SOUTH SHORE ENTREPRENEUR: Chris Correia
By Stephanie Simon
Romance novel fanatics know Chris Correia’s work well. It’s what draws so many readers to grab a book off the shelf and start turning the pages.
The 29-year-old Stoughton native is a book cover photographer whose talent, passion and hard work, mixed with a little luck, have helped him build his 4-year-old business, CJC Photography.
Correia set up his photo business in 2011 after finishing a course at the New York Institute of Photography. He and a graphic designer built a website and Correia went to work, doing everything from baby showers to head shots.
“When I started, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do so I tried a ton of different things, hoping to rule out what I definitely didn’t want,” said Correia. “Eventually, model portfolios stood out as what I really liked because it wasn’t a chore, and that’s when everything moved to the next level.”
In 2013, author Sophie Monroe was looking for images for the cover of her new book, “Afflicted,” and liked what she saw in some stock photos on CJC’s fan page. She purchased a photo from Correia, and made it her book cover.
“Since then I’ve shot a total of 54 book covers,” Correia said. “Within photography it’s my sole objective and niche.”
Correia negotiates with models and authors to come up with a price and design that will suit the book.
Stock images from Correia’s website start at $400, and that includes exclusive rights to the image. Custom photo shoots start at $700 and go up based on the author’s need.
He does most of his shoots outside to use natural light and cut costs.
“Beginner models could make a couple hundred dollars for one cover and then, depending on how famous the model is, the price would double, if not more,” he said.
Correia then gets the other portion for the book cover sale. His operating budget is low because he says all he needs is his camera, editing software and lighting equipment. Since he started the company, Correia says he has spent about $3,000 on upgrading equipment and software.
Often, Correia works with a model on a speculative basis. They do a photo shoot that may take two to four hours. He then adds the images to his stock photos online that authors can purchase. Once a photo is sold, he and the model are paid separately by the author.
In a custom shoot, Correia may take 400 photos and the author has the rights to two edited photos out of the 400, with the option to buy more.
He still maintains his day job in marketing, but hopes CJC will be his main source of income within the next five years.
Correia develops clients and promotes his business through social media and by wearing company apparel at book signings. He plans to have 50 more book covers by the end of this year and do his 10th cover with his model sister, Allie. Correia also wants to add graphic design to his repertoire.
“I’ve done so much in a little time frame, and done it without an agent,” Correia said. “It can be difficult, but it’s what I like, so it’s not work.”