Did you ever see a stock photo and wonder how the heck the photographer took it?Take this hot-selling shot by stock photo superstar, Lise Gagné:
The hair blowing in the breeze… the even lighting… the part where she’s flying… How did she do that? We got a lot of really good submissions to last month’s Breakfast Stock Club Premium Challenge, “Isolated on White,” that begged the same question. Such even lighting… and smooth white backgrounds… how DID they do that? Read on to see a few of the best shots from the Challenge and find out. As for Superwoman… I’ll ask Lise and a few other stock photographers how they took some of their more mysterious shots and see if they’ll let us in on some of their tricks in coming weeks. The Making of the Photo Last month, professional stock photographer and iStock inspector Andrea Gingerich picked out her three favorite photos from the BSC Premium Challenge, “Isolated on White” (though other colors were welcome, too). Below, the three photographers who took her favorite shots reveal how they did it… Festive Celebration by Diana Russler It was actually very simple. My husband and I were looking for a “festive” picture to be able to put into our stock portfolio for the holidays (thinking ahead here!). When we began to consider shooting stock photos, we invested in an inexpensive portable light room which is nothing more than a large plastic cube tent with an opening on one side and opaque white plastic on the others. You can attach different backgrounds and we wanted the bubbles to show up, so we went with black. We set up two spotlights to shine through the white plastic (which diffuses the light), one on either size of the cube. We set up our camera (a Nikon D700) on a tripod with a remote release, 1.8 meters from the subject, using a 70-300 mm lens zoomed to about 116 mm. The ISO was set at 200 and the aperture was at F10 with a 1/60 second exposure. Then we took an empty champagne bottle, removed all identifying labels, and filled it with ginger ale. We set up the five champagne glasses, making sure that they were absolutely spot-free, and positioned the strawberries, cork and glitter. It took several tries to get the effect we wanted, especially because it is very hard to hold a bottle of champagne and pour it without getting your hand in the picture or shaking the bottle. And since we wanted the champagne to look silky, we couldn’t use a high shutter speed. We got our shots! And we ended up with a lovely mess of liquid, glitter and strawberries all over the kitchen table and floor, but it was a lot of fun. African Turtle by Margie Livelli First of all, I was taking a class when this was taken. They had animals brought in, so the morning session was learning about the ins and outs of taking a picture with a white background, including what things to use, the settings, setup, etc. We used photo cubes that were all white. The opening was in the front and there was also a small opening on the top. We then took white paper and placed it inside from the back wall and down to the opening in the front. This way, you don’t see the seam as the paper is one long piece. We used floor lamps — one on either side facing the sides of the tent and then one at the opening at the top look down into the cube. That gave enough lighting, which is good because flashes would have scared the animals. We each took turns and took pictures of the animals the way we wanted to. I used my Canon EOS digital Rebel SXi, and here’s how I had it set: ISO – 100 Focal length – 130 mm (on an 18-270 lens) Aperture – f/16 Shutter speed – 1/250 On the computer, though, the pictures were still not pure white on the background. I had to lighten the background in Aperture. It took a long time, but it was worth it. I hope this helps. Thank you for liking it and for letting me contribute. I am still learning and trying. Young boy isolated on white by Barbara Mistic This was a very simple setup as I had practically no room to work in. I used a Nikon D80 with a zoom lens set to about 60mm at f/5.6. For lights, I used two SB800 flashes bounced into umbrellas, each at 45 degrees to the subject, with a white fabric background. The space was too tight to allow me to put lights directly on the background, but the subject was fairly close to the background so the lights from the umbrellas did help somewhat. However, in the original image the background wasn’t really white — more light gray. And there’s my secret. I cheated. I used Fluid Mask in Photoshop to isolate the subject and then whiten the background. [Editor’s Note: Learn more about how you can turn your pictures into cash in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel. Sign up here today and we’ll send you a new report, Selling Photos for Cash: A Quick-Start Guide, completely FREE.] Your Weekly Breakfast Dish The latest from your Breakfast StockClub Facebook Page WOW — the Breakfast StockClub Facebook Page is flourishing with activity this week. Folks are applying, uploading, and making sales. Way to go, guys. Congratulations to everyone who’s giving it a try. Let’s keep up this momentum! From Rhonda Frank: After following AWAI and BSC for a year now, I finally uploaded some images to a stock website. I had one image accepted on Fotolia! I am feeling more confident to try more images and more stock sites now! From Joy Ciaccio: OMG!! I feel like I’ve just won the Lottery! The SIXTH try was the charm… I finally got accepted to Shuterstock, and I’ve already sold 2!! From Bruce Bidinoff: Another agency to try is Crestock, which is owned by Masterfile Corporation. It took a while but I did get 4 images accepted. From Glenda Dannar Thompson: I finally did it! Uploaded three images to iStock and ten to BigStock. Keeping my fingers crossed… From Steve Sherwood: I uploaded some images this week that I took as a result of the isolate on white challenge and a few other different shots to both Fotolia and Bigstock. Bigstock rejected all images except for one outdoor shot of a farm with solar panels. This same shot that of the farm was rejected by Fotolia for technical reasons yet they accepted a shot isolated on white of some antique books and reading glasses that Bigstock rejected for technical reasons. Go figure! I am learning that after several rejections lately to keep trying and shooting. You never know which agencies will take which photos. I am very pleased to have had even just a few photos accepted. It is motivating!