About me and my kit
I've been taking pictures since I was a teenager; I blew most of my first student grant at uni on a Canon A1 and have been snapping away ever since. I really feel that having learned the basics with a fully manual film SLR gave me an excellent grounding in photography; I'm entirely self taught.
The switch to DSLRs really boosted my interest again and starting with a Canon 20D I progressed to a 5D mark ii and iii. I have a good selection of Canon lenses, using mostly the 24-70mm f2.8 and 100mm f2.8 macro. Some of my earlier images were taken using a lens-baby and while I don't use it that often these days, its a great lens to create some different images. I use a Mac for all my image processing, working with Aperture and Photoshop and a variety of plug ins, Topaz and DXO begin my most used.
Being a keen scuba diver, I also enjoy underwater photography. But for this, my DSLR stays safely above water and I use a compact Canon IXUS in underwater housing.
Lastly, I guess I have to include the iPhone 6S. Having poo-pood the idea of using a phone camera for anything, I now find myself loving the simplicity and 'instant' approach it gives me. I capture all sorts of images with it, its become my 'always in my pocket' camera. Its such a different process to my other photos, so much quicker, done very much 'on the go'.
What do I like to shoot ?
Being a book cover photographer makes you look at things differently, especially when shooting for the crime/thriller market. A dark alleyway becomes irresistible… a run down building with peeling paint and broken windows gets the pulse racing… a collection of odd objects about to be thrown away is leaped upon, just in case....
I enjoy shooting out on location and many of my images originated very close to home. But a lot of my images are shot at home in my 'studio' (aka my conservatory!). I love to take pictures of still life settings and can happily spend ages arranging objects such as old photos, jewellery, old keys, flowers, on the appropriate surface of lace, linen, wood, and tweaking everything until it Just Looks Right. Of course this means that I have quite a collection of peculiar objects and as you might imagine, thriller/horror means bones and blood. A lot of country walking has found me a good selection of bird skulls, and having a doctor in the family means I also have a full size human skeleton in my dining room. Oh, and there's always a pot of fake blood in the back of the fridge.
I don't use models very often, but my very patient husband is now quite used to posing with glasses of whiskey, old cameras, knives, and of course dressing up in old trilbies or army surplus gear and 'looking suspicious' in disused airfields. Its all been worth it as he's appeared on covers as a cartel hit-man, a serial killer and an android. What more can you ask for ?!
I enjoy travelling very much and there's always a camera with me when we're on holiday. As well as the usual holiday snaps, I'm always on the look out for things that could be on a cover. Images from trips to Italy, the Azores, America, Sri Lanka have all ended up on books.
Why do I do it ?
While I started out in generic stock photography, I'm really happy that I stumbled into book covers. Yes, its great to see any image you have produced appear in a newspaper or magazine, but with book covers there's the whole design element as well. Its always exciting to see how my images have been used; sometimes they appear on a cover exactly as I made them, but other times a cover designer will add or remove things, change the colour, only use a small part of an image. I think the whole process is much more creative, adding to the basic skills you need as a photographer, and that's what I find inspiring. And wandering into a bookshop and seeing my name on the back of a book, credited with the cover, never fails to give me a buzz.