I met Jill virtually when I stumbled onto an image I loved online and thought to myself, wow, that would make an AWESOME book cover. So I searched until I found her website
and was pleasantly surprised that:
--she in fact works for the book cover industry!
Since then we've shot some emails back and forth and chatted online. She has her work primarily at Arcangelimages.com, but also some at Fine Arts America and Trevillion (click on these links to view). Once you are on Trevillion, just type her name in the search box and her work will populate for your viewing pleasure! We can't post her work here on the blog due to the constraints of her contracts. But I encourage you to go check them out!
She not only loves to shoot photos for the book industry, she's a servant of God who hopes her work can inspire and touch the world with the gifts God has given her.
So Jill, tell us a little about yourself and what you do:
"I've always been into art in many forms and always loved photography. I got seriously involved in it in the mid-90's. I stumbled into stock photography and soon realized it fit me perfectly. Particularly Arcangel Images which caters to the book publishing market. I have the freedom to create whatever I'd like......keeping in mind what kinds of images would work well for covers. My local friends and I have loads of fun searching through antique and thrift stores for costumes and props for our shoots. We also plan shoots together and share our models and costumes. It is truly a very fun job!"
How long have you been a photographer?
"I became seriously interested in it as an art form in the mid 90s when I started printing my own photos and hand coloring them. I quickly started entering contests....and winning. Some were printed in national magazines. I was also interviewed as a featured artist in magazines in Portugal and China. I won local juried art shows that resulted in my own one woman show....twice. I considered myself an artist really more than a photographer. In the past seven years or so since joining Arcangel I've mostly concentrated on stock work instead of just "fine art" work. I guess I can now say I'm a photographer. " :-)
How do you feel that God has used your gifts as a photographer?
"I do believe that God has gifted me and I've seen his hand guiding me and blessing me in so many ways in my life and through my photography. I constantly feel the need to honor and glorify Him in what I do. So I try to find the time to create works that will convey a message, a verse,....maybe plant a seed or water a seed...or just maybe make someone stop and think."
What is your favorite part about doing book cover work?
"It's hard to pinpoint my favorite thing.....I looove hunting for costumes and props with my buddies! I love dressing up my models (and sometimes family members) in those costumes and props and coming up with all sorts of fun ideas to try out! I love working with the images in photoshop to really bring my vision to fruition. It's also fun to share those images on Facebook with my other Arcangel buddies. And of course it is quite a kick to walk into a book store and see my covers on the table or shelf!"
Do you travel a lot to get the right scenery?
"We bought an RV and each year go traveling around different parts of the country. I pretty much have my camera strapped to me the whole time and we make a point of seeing things that I can shoot for covers. I've also started traveling once per year with another photographer friend. We went to Bodie Ghost Town out in California a few years ago along with Virginia City Nevada. This past year we went to Colonial Williamsburg. Next year we are planning a big trip to the Jane Austen Festival in Bath England."
When you do a book cover shoot, who contracts with you? the writer, editor, publishing house, PR person?"The way it works.....is I shoot whatever I like. I send contact sheets of images to the agencies. They choose which images they want for their collections then I send in my high res versions. Then they are online and available for purchase. The agencies work hard to promote their photographers and take care of the business side of things. The publishers come to the agencies looking for particular images. If one of my images suits their need they buy it. The agency keeps 50 percent and in my opinion they earn every penny. I have dealt directly with publishers before and it is generally a giant hassle that I do everything I can to avoid. I just want to spend my time being creative. I have no idea how much input an author has."
A huge thanks to Jill for taking the time to share her work and her passion with us. I hope you enjoyed a peek into the world of a book cover photographer's work!