It is already over 5 years since I joined two big stock agencies as a photographer contributor. First in 2012 I have joined Arcangel Images and a year later Trevillion Images. They might look the same at the first sight (at this moment even their website layouts look very similar) but when it comes to submit your photographs, they have slightly different expectations. In my opinion it is good to belong to both, even it is quite harder join Trevillion.
It happened few times that some photos rejected by one agency were accepted by the other and what's more, few of them appeared on the book covers.
Many people ask me how does it work? Very simple: You submit your photos to the agency, then wait for them to be accepted or rejected, if accepted they land into your portfolio and wait to be used. How many photos do you need to send? The more the better! The more photos you send and you are open to different subjects, concepts, ideas, the better for you. Not everything fits there, and even if accepted, there is no guarantee that your photos will be used. I got my first book cover 4 months after I joined to Arcangel Images!
When it comes to the book covers - sadly you don't have any control on how your photos will be used. Sometimes they are almost untouched like the following sample of this photo taken ad Dark Hedges in northern Ireland
sometimes slightly modified, sometimes parts of your photos are mixed with other contributors work and the whole cover is a collage of different photos like the following one
Some covers might suprise you and make you proud to show them to your friends, but sometimes you see your photos as the book covers you just want to pass.
Sometimes the same photo might appear on different book covers released in different countries (often with some modification). In these following samples the graphic designer decided to change the main character in the middle and leave the rest (the original photo was with the man wearing top hat)
Sometimes the book is translated in many other languages with the same photo used for each book cover. It is always interesting to see different language editions of the same story.
The original photo of the butterfly in the window I took in 2015:
And the final book cover of Clare Mackintosh's novel released in different countries:
If you love to take photos and would like to do something more than to keep them on your hard drive, give it a try and try to joins some stock agencies. And remeember, even if your works are rejected, it doesn't always mean they are bad. Sometimes they just don't fit the book covers market, that's why it is so important to be flexible while taking photos.