Book Covers

Some of my published work, and the details behind them. All these sold through Arcangel Images.

Please note – all image rights are owned by the publishers.

As the photographer you may never physically see the picture published  – it may be for a different region of the world or used in an unspecified magazine.


 The first – Murder Ballad some years ago.

 Taken on an Olympus 8080, which was a very good camera for it’s time, if a bit slow to write to it’s card.  The only editing by the client was to add a vignette.  Bashed up doors, gates, entrances are an irresistible subject.  Sometimes someone actually wants to buy one.

The other irresistible subject is graveyards – very dramatic and photogenic. Unfortunately no-one seems to wants to buy them…


 More spooky type stuff – an overgrown path near where I live.  Taken on a Sony P200 when out with the family (much to their amusement).

Another taken on the Olympus 8080 – 3 fake resin ‘wise monkeys’ bought in an antique shop, given a high contrast treatment. The white background was just a large sheet of white card.

This one was taken with a Jupiter 85mm F2 on an Olympus 620 – the softness seems to suit the subject.

This was taken on a walk in the winter on the roads near my house. The camera was a Canon G9 – a good illustration why it’s best to always have a camera on you!

Another Olympus shot – though the designer edited out the very nice autumn view below the branches…

Just the background is mine here – an infra red shot of some woodland near Weymouth to simulate moonlight (I’ll go over the camera conversion in another post).

Yet another Canon G9 shot – a crop from a harbour scene in Jersey (UK).

This was the result of playing about with some stuff found in the garage – in this case some large fish hooks from my old fishing kit. The designer has straighened out the hooks and made them cross at the bottom and added the fish scales background. It was originally shot on plain plain paper to allow designers maximum flexibility is terms of sizing and background. I think this was the Canon 60D but I’m not sure.

There are some nice downland roads nearby, this one’s lined with telephone poles, and the designer added the sky texture and the headlights (and some more telephone poles and wires). I think this was taken on the Olympus 620.

This one is quite strange (they all are you might think). I went out to the local heathland to photograph ‘ripples’ and completely missed the stone dropping on this one, but the surrounding natural ‘vignette’ and branches seemed nice. Taken with the 60D.

The the best yet – taken on the Canon 60D and heavily post processed with several layers. This was taken on a drive into Wiltshire for lunch with the 60D.

Added December 2012 – two  more!


The background for this one was shot on Kodak Ektar – the designer ‘comped in’ a slightly different gate!


The Fuji F810 converted to IR makes the occasional victory.


Oh – one I forgot about!


Updated 10th March 2013 – Three more including teacups!

le voleur

And a spooky one – lots of work by the cover designer here on a Lensbaby shot (plastic lens I think).


To finish March 2013 another plastic lens Lensbaby shot. A good month!


To roundup of the best ones from 2013 – above was a shot of one of several vintage postcards bought on holiday for 50p each – quite a good investment! The designer has done a fair bit of work on this one.


This one was taken ages ago on a Canon G9 – simplicity itself really. Shot on plain card which has been greyed out and vignetted.


This set of old keys was bought on Ebay about four years ago – another slow burner!


This was taken on the local heathland – I always hoped this firebreak in the trees would make a cover one day! Quite a lot of birds have been added..


A very heavily processed picture of Emily taken on a model shoot in 2012. This has been reused several times.

Update April 2014 – three more!


This was taken on a Canon G9 several years ago.


Quite a bit of work by the cover designer. Canon 60D and an old Zuiko 50mm f3.5 macro.

 someoneelses A ‘dramatic tone’ sale! The feet have been comped in and the light behind the window added – nice.


I’ve been fascinated by this old gate for years – finally a shot paid off!


Finally for 2014 a shot taken at the end of a fashion shoot in an old building several years ago.

2015 was quite quiet for covers, but here are some of my favourites


This was an old replica map with a wax seal placed on it – taken ages ago!

A frosty boat somewhere on the coast – again taken a long time ago.


Looking like an average year for sales so far :-

Borrowed gloves, taken in the drive of my house!

Taken of APX100 film at a local fairground – 50mm lens I think.

This year I’m branching out of book covers into wider editorial with an agency called Plainpicture. Have a look of you’ve a few seconds.


26 thoughts on “Book Covers

    • Thanks Melanie – glad you liked them. Shooting for book covers is a really enjoyable photographic niche, and it’s always good to see what the cover designers do with the pictures – usually something completely unexpected!

