BOOK DESIGN: Photo Research: How to do it effectively and Why this is Important.

Most of my clients come to me with an image already picked out. This can be good and not so good. The good part is that they have given some thought to the look they want for their cover. The not so good part is that the image may be too literal, misses the mark or is of poor quality, to name a few.

Sometimes this happens because the person doesn’t know how to look for the image effectively… it can take many hours of searching to find the right emotional stream to follow for the right image to appear.

Here are some pointers for when you start looking.

  1. Ask yourself the following:
    Who is your audience and what, how will they use your book/information?
    What is your main purpose, the benefit they will most likely need/want from you?
  2. What are the keywords your audience will type in for a search for this information? Write them down.
  3. Proceed to your photo site and type in your first word. A selection of images will show up on your screen, some will be relevant and others won’t. As you look at the images and start finding ones you like, set up a lightbox and put them into it so you and your designer can come back to the lightbox and decide which image will work best for your book’s cover.
  4. As you look at the images your mind will begin to see other things in them that you hadn’t thought about… so do another keyword search for this… and keep going until you have 30 or more images to weed through.

Deciding on whether your image will be real, illustrative, metaphorical or literal will all come up while you are searching. Be sure to turn over every stone. When my clients hire me to design their book cover I take them to the photo-site and walk them through this process explaining the ins  and outs of the thinking that goes along with it.