Cowboys & rural “Americana” – New submissions needed!

We are looking to expand our collection in this genre and need more images of cowboys, cowgirls and rural America!

Please look through the visual references for subgenres below, and see if there are any topics you could shoot – or maybe you have existing material that could be refreshed for submission to Arcangel.

*NOTE – Although there are relatively few current examples, we would like to see African American cowboys and cowgirls as well as other ethnicities represented wherever possible.

All our usual submission guidelines apply and we are looking for high end imagery shot with book cover design in mind. Please do not resubmit rejected images, or split the same shoot across multiple agencies.


Whether it’s a tale of the Old West, or a more contemporary take on rural American law and order, the image of a lone lawman standing up for justice in a remote landscape is a popular and powerful one.


Cowboys and cowgirls are a staple of romantic fiction, and covers in this genre often need a rugged and intriguing hero, an independent and appealing heroine, or a couple together!


Avoid the typical ‘stock photography’ feeling.
Our clients are not usually looking on Arcangel for corporate stock photography; they are designing book covers rather than adverts or commercial websites.
Clean-cut, aspirational lifestyle photography is therefore not best suited to our collection. We need imagery that has an edge.

Engaging characters.
Posing a model for a book cover is very different from posing for a fashion shoot or commercial headshots. 

Book cover designers look for a sense of personality and authenticity, avoiding typical ‘stock’ or fashion poses. Characters featured on book covers usually need to be someone a reader can identify with.

The depiction of a character may also have to communicate the book’s story and themes. The models therefore need to be convincing as a book’s protagonist or a key character. This may mean they have to be believable as an action hero, lover, killer or victim.

Please note that for many cover designs, the model’s face will not be shown – after all, your model may not match the author’s description of the character! Be inventive with things like rear views, or details of particular body parts, so that the image does not rely on the model’s face or expression for impact.


Rural landscapes and Americana are popular concepts across multiple genres and styles, but are obviously highly relevant for cowboy fiction. Mailboxes, barns and water towers can all give a landscape a strongly American cultural feel.


We’ve picked out examples of photography but all of the above can be applied to illustrations as well!