Stock Photography Tips
"A forced, preconceived subject provided no freshness of vision."
An introduction to stock photography tips wouldn't be complete without an understanding of what stock photography is. We see it all the time in the world around us, but we often don't see the details that are needed to produce good stock photography.
Like any type of photography stock photography has a core need of knowing your camera, being familiar with lighting, angles and the use of color.
Because stock photography makes use of ordinary items we see every day it's the photographer's job to make it interesting. Show us something that we see all the time but it captures the eye with your presentation!
What to Avoid
Some of the biggest stock photography tips can be in what to avoid. "Digital noise" - blurred backgrounds, unclear photos and imperfections can be killers.
The reflection in a window or the light refraction off a door, for example, can give a totally useless picture to an otherwise receptive market.
Don't think that you can get by with snapshots - stock photography might be a side note in use but quality is still important! The attention to detail needed for stock photography means noticing things that are otherwise unnoticed.
Pay Attention to Detail
An important aspect of stock photography tips is looking at the 'unseen.' During a video shoot for country singer Stephen Cochran's single "Wal-Mart Flowers" this attention to detail was at the forefront.
The screen on the wall behind him couldn't be black but couldn't broadcast anything violating a copyright - so playing on that screen was his first video. Any logos or copyrighted materials could not be used, even if on a shirt or hat.
A logo meant scrapping that part of the shoot - a waste of time, effort and money.
Similarly use that same attention to detail when shooting. If you're shooting a plate of food is there a design on the plate that can cause a problem? A great car shot can be ruined by a store sign in the background.
Additionally, as in the video shoot everyone had to sign a model release before entering the building. This also is needed for anyone recognizable in your shoot.
This means if you're shooting the hands or feet it likely isn't an issue but if the person's face shows a model release protects you. This is especially true with children, as you'll need parental signatures also.
Be Creative with the Ordinary
Maximize your sale value. Be creative! Can you make slight adjustments at the time of shooting to sell to multiple markets? An example of this might be a garden where the garden is one show and individual plants, vegetables and herbs are additional shots.
More Stock Photography Tips to Get You Thinking
Things to Shoot
- Coins - either an individual coin or several loose coins.
- A meal or food items
- Household appliances
- Steam, fire, rocks
- Worms in soil
- Generic items - a roll of toilet tissue or towels or blankets
In short - anything around your home or yard can be a model for stock photography. Learn to polish shooting with a macro lens for even more possibilities.
A feather close up under macro looks different from the entire feather which is different still on the bird!
Shoot from different perspectives and show every day items in a way not seen before, as well as a common view. Business, industry and trade buyers may well purchase a much different photo than a commercial publisher. They might need a clock for an article about employees getting to work on time in their newsletter.
Why Stock Photography?
From a buyer's standpoint stock photography can be a way to save money. Pricing can vary and generally is less expensive for non exclusive royalty free images.
Typically an advertising agency, publishing company or other business needs a stock photograph for a project but doesn't want to spend hundreds of dollars for the use of it. Stock photography helps buyers get what they need for a less expensive price while still paying the photographer on volume.
Look with different eyes also the next time you go on vacation. The highway, river, trees, landmarks, farms and even a campfire in front of the tent can all be a source of inspiration and stock photography tips can be underscored by paying attention to the creative muse.
Look at the dinner, basket of rolls and other day to day items and find ways to capture them in fresh angles. Remember to be aware that the napkin under it doesn't have a logo!
Stock photography doesn't have to be boring! That's the biggest push for stock photography tips - there's a whole world of things to photograph! Be creative! Make it interesting!
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