Finding Useful Stock Photography Concepts in Everyday Life
Clearly there is something to be said for planning ahead. Creating successful stock imagery is no exception. But, while many of my best-selling images with iStockphoto involved significant set-up and brainstorming, a good 20% to 30% of my portfolio came about in a more unorganized “process”… AND still brings in a fair share of revenue. These are the images that I capture during normal, everyday activities with friends or family, doing the things that normal everyday people do. In my experience, beginner stock photographers naturally start out photographing “everyday” places and things. It’s exciting that there are potential income-earning photo opportunities lurking around every corner, and each moment or daily routine becomes a possible stock image. Say the dog is doing something funny, or the baby is making a cute face. Little things like that are a part of what makes life, life. That was me in the beginning — to the point that it became almost unhealthy. It’s good to have some separation of business and pleasure, and a break between work relationship and personal relationship. As time went on, I found myself learning to not view every passing second of the day as a potential photo. My emphasis moved to bigger concepts, and I put more thought into the props, lighting, and subjects involved. While changing from shooting on the fly to planned shoots is good — and has certainly produced my most lucrative stock photos — you still risk “throwing out the baby with the bathwater.” After all, perhaps that spontaneous cookie-making party with your child and spouse in the kitchen WOULD truly make an authentic, heartwarming stock image. Or your friend is reading by the window and the light is streaming in just right. Below are some sample images that originated out of actual lifestyle activities that inspired useable stock photos: If you decide to go the route of shooting the “everyday” for stock, here are some tips to keep in mind: ** Be respectful of the people you ask to be involved with your potential image. Don’t push anything on them. Ask in a way that truly gives them the freedom to say “no.” ** Know when to turn your “photo opportunity” brain off. We all need breaks. They are healthy and will allow our brains to creatively renew and refresh. ** Keep a camera close-by or with you at all times. You never know when opportunity will strike. ** Master your lighting/camera skills. This is what distinguishes the beginner stock photographer — shooting anything and everything with harsh lighting and composition — from the trained eye that is able to capture spontaneous moments with skilled use of available light and the camera tools you have at your disposal. One of the beautiful things about stock photography is that you are always the creative director. There is opportunity for you to see and direct your vision in so many things! Now get out there and take some photos.