Business Insight - Mohamad Itani - Book Cover Photographer

How long have you been in to photography?
Almost 22 years now

Do you have a formal photography education?
No , my photography learning was experiential.

How did you get in to stock photography?
In 2006 When I moved from the States to the UK I was looking for an alternative to weddings and commercial work and I came across stock libraries which I knew nothing about but the idea was appealing so I started joining different agencies and building my portfolio.

Do you shoot commercial photography?
Very rarely.

What inspires you to take your images?
Movies, news, thoughts, we live in a visual age, inspiration is everywhere.

Do you market your own stock as well as through the agencies?
I donít put an effort in marketing my own although occasionally some clients will get in touch for direct licensing. I do however market my work with the agencies through social media.

Why do you think your work is continually used as book covers?
With time clients start to get familiar with your name and work. Add to that continuous production of fresh material which is key in this business.

Do you study the book cover market and how photography is used commercially?
This is a must, the book covers market is continuously changing, trends come and go and one has to be always updating the portfolio of images.

Are book covers your favourite market?
Other markets maybe more lucrative, people throw away magazines and newspapers but they keep their books and I like that.

Do you prefer to work with people or to shoot still life? Working with people became second nature after many years of studio work and weddings but I enjoy the challenge of conceptual still life shoots.

What kind of images sell best, people or still life? Or, perhaps something else?
The million dollar question, the best selling image is the one suitable for the clientís project, it can be anything really.

Do you use your family and friends in your work as well as professional models?
I do, photographic opportunities sometimes just happen and they canít be planned

How do your family take to being models?
They love it, everybody likes to be on a book cover, it makes for nice memorabilia.

What makes for a successful stock photographer?
Stock photography is a long term investment it takes perseverance and patience.

What was the best photography advice you were given?
You are never going to be the best photographer, keep trying to improve.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to get in to stock photography?
Study how images are being used in all sorts of publications it will help when developing your compositions, be patient and donít stop shooting.

All images are © Mohamad Itani and used with permission.

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