  1. I’ve never really thought about Photographs and the Book Cover Designers being two separate issues/ideas before (doh) … I found reading your account and description of where you shot the images very interesting 🙂
    Love Dorset bytheway !

  2. Really enjoyed reading this and seeing your sold covers. I have always wanted to get into this niche market, tried once and got rejected, Trevillion but shall try again now! Can i ask you, When you submit your first submission say 20 pics is it best for them to be all of the same style or varied mix. Or perhaps split the 20 into 3 or 4 styles, any advice plse wd be great. Many thanks for sharing.

    • Hello Lesley – maybe the last idea of 3 or 4 styles would be best. Better than a jumble of allsorts and there’s more chance they’ll like some of the styles than disliking just one style (if that makes sense). Shots with people in (ironic as most of mine don’t!) are always more popular so maybe favour those on the initial submission. I was rejected (very politely) by Trevillion several years ago for this reason. Good luck with the acceptance submission – have you tried Arcangel as they’re very similar?

      • That makes perfect sense, I think that is where I went wrong last time, a jumble of allsorts, plus no people! So, your advice is very helpful thank you. I will try Arcangel, as well as Trevillion again. It is a lovely way to put ones creative side pf photography to good use 🙂 Looking forward to following your blog, thank you.

    • Hello Lesley – I stick mainly to portrait format as it’s now ‘automatic’ for me, but some Arcangel contributors use landscape. Maybe a 2/3 split in favour of portrait would be best for an initial submission.

  3. One small ? please Rob, when you submit images for approval, after being accepted ….. they ask for 40 low res jpegs, do you resize these at all to 72dpi or just save the tiff as a low res jpeg at 300 dpi, max pixels. Its not very clear in the handout….I am unsure how big they need to for the approval bit before FTP upload. Hope you don’t mind me asking… 😉 thank you

    • No problem Lesley – to do a submission of images for approval I use a Photoshop contact sheet. 6 images per sheet at 300 dpi/A4 saved as a jpg so not very big. Don’t worry too much about the approval stage – they’ll let you know if it’s not right. All they need is something manageable to assess the images so it really doesn’t matter too much. A ‘contact sheet’ just makes things a bit easier to edit/view. When you get them back the unwanted images (not too many hopefully) are ‘blanked out’.

      For final FTP submission of accepted images, all it needs is an original 4900 pixel (longest side) tiff of around 50Mb. Save as a jpg at a quality level which will result in a jpg of around 5Mb – some contributors go a bit over this!

      If you’d like to do something else for your ‘images for approval’ routine just send them an email asking – they really are very relaxed about things and very happy to help in whatever way they can.

      Looking forward to seeing your first images up on the site.

      • Thank you Rob very kind of you to reply so quickly. That all makes perfect sense to me and is a great help. I shall get them off tomorrow as you suggest – that’s a great way for a photographer to keep track on images submitted and approved as well. Fingers crossed and thank you.

    • Thanks bookvolunteer – it’s often interesting to see how the shots are edited by the cover designers after I’ve already edited them! They generally make a much better job though…..

  4. Really enjoyed your post and loved your images! May I ask if you resize them before submitting? I own a Nikon d90 (12 megapixels) and a Lumix lx7 (10 megapixels) and I think the resulting files are a bit ‘small’. Thanks so much and keep up the good work!

    • Hello silviaganoraphotography,

      Until recently yes – the agency require a minimum size and 12 Mp isn’t quite enough. Now all cameras/scanners can resolve/scan up to 20Mp so it’s no longer required (I downsize sometimes with film!)

      Hope this is helpful.


      • Thanks Rob!

        I can’t afford a new camera nor a new scanner for now 😦 I think I could upsize the images if they allow it. Hope to join Arcangel soon 😉

        Have a great day.


  5. A great read, and inspiring for someone who is looking at or trying to enter the world of stock photography. I have made the initial submission to Arcangel and hoping to hear back soon, it has been a week now so I’m not overly hopeful that I will be accepted. Is there a general waiting time to expect? Do they get back to you if you have been unsuccessful?

    Thanks again for the great read.

    • Hello Paul,
      Just be patient – they often take their time over things. Chase it up with an email in a week or two – they’re a very friendly lot.
      Good luck – and thanks for the comment. Looking forward to seeing your work up on the site.

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