Taria Reed: Digital Artist Interview/Spotlight

Monday, March 16, 2015

What is up everyone! I know we said we’re gonna throw random interviews at y’all from your fellow bloggers and authors that we just adore, buuuut we’re gonna switch this bad boy up and throw you a Cover Designer/Stock Photographer. You read that right! COVER DESIGNER! Know a few authors looking to jazz up their covers or take some awesome photos? Taria A. Reed can be that gal for you! 

We’re gonna start off with some basic question to let our readers get to know you better *cough* and to butter you up for our not so basic questions later *cough*

Hello! Go ahead and introduce yourself! -Name, Age (you know… if you want), how long have you been a cover designer/stock photographer?- Taria Reed 30something ;o) height 5’9” brasize more than a mouth full…lol. I’ve been a professional photographer for about 10yrs and a cover designer for 4yrs. I actually started shooting stock for my own designs then a few of my designer friends found out and nagged me to stop being selfish and put my images up for sale so they could have some fresh stock too…and in July 2013 that’s exactly what I did.

How long did it take you to start up your cover designing / stock photo bizz? My cover design business was done totally on a whim. I saw some fantasy art and fell in love. Until that point I only used photoshop to retouch portraits, using it for design is a whole other beast and I wanted to learn. In the beginning I was up at 6amand went to bed at 3am watching tutorials, learning techniques, and getting better. I did that for about a month straight. Sleep is highly overrated…lol. In august of 2011 I sent the few art pieces I created to a few publishers and I was immediately hired by two of them. I’ve been steadily adding to my client base since then.

Is there a process (thought or otherwise) that you go through before designing a cover and or having a photo shoot? I actually stalk an author’s social media when I get a cover assignment for them. I try to get an idea of their personality and limits. If an author posts pics of naked ass all over their page then I know that author is ok with me going sexy for their cover (synopsis permitting). If the post puppies and butterfly pics with quotes from the bible, then I know to tame it down and not get too risqué.

via Taria's FB Cover Artist Page

Do you remember your very first cover? Do you think you've grown as a designer since then? My very first cover was an interesting experience and not in a good way. So remember I told you that I was creating art pieces to each myself techniques and such? Well I would post those art pieces on facebook and twitter. I was contacted by an indy author asking if I could redesign the cover for her existing release. I was so proud that this total stranger found me and my work and wanted to PAY me to do this job. You couldn’t tell me anything that entire day…lol. Well long story short she didn’t want me to design the cover she wanted me to be a tool for her vision. None of my style, or talent went into that cover, it was all her. I hated the cover and looking back, I wouldn’t have taken that job. She used me because she can’t manipulate images or photoshop herself. My lesson: Make sure someone wants my style and talent reflected on their cover before accepting a job.

What/who’s cover have you designed most recently? Recently I’ve designed for authors such as Selena Kitt, Belinda Boring, Ancelli, Harper Miller, & Laurel Cremant.

Some stock sites don’t offer a lot of diverse pictures/characters. Do you get called/requested for a lot of diverse covers? I honestly get a good variety of requests for all sorts of covers. Just in the past year or so has the IR author community taken notice in me and shown interest.

What sets your site apart from other stock sites? The fact that I have diverse models posing together is the main thing. I listen to what my fans want to see. I watch trends and see what everyone is writing. Someone said how hard it was to find black women posing with Asian men so I went out and got an Asian man (who’s hotter than hell) to pose with two of my veteran female models of color and WOW those were some hot pics.

oh damn! 

Piggybacking off of Ana’s earlier question, can you let us know just a few names of some authors that you've have worked with? I've designed for a good variety of authors writing in many genres. Here are a few: historicals (Hildie McQueen & Natasha Blackthorn) paranormal (Selena Kitt, Laurel Cremant, & Cora Blu) New Adult (Emme Rollins) erotic (Harper Miller & Olivia Poe) contemporary (Anne Lange, KC King, Kortni Renea, KayAnna Kirby, and horror (Joseph J. Christiano) inspirational romance (Nona Mae King)

What does a typical photo shoot consist of? No photo shoot is ever typical…lol. There are usually about 7-10 people in the studio on shoot day so it’s always hectic. OK that’s what’s typical, the madness…lol. Once models get to the studio they unpack and go to makeup. I’ve usually pulled out whatever outfits or props we’ll need ahead of time so while one model is in makeup I’m chatting with the others going over what we will be working on that day. I try to show them samples of images to help them get the idea of what I want. Shoots are full of loud 80s music, singing, laughing, and LOTS of cursing. Yeah I warn everyone that I cuss like a sailor.

If someone was interested in modeling for you, how would they go about say applying? do they send you pictures? are some referred to you? I have people contacting me all the time that their niece would be an awesome model or their neighbors grandson’s friend would look fantastic on a cover. Most times the inquiry doesn't go anywhere because I’m in NJ and the potential model is in a snow dune in Michigan or something like that…lol. But if the potential model is close enough I always extend the invitation to come to a shoot day so they can see what it’s really about. It’s easy enough to be hot but romance modeling is a whole other animal.

