A reader submitted this question to our Ask Bethany House survey, “I know you all do a lot of videos on the design part of your covers, but can you tell me more about the process for choosing a model or costume (especially for historical novels)?”
This is actually a question I don’t know how to answer! So instead of making things up, I sent it to Kristen Larson, who handles this area. I threw in a few bonus questions about cover design logistics too, mainly because I wanted to know them.
Kristen Larson is the Assistant Art Director for Bethany House Publishers and Chosen Books. Among a myriad of other tasks, the bulk of her work consists of assisting the art directors in the creation of book covers, choosing cover treatments and materials, and working with marketing, editorial, designers and production to get each book perfected for the printer. So, basically, the ideal person to answer today’s question. Welcome, Kristen!
After getting a description from an author of their character, what’s your process for going from that to choosing the model for the photoshoot?
The process is both simple and complex! The designer combs through models through local talent agencies, either by exploring the website or reaching out to our representatives to help us narrow down options. We always work hard to find the right model to fit the description the author has provided for us! We also keep in mind models we’ve used in the past to make sure we haven’t used them on a recent book cover. However, if we are only seeing the back of the model or if the model is very small on the book cover where the face isn’t recognizable, we’ll sometimes reach out to some of the great talent we’ve worked with in the past. It’s fun being able to use those models a second, or even third, time!
Where do you get those costumes, especially for historical dresses? And how do you choose the color and style?
Historical costumes come from all over the place. We have used local costume outlets, online rental facilities, and have even ordered from overseas! If it’s an especially complex costume, we’ve gone so far as to have them custom made!
Do you have a favorite dress or two that you’ve helped pick out?
The dress we used on Verity by Lisa T Bergren was a fun one!
Any fun photoshoot memories you’d like to share with us?
I was recently at the photoshoot for Turn to Me by Becky Wade. We all fell in love with the male model we found for the hero, he fit the description perfectly. As an added bonus, his real life girlfriend was able to pose as the heroine! They were such a fun couple to shoot and really brought life to the cover. It’s one of note for sure!
I learned so much from this interview. Thanks so much for sharing, Kristen!
How about you, readers? Is there a costume on a cover (Bethany House or not) that stands out to you?