Behind the Scenes of a Western Romance cover shoot

by Adrienne Macintosh, Editor

Editor confession: in eleven years with Harlequin I have never been to a cover shoot. I know, it’s a horrible oversight. But today I’m rectifying that. I’m going to the cover shoot for the October Harlequin Western Romance books—and I’m taking you with me!

Developing a cover is a long and multidimensional process that includes many highly skilled professionals such as the editor (me!), the senior editor, the marketing rep, the art director and, oh yeah, some hot cowboys! And for Western Romance covers, we also have a few really cute little kids. They’re not always the most reliable of models, but nothing will melt your heart faster than an adorable kid wearing cowboy boots like these! These boots are so sweet and tiny, aren’t they?

boots

The art director also works with a wardrobe stylist who purchases some accessories in advance, like clothing and jewelry for the female model as well as precious little outfits for our Western tykes. I know what you’re thinking—how do I get that job? Sadly, no one would give me a straight answer.

baby-clothes

While the teeny models are being outfitted, the male model is being transformed into a cowboy. First he starts off with a little makeup (yes, cowboys wear makeup). Then, after he’s been outfitted in the cowboy uniform of jeans and a chambray shirt, the art director chooses a hat for him from the Wall of Hats.

hats

A little insider tip: the color of the cowboy hat on the cover will often indicate something about the hero’s personality. If he’s an honorable, all-around good guy, he gets a white hat. If he’s working through some things on the way to his happy-ever-after, he might sport a black hat. See the hat on Danny from THE BULL RIDER’S REDEMPTION? White, because he’s a nice guy trying to save his small town in Arizona.

the-bull-riders-redemption

Next the art team gives the baby to the cowboy and starts taking cute picture after cute picture! Okay, there are a few hiccups along the way; sometimes the baby would rather be held by her mom than this brawny fellow. Don’t worry, kid, you’ll outgrow that. Eventually the model wins the baby over and we get this awesome photo!

the-cowboy-and-the-baby

The babies have to nap, so we say goodbye to them. Next up is a cover featuring a couple. The female model gets her makeup and hair touched up, then she’s given an outfit, too. The team brings in the barn. Well, it’s really just this wall prop. But it will be a barn after the art director works her magic! After a few different clinches and an outfit change, the art team is confident they have some good options.wall

This is the result—very romantic!

the-cowboy-takes-a-wife

We’ve only done two covers, and the day’s already gone! Unfortunately, I can’t come back to see how the other two go. But judging by the cover of RESCUING THE COWBOY, the amazing art team, as usual, has everything under control.

rescuing-the-cowboy

Meanwhile, after an exciting and interesting day, I take a shot at modeling myself before I head out. Yeah, better leave that to the professionals…

me-in-hat

 

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Comment ( 1 )
  1. Linda Wellinghoff
    September 22, 2016 at 8:05 am
    Reply

    I wonder why on most of your covers the hair on the men do not relate back to their description in the book. Do not the artists read the book? Should the author maybe leave the artist a description of the chosen ones for the cover. Look for yourselves. It happens over the entire range of your books. Love both just don’t like mismatched pictures and descriptions

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