Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Shooting Zombies (It's Not What You Think)

Three words describe the millionth reason why I love my job(s):

Zombie photo shoot.

If you know me at all, you'll understand just how exciting this was. I've had the idea for the second book in my head for nearly a year, and couldn't wait to actually make it happen. Whenever there's anything involving zombies that I can sink my creative hands into, I'm all over it!

As many of you know, the cover for The Day Zombies Ruined My Perfectly Boring Life was done with a friend's fifteen-year-old daughter who used to babysit my kids. Somehow I talked her into taking the tags off her brand new prom dress and stepping into the woods behind my house. We paid to have her hair done, then went crazy and messed it up to make her look like she had been living in the wild a few days. She was a total trooper.

Today I used one of my very first babysitters turned good friend who was a total champ. I feel kind of guilty as each of the zombie models I've used are gorgeous girls, and would've been better used for covers of some romantic love story. But we all know my novels involve paranormal love stories, so that may never happen.

The first step was to make my friend look like the undead using Halloween makeup, homespun honey, oatmeal, fake blood, and toilet paper (yep, you read that last ingredient correctly, and yes we used clean toilet paper). I was fortunate enough to have an extremely talented professional makeup artist transform me into a terrifying zombie last year, and picked up a couple of tricks. The best part about doing these photo shoots is that the makeup doesn't have to be perfect since it's a far away shot, and I can later add techniques to give the picture a cartoonish effect. But honestly, I think I did a pretty decent job on her wound for an amateur (seriously, this was way too much fun).

The second step was to wait for just the right outdoor conditions. Since it's mentioned in the second story that there are many fields left unharvested, I wanted to catch the corn right before it was ready to go this fall (which will be way later than usual with all the crazy weather we had this summer). And as a photographer, I knew I had to wait until the sun was just at the right place in the sky so my subject wouldn't get washed out. Turns out 10:00 a.m. this morning was nearly the perfect time. And we had blue skies—another bonus!

The last step was to find the right pose. I didn't want her just standing there as that's basically what I had the model do for my first book. But the trickiest part is for neither of us to laugh, and take the fact seriously that we're two adults standing in the middle of a corn field, one of us dressed like a crazy person and the other dressed like a zombie (hey, I didn't want to get any fake blood on me). My friend was worried she didn't do a serious enough face, so I had her yelling, and it turned out amazing. The final result? You'll just have to wait for the final cover reveal to find out!

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Anonymous said...

That looks like so much fun. Great makeup!

Sheena-kay Graham said...

Excellent work. It sounds fun creating your own cover from scratch.

SK Anthony said...

Sounds like so much fun! I think you did an awesome job with the make up :D

Unknown said...

That's so cool!

Carrie Sullivan said...

So awesome that you create the stories *and* the covers! So much fun!

SF said...

So cool! And what skill you have to be able to do all this!! I wonder what the final product looks like.... :P

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