2021 in #RomanceClassCovers Shoots

December 7, 2021 - - No comments


Previously, on #RomanceClassCovers:

1: Collabs and acquiring photos from fashion/style content creators.

2: Organizing our first shoot with Migs and Katrice.

3: Crowdfunding and organizing subsequent shoots with Rachel, Jef, Fred, Vanya, Gab, Gio, AJ, Cora, Bibo, Celine.

4: More shoots, with Bibo, Graie, Biel, JP, Alex, Liane, Rap, Sam, Jeanne, Ranjil, Carla, Jef.

5: Learning how to do shoots in a national lockdown.

2021 was our second year of doing shoots in lockdown mode—and we’re getting used to it? Even with variations in equipment and setup of our models, it’s not so much trouble to get it all together. We do this all on Zoom, and our models often just need a phone with the Zoom app, a decent internet connection, and a plain background in an area of their space that gets enough light. We’re often done in less than two hours, and then get ready for Sunday lunch. (We do shoots Sunday mornings, most often.)

This year a friend (let’s call her J) has been very helpful in casting cover models, and introduced us to Kirsten, Dre, Mela, and Dae. Sometimes it feels like we don’t know who could be willing to model for a romance book and then someone comes along who totally understands what we’re trying to do and happens to know an entire list of people. A hero!

Kirsten and Dre live in Australia and are married…so we got to do an actual couple shoot for my cover! They’re a fun pair and their dynamic is different from the characters we had them portray, but that’s not a problem at all and just makes for a fun shoot. In previous Zoom shoots a family member or significant other would be helping the model behind the scenes, but Kirsten and Dre were both in front of the camera so we had to use the phone timer (and maybe a remote? I forgot if that worked) to take their shots. One of those little adjustments.

Dae and Mela are going to be on a cover together but they were not in the same location when we did the shoot! We still had the Zoom meeting all together at the same time though, so they could “meet” and “act” and see how the other was doing their thing. Excited to see how this cover will turn out! (Mela is available to model again and she has awesome outfits. Note to self and others!)

A couple of shoots we did involved readers of our books as models. It’s a great experience too when this happens! We do say that we hope readers see themselves as our main characters, and another thing to literally do it and make a reader a cover model. Ailla has been on our invite list for a shoot for a while and I’m glad we were able to do it! Her setup was outdoors, with a green background, and family helping her out.

Gis has been an Instagram and Twitter friend for years, has been reading my books for maybe a bit longer, and I don’t even know why it took this long for me to invite her. No wait, I know—it’s because I’m not like J who has a quick eye for this and connected things in her head much faster! I’m a writer not a casting agent lol even if I have to try to be a lot of things when I publish. Anyway, not only is Gis someone who has read my books (so she understood what the book would likely be about and I didn’t have to explain all too much) but she also has a complete studio setup in her home. Her husband Allen took the shots using his DSLR, which was hooked up to the laptop and we were seeing it on Zoom. Everything was gorgeous.

So what did we learn from this year of doing Zoom shoots? It confirmed to me that a Zoom shoot is a shoot. It was and had been a substitute for “the real thing,” but the kind of photos and energy and options we now have because of it are absolutely the real thing. Having this option available is great even as we figure out how to return to studios, because it allows us to work with people who prefer being in their own space, or those who just live too far away.

It sounds like our experience was smooth and easy and now every publisher should do it. At first I was advocating for it, but now I realize that as with anything new, and maybe especially for something like this, you need to work with people you trust. Or people need to be able to trust you to want to say yes to something like this. There’s a lot of work that goes into that and it extends beyond the one or two hours that doing the shoot will take.

I think we did great work this year! Everyone has been so great and talented and amazing.


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About Mina

Mina V. Esguerra writes and publishes romance novels. She founded #RomanceClass, a community of Filipino authors of romance in English.
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