models/muscular and beautiful women. However, there is also a growing genre of plus-size women romances and the men are usually pretty hot in those. So beautiful, plus-size women with muscular men would be helpful! KEYWORDS: erotic couple, romantic couple, sensual couple, muscular man, beautiful woman, beautiful couple, embrace
If you want to know what we're looking for in poses, visit the many eBook web sites. You can also visit Jimmy Thomas' web site romancenovelcovers.com. We, as cover artists, love Jimmy and what he provides, but sadly we are getting tired of seeing his handsome face on book covers and we're looking for other options. Jimmy is on over 2500 covers, so there is definitely a market for this kind of photography. He's on this site too: https://www.dreamstime.com/stock-images-ethnic-striper-woman-red-seducing-businessman-image10905154, https://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photography-sexy-woman-prostitute-seducing-man-brothel-image22702442, https://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photography-young-couple-naked-man-woman-love-kissing-image23436687, https://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photo-sensual-heterosexual-couple-lingerie-bed-image18760265, and https://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photo-loving-young-sensual-couple-champagne-bed-image15349445. Obviously, you can look up "other images with these models" to see more of Jimmy if you wish to see more on this site.
Also, for the romance covers, please do not encourage your models to look at the camera too often, thereby breaking that "fourth wall" with the reader. Usually, the book cover is a peek into a romantic moment in the book. This is okay for other subject matter such as suspense, thriller, detective, etc., but I personally use more pictures of off-camera stares. About 90% of the time, I'd rather the subject NOT look at the camera.
Suggestions for All Genres For all genre covers, it's easier as an artist to use the FULL BODY or 3/4 shot of the subject than it is to use pictures where the arms, head, legs, etc. are cut off at the edge of the picture. There's a great photo of a muscular, bare back of a man holding a sword that goes down his spine. I can't use it because his elbows and top of his head have been cut off. He would have been great to include in a cover I just did featuring a knight! https://www.dreamstime.com/male-back-sword-image361893. Or this one: https://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-image-assassin-greed-image20778286 Great shot! But I'd have a better chance using it if it was a full-body, head-to-toe shot. Also, I have many authors requesting that the hero/heroine be shown "walking away", but have problems finding pictures of people doing just that. We like it, but they don't have to always look over their shoulder. We're looking for people we can place on a path up the center of the book, so a direct back-shot would be great and full body, or walking down a road away from the reader, or down a front walk leading to a front door. We don't have to see faces.
I think it might encourage more income for the photographer to have full-body or 3/4 shots since not only can we zoom in and use the picture as we need to for the cover, it encourages us to buy the higher resolution since we need to zoom in. And we LOVE shots on neutral backgrounds in the studio. Studio lighting is easier for us to work with to match models from other shoots AND we can put the models in ANY setting we want by eliminating the mono-color background.
And please include interracial in any of the categories mentioned. And spice it up a bit...I see a lot of Caucasian men with ________ race females. What about the other way around?
Here's a smattering of what my fellow artists and I are looking for...
Historical Models Stories that need historical figures usually fall in the following time periods: Medieval, Renaissance, Georgian, Regency, Victorian England, and Victorian/Western. Romantic poses, embraces and even these people standing alone where we can piece the models we like together if we need to. Needed also for fantasy fiction, so anything that looks like it came out of Lord of the Rings. KEYWORDS: historical, historical couple, historical romance, Medieval, renaissance, Georgian, Regency, Victorian, western, historical western
Gay Men I never have a problem with finding attractive female/female pictures in stock images. What's missing are attractive male/male shots in romantic poses, clothed and unclothed for romance and erotica. The kind of males we're specifically looking for are the same for the romance novel covers - alpha men, handsome and muscular. I live close to LA...aren't there tons of gorgeous gay men willing to pose with each other? I know many heterosexual models don't like doing this. Male/male erotica is a HOT selling genre and 95% of the readers (so I'm told) are straight women! We're starving for these images and piecing two men together in suggestive ways is sometimes restricted in the usage according to the license. HELP! Any of the following categories could also use male/male shots or at least releases and they don't have to be kissing. In fact, we usually don't want them kissing, but ALMOST kissing instead. Even having three hot guys standing in a picture together in suggestive poses is a big help. KEYWORDS: Gay men, erotic male,
Professionals We have a variety of needs in this area, so I will list them here: --HOT male and female detective or law enforcement (LE) looking people. Needed for thrillers, suspense, detective, mystery and romance novels. Need them alone and in romantic poses. Female detective/LE with civilian, male detective/LE with female civilian, as well as tough guy with tough girl. A suit, jeans and leather jacket, or any tough guy/girl look will work well for this. Think mostly undercover cop or private eye action hero/heroine. KEYWORDS: hot detective, sensual detective, private investigator, female detective, male detective, law enforcement, tough guy, tough girl
--HOT male and female action figures. Needed for paranormal and action fiction. We need men and women wielding swords, knives and martial arts weapons OR at least holding a wooden stick so we can piece in our own weapons. We'll take what we can get, but please have your models at least look like they've handled that weapon before. Black attire, leather and jeans, form-fitting clothes, or the detective-look all work well. KEYWORDS: tough guy, tough girl, tough couple, sword fighting, sword wielding, knife fighting, knife wielding
--Medical staff! So many attractive doctors and medical staff in the stock images here...NONE of them in romantic poses! Any close contact, intimate poses (e.g., foreheads touching, holding hands, suggestive poses that imply they're stepping into personal space in a professional environment) would be most helpful!! KEYWORDS: doctor, medical staff, medical romance, doctors in love, labcoat romance
--Office co-workers or boss/subordinate - There is a little bit of this, but amp it up with attractive models. Again, so many attractive professionals and ONLY commercial shots for ads and business presentations. KEYWORDS: office romance, attractive professional, attractive business woman/man
I hope I did not offend! I hope this gives you the information you need as a photographer to add a few things to your next photo shoot. If you have the gumption to do a photo shoot specifically to start filling this niche...OMG I love you!!! Please let me know if you have any questions.
Great article. I guess one of the problems we face as contributors is the NCV issue (no commercial value). DT is fairly good in this regard, much more understanding than many other agencies. But on all sites I'm wondering whether agencies take an over conservative approach and are reluctant to experiment with new or different genres.
As mentioned, DT is not too bad in this regard, but perhaps a comment on this issue from DT Admin would be helpful.
USM, EF-S 60mm F2.8 Macro, plus several others, studio lighting setup...
Thank you all very much for your positive comments. You guys are so awesome to be so open to input!!! Don't forget to post a link here when you upload some pictures. I'm so looking forward to seeing some new stuff. :D
By the way, if you'd like to see the covers I've created with your photos from Dreamstime, I encourage you to check out my online portfolio: http://www.mysticalpress.com/coverartportfolio.html I'm available at arial (at) arialburnz (dot) com or publish (at) mysticalpress (dot) com if you have any questions or want to partner on some graphics projects.
Really happy you like them! I will bare you in mind when I do sessions although I don't want to do anything too sexy as its not my style nor do I want my models used in that sort of way...but the romance is great and I have always wanted to shoot some oldy type romantic ones, so when I can find the appropriate clothing I will have a go :)