The Making of a Book Cover: The Day of the Photo Shoot

By CrossRiver editor Debra L. Butterfield

Road to Deer RunIs that an awesome book cover, or what!

Photo shoot day arrived: Saturday, 12 p.m. The mercury pushed up over 80 degrees and the humidity rivaled a steam room. Summer in the Midwest. Thankfully a light layer of clouds kept the temp from hitting 90.

Photographer Jackie Dix arrived, and we introduced ourselves. She scoped the location I had chosen while we waited for our models, Tanner and Blair, to arrive.

Photographer Jackie Dix

Photographer Jackie Dix checking camera angles

We didn’t wait long. The girls stepped out of the car wearing shorts, tank tops, and flip flops. I had advised them to dress cool as they would have to don costumes that would make them hot.

I had 2 carry-all size bags that held our needed costume items, bottles of water, and clean towels to wipe away our perspiration. With Tanner’s and Blair’s help we grabbed the bags and trudged through 100 feet or more of knee-high field grass to our little grove.

Blair donned the basic white shirt she’d brought, and slipped on a zip-up denim vest I had brought. The vest was cut in the style we needed for the clothes of that era; I knew we could fix any issues in Photoshop.

With the help of a belt and safety pins, Jackie draped my sheet around Blair, fluffing it here and there to create a skirt. They moved out into the grass and Jackie began clicking pictures for Promise of Deer Run, (book 2 of the Deer Run Saga).

Because we needed Blair to dance around in the grass, the sheet kept coming out of place. We had to stop now and then to readjust things. Adjusting the costume

While Jackie photographed Blair, I filled Tanner in on the scenario for her pictures for Road to Deer Run. She was convinced her sister got the easier role to play.

Then it was time for Tanner. Something had been bothering her eye all day and the sunlight was making it worse. Her eyes burned, and she had difficulty not squinting. She put on her white shirt and hooked the cloak in place. The cloak was long and full enough that we didn’t even create a skirt for her. I handed her my red jacket and had her crumple it up, then pulled a sleeve free to hang down against the cloak.

prepping for Tanner's photos

Prepping for Tanner’s photos

Jackie positioned Tanner next to and somewhat behind a tree. Being in the shade of the trees brought some relief to Tanner’s eye. Jackie began clicking pictures as I continued to explain the emotion we need Tanner to depict.

“There are terrorists chasing you through this forest and if they catch you, they’ll kill you.” It worked, and Jackie’s camera whirred.

The whole photo shoot only took an hour, but it seemed much longer out in that heat, the back of my shirt wet with sweat.

A Word from Our Models

“I thought it was neat to be chosen to be on the cover of a book,” Tanner said. “The overall experience of the photo shoot was great! It was fun to meet and work with new people.”

Blair said, “I thought it was a fun experience, considering I want to get in the modeling business. I’m hoping this opportunity opens a door for me. I also like the fact that even though I’m from a small town, I was chosen to be on the front cover of a book.”

Final Steps

In the following days, Jackie uploaded the photos to Dropbox for our review. Tamara, Elaine, and I talked by phone while we reviewed the pictures online. We had such a difficult time choosing. Rather reminded me of being at the optometrist’s office, “Is #1 or #2 better?” By process of elimination, we chose the final photo.

Now it was time for Jackie, graphic designer extraordinaire, to do her magic. When we saw the final product, we were all amazed, not only at how wonderful it looked, but also at what she had added to my red jacket through the wonders of Photoshop to make a simple red suit coat look just like a British officer’s uniform.

We hope you’ve enjoyed The Making of a Book Cover. If you missed parts 1, 2, or 3, links are provided below.

Next week on November 10, Road to Deer Run will go live on Goodreads. Be sure to visit and enter for a chance to win a free copy.

If you haven’t already signed up to receive our newsletter, do so today. Our November issue will include Mary Thomsen’s cornbread recipe, an excerpt from the book, and a discount code to purchase the book. (need to provide the email sign up link)

Author Elaine Marie Cooper

About Elaine Marie Cooper

Novelist Elaine Marie Cooper is the award-winning author of Bethany’s Calendar, the Deer Run saga (The Road to Deer Run, The Promise of Deer Run and The Legacy of Deer Run), and Fields of the Fatherless. Her passions are her family, her faith in Christ and the history of the American Revolution, a frequent subject of her historical fiction. She grew up in Massachusetts, the setting for many of her novels.

Elaine  is a contributing writer to Fighting Fear, Winning the War at Home by Edie Melson, and I Choose You, a romance anthology. Her freelance work has appeared in both newspapers and magazines, and she blogs regularly at as well as her own blog on her website at

Related Articles:
The Making of a Book Cover: Prep Work
The Making of a Book Cover: Finding Costumes
The Making of a Book Cover: It All Comes Together

  1. Janet GrunstJanet Grunst11-05-2015

    What a fun and informative post, Debra.
    It gives one a real appreciation for all the details involved in creating a book cover.

    • Deb ButterfieldDeb Butterfield11-05-2015

      Thanks, Janet. I’m glad you enjoyed it. After getting past the costume issues, I had a lot of fun with the whole project.