What happens when you mistake a book cover image for your own

This recently happened to me. I had a statement, checked the author and the book and voila, a silhouette of a woman jumping. Checked the image number, yep a photo of me jumping, didn’t give it two thoughts.

But you see, alas there was a problem. A few weeks ago I got a polite message from a fellow photographer explaining the cover was in fact his. I offered to send my statement and the image when I could, sometimes they merge images together etc so I understood there could be a number of reasons. I was away from my computer at the time so promised I would as soon as I was able. He sent me through the photo and I completely understood the confusion. Almost exactly the same pose but his was silhouetted etc. I checked the cover again and alas yes it seemed it was his image!

When I got home I checked my statement again, it was definitely there so I checked the images again. It was his, no doubt about it. I removed it from my blog post instantly and replied back with many apologies for the mix up.

So what happened?

  1. Sometimes images get bought to use in the design process that never take. You still get paid though.

  2. My image might be on the back cover for all I know (can’t find it).

  3. My image was used on an alternative cover which hasn’t been published yet.

  4. Just WEIRD bizarre non existent circumstances that I can’t explain.

You see I should have been more careful but these things do happen.


STRANGELY enough there was another case of this happening with the SAME photographer who’d messaged me! He might not be aware but I figured out pretty quickly what had happened and it wasn’t a mistake this time.

This book cover arrived on my statement; “Lying in wait by Liz Nugent”. I had seen it in Sainsburys earlier than week and was surprised. This WAS NOT my image, it was his (photographer who’d messaged me earlier). I checked and checked again, seeing if there were alternative covers, there weren’t as far as I could tell. I checked the image ID number of my photo and there was a photo of my friend Lucy, beautiful, striking, very feminine face… which is the face in the car mirror… TOOK ME BLOODY AGES TO FIGURE IT OUT. That tiny little section which is so subtle I nearly missed it…

You see these things happen, a lot. Especially for some reason in the UK. Designers seem to snip lots of images up for covers rather than using one whole image.

So if you’re checking your own images against book covers be extra vigilant on where they might be and if you see another photographer using a cover you believe to be yours, be as polite as this photographer, and you can quickly and kindly resolve matters.

I’ve had work merged with fellow photographers often, just the way it is!

If want to learn how to get your own photography work published on book covers across the world don’t hesitate to check out my online course taking you through every step, mistake I took and how to gain traction quickly.