Have you ever searched for the perfect photo? I have! In fact, I’m always searching for the perfect photo for a brochure, a poster, a magazine, or, in this case a book cover.
This book-cover design started off much like other projects. First, the project manager and editor, Andy, provided me with information about the book: topic, genre, and target audience. Then, I searched for preliminary ideas to show Andy and Erin, the author, at our next meeting.
While we were discussing cover concepts, they showed me a photo from Getty Images. Nice, but very expensive. At the same time, I found a similar photo with the same models on iStock Photos (owned by Getty). This photo was economical compared to one they had showed me. We agreed to use this image on the cover.
Layout phase, then another direction
With the photo we chose, I created three layouts with different background colors, fonts, and graphic elements. Erin replied, “Layout #2 is okay, but this stock photo of the two women on a couch seems so staged.” Instead, she wanted a custom photo with her friends. “I think this would really help to make it more personal and real life,” she explained. “I would pay for a professional photographer, but I’ve never done this before. Where do I start? Can you give me some suggestions about what I need to know?
I told her what was involved in hiring a photographer, including showing the photographer other photo ideas and examples so they know beforehand what to shoot.
So, back to the Internet for more photo ideas. There were some wonderful images. One in particular was from Reuters. I inquired about usage rights. Reuters replied: “This image cannot be licensed for a cover, because it is not model-released. You should be able to find a substitute image in model-released stock photo collections.” (I disagree!)
Then, I found the perfect photo! It had great color. Wonderful composition. It pressed all our buttons. I sent a link to Erin and said, “I love this photo, it would be an eye-catching cover! I think we should contact the photographer and ask for usage rights.” She agreed, “Oh, this is a nice picture—the best so far!”
I left a message on the photographer’s contact page and waited. A few days went by, and I tried again through Facebook messenger. She replied: “I did see the message. Sorry, I haven’t responded—just got back from a family vacation… Unfortunately, there is a company that has a one-year exclusive publication right to that photo right now. Their exclusive right won’t expire till March 2021, so until then, I cannot release it to anyone else. I’m so sorry.”
Bummer!! I had to break the news to Erin and Andy.
Back to plan B—hiring a photographer for a custom book cover. Erin immediately began her search for the perfect photographer.
Thanks for reading!