Shooting Railings

You know you’ve been a book cover photographer for too long when you can’t walk past a set of old railings without wanting to take a few shots. The stark lines standing out against a moody sky or a clear background are an opportunity to create strong images.

So first – shot on film on an Olympus SLR and probably with the Zuiko 50mm F1.4, toned with a light orange filter in Photoshop. The out of focus background lifts the shot nicely.


Can’t remember anything about this one so it’s probably digital on the 60D but the symmetry is good.


This one is on a Fuju 810 converted to infra red. These gates are quite delicate and were once very ornate with vine leaves and fruit growing out from the now heavily distorted spiral shapes.


Onto something very modern and nowhere near as pretty Stark security on an industrial estate, layered and tweaked in DXO filmpack.


OK – it’s a picket fence not railings – but I thought I’d try and get away with it! High contrast suited this nicely with the detail receding into the distance. Canon 60D.


This one is definitely the 60D plus a Sweet 35 Lensbaby from a low angle using the flip screen. The bright halo around the bokeh highlights is typical of this lens at wide apertures.


Fuji F810 again with the curves of the railings complementing the curves of the celtic cross.


60D + Lensbaby glass lens. The hand like leaves in the top right were a nice – if lucky – break for this one! Lightly toned and layered.


As always these shots are taken for the book cover market, and all comments, critiques and questions are welcome.

Thanks for looking – hope you like them and they give you some creative ideas for your photography.


8 thoughts on “Shooting Railings

  1. These are really great! And I can see them on book covers…
    I would really like to take pictures for a purpose like that! But how do you get into that market? And how does it work? Do you “have to” deliver 500 pictures per year, or can you slowly fill your picture stock?
    Very interesting post and I just love your railings!
    Have a nice day

  2. Thanks Marie.
    To start you’ll need to find an agency that suits your style, then submit a sample of about 20 to 50 shots and get accepted. After that you can usually submit as few or as many as you like – the more submitted the better the chance of a sale. The agency takes a commission (40 to 50%) and you keep the rest. It shouldn’t cost anything to join.

    The advantage is that it’s a real incentive to keep shooting and try new things, as well as providing funds for kit and film.

    The downside (apart from keywording) is that you might just end up seeing the world as an endless series of book cover opportunities and never use landscape format again!

    There’s a more detailed explanation on my ‘Rights Managed Stock’ tab.

    Thanks for the comment!


  3. This whole notion of being a book cover photography fascinates me. I’m not sure I’d look at your images and think ‘oh yeah that is a book cover for sure’. But since you mentioned it here, and elsewhere on your blog, that its indeed what you do, I look at your images slightly differently and now think ‘Of course its a book cover, this image screams (fill in blank) type book’

    Cheers, Jeff

    • Hello Jeff – Its an interesting niche as it’s always changing, and you never know what the book cover designers are going to choose. There’s also a need to keep up with the latest trends in design so it’s never dull!
      Thanks for the comment.

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