What are some requirements that you expect from your models? I usually talk to my models a bit before we schedule a shoot. I need them to first and foremost be comfortable in their skin. I need them to be ok with invading someone’s personal space and have it look natural and sensual. Deer in headlights look doesn't work for us…lol. And last and most important I need them to be professional. I ask them to get down to their underwear/lingerie in some cases and guys will be guys and things “come up” I make sure I have that talk ahead of time to let everyone know if that happens we will just take a break, have some snacks, and sing some songs until things get under control. Professionalism and communication is key.

Do you have a favorite model that you love to work with? and why? I have a few favorite models I work with. They all bring something unique to the table and nail any situation I put them in. Take off your pants? No problem, get on your knees? No problem. Press her against the wall? No problem. Give me “O” face? Big or little? …..lol.

You have a wonderful array of photos on your design and stock site. Can you share a smidgen of a photo/photos with our viewers? Absolutely!! I’m all about taking any opportunity to share some of my images. See below. 

Blitz Questions

Have there any bloopers on set? Bloopers? HAHAHA!! I sometimes post an outtake or two on my stock fan page, but in my studio there’s a flat screen tv in the back. When It’s shoot day I have a continuous slideshow FULL of outtakes and bloopers running. It helps the models realize that we are there to have a good time as well as get great images. We definitely have blooper/outtake videos on 
the fan page. ;o)

How do you get your models to relax...prepare for a shoot? I usually talk about the most RANDOM things you can think of. My team and I start conversations to engage all the models and we are just genuinely silly. Most times the conversation and music is enough. Other times I’ve been known to send a model to the bar across the street with some cash and tell them to have a drink or two. It’s rare that a model is so uptight that they just can’t relax but it does happen from time to time.

Coffee, Tea or Soda?  Green Tea or Mint Tea. If I’m in the mood for soda it’s MUG or A&W root beer but that’s not too often.

If you can choose any one of your male models to run away with, which one would he be? oh goodness, just one? They all bring something different to the table. I’d have to say Henry Cavil….oh wait, he hasn’t posed for me yet. ;o)

Music or Nah? Music is a necessity!! I always shoot with my 80s pop station playing on Pandora. If we can’t get that I play my ipod on shuffle and then I apologize profusely for my mixed bag of music…lol.

What was the last book you read? I’ve been on a historical highlander kick so the last thing I listened to was My Wild Highlander by Vonda Sinclair. I’m a huge audio book whore so with 3 businesses to run, two boys to keep alive and out of trouble, one husband who can never find anything that’s right in front of his face, and a full email inbox I never find time to read actual books. So for me audio books are a blessing.

Pfft… Boxers, Briefs or COMMANDO? Realistically I like boxer briefs but there’s something so sexy knowing that he’s going commando.

Finally, if an author and/or model wanted to get in contact with you Taria, how can they?

Fan her on 

Stock Site: www.TheReedFiles.com
Design Site: www.TariaReed.net

Don't Be Shy...Check out Taria's sites. Yes, we are talking to you Internet :D 

Note: Taria let us use a great lineup of photos for this post (because she is frigging awesome as all hell!). These photo's belong to the Reed Files.

*remember to click on the blog post to share it...many thanks!


  1. The before after is really neat. Love that she has variety with her cover models :D

  2. I love the behind the scenes look at cover art and stock photo work. Great interview, Taria, Ana and Sharonda!

  3. We should totally be cover models! They can photoshop my shit and I'll look like a fucking goddess! LOL

    I love her work, it's very sexy. And I laughed on "more than a mouthfull"

  4. @Braine TS lols. sign me up! I wanna be a goddess too!

    I definitely agree, her work is amazing and I'm absolutely in love with all the multiracial shots. Amazing.

  5. Hi @Monlat Reader! Thanks for stopping by :)

  6. Aren't they just amazing?! Thanks for stopping by @Sophia Rose :)

  7. I thought so too @Anna@herding cats&burning soup. Thanks for stopping by!

  8. Thanks Monica! Taria is just fun to work with :D

  9. Thanks @Sophia Rose ;) Aren't the pics wonderful...I love the diversity of them...just wonderful

  10. I thought she did a awesome job...she has a great number of them on her FB page. You got check her out :)

  11. This is an informative and fun interview, and enjoyed comments about covers and photography that we never really get to hear about. Kudos.

  12. thanks @RO! Yep, which is why Ana & I wanted to do it. I think sharing other aspects of the book world is something to look into and Taria is just the best :D

  13. This is so cool Sharonda, and totally different. What a fun occupation to have.
    She's very talented, Beautiful covers! I love art in any form, and it's got be such a blessing to get paid for doing something you love to do.
    Thanks, very cool indeed!

  14. Thanks @Loupe Duffy! Ana & I, when we started the blog together wanted to focus on not just reviewing books, but a little bit of everything and it's nice to get a look at all sides of the book world :) Taria is really cool and her work is gorgeous. I follow her on FB and she just puts out the most amazing stuff.

    it's wonderful to actually do a job you love...very cool indeed :D

    thanks for stopping by :)