One of the most difficult things for a new photographer to learn is how to pose people to show what you have in mind for a photograph. If you overpose a subject, they may feel unnatural and show that in their expression or body language. If you don’t pose them at all the picture will not be what you were wanted, and likely will not be an image with good stock photo sales.
So it has been a while since I posted anything, and I have a lot to get caught up on, but I wanted to start with this one.
Dreamstime has a key-wording service they offer for uploads to their site. It costs $0.60 per image that is accepted, and you only pay for images that are accepted to dreamstime. You upload the image and indicate any necessary model releases for that image, and they do the rest.
One of the most time consuming parts of stock photography is accurately key wording different photos accurately. Put the wrong keywords in and the photo will be rejected, or not show up for the terms buyers are searching for. With the correct keywords and description your photographs have a much better chance of selling well.
So what are some good options that you have tried or heard about? Is the software route worth while, or should you pay for the images to be done manually? Let me know what your thoughts are and if you would be interested in running a test of various methods.
We have all seen them, the pictures with a white background that blends in with the rest of the page making the picture pop out at the viewer. Not all isolated pictures are on a white background however, some other common colors are black, blue, and yellow. Isolated pictures also are easier for illustrators and graphic artists to cut out and place on another background picture to create the illusion of Item A being at Location B, even though it did not happen that way.
My experience with royalty free images has taught me that the only limitations are the ones you impose. Obviously though, you do need to be careful about the technical quality and composition of the photographs. I will guide you through the most rules of thumb you should keep in mind.
1. Use Clean Backgrounds: What I mean by that is your background needs to be free of distractions that catches the viewers eye. Pure white backgrounds are popular, but other options such as pure black or mottled may be more appropriate.
2. Keep Subjects Within the Frame: For shots of characters or portraits, try to keep the subjects within the frame at least from left and right. Often photographers get excited about cropping them tighter to make the picture look better. This may be fine for normal portrait work, but it would generally be a mistake for stock photography. This is because the buyer will then have not much choice to crop it the way he/she wants. For example if you have photo with your subject in the frame cropped from right hand side, then generally the best print layout with that photograph will be right aligned. This might be a disadvantage for you. So leave both edges clean for alignment options to remain open. You can definitely explore all other compositions after you have got your basic shots with a high resell value.
3. Shoot Subjects with Resale Value: If you are starting out, try and shoot subjects that can be resold time and again. Photos that can be used well for a wide range of advertising campaign needs. Not necessary though, but subjects like smiling faces, fitness, business, children, teenagers, expressions are a few of the topics which sell for a variety of advertising concepts. You dont have to follow this as a strict rule, but it can help you sell your photos right from the start. Later on, you may shoot just subjects close to your heart.
4. Shoot Various Compositions at a Time: This is something that was talked about in some length in our post about shooting vertical and horizontal photos
5. Use Different Props for Same Setup: If you are shooting with characters, try and arrange for various props beforehand, that you can easily shoot with the same character and using the same setup. This again will save you enormous amount of time and you can churn out various concepts in one photography session itself.
6. Shoot Various Expressions and Concepts at a time: While shooting with people and faces, always try to shoot various expressions of the same person within the same frame. Suppose you are shooting a model smiling at the camera, make him/her frown, scratch, show anger, love, get ecstatic, scream, shout, sulk and anything you can think of. Your imagination is the only limit.
7. Avoid Brand Names: Never let any brandname or an existing brand identity show up in a photograph ever. It will simply get rejected. It often happens even due to carelessness. E.g., if you are shooting stock photos of an young girl sporting a watch and a t shirt, even a little exposure of the label or the brands in the photo may make it get it rejected. So avoid revealing existing brand names, logos for sure, or be prepared to spend a lot of time in photoshop.
8. Research before you shoot: Making money online with stock photos is all about recurral income. Hence, choose your subject wisely. Do some research, before you start shooting.
9. Make your photos look special: Specially, if you are shooting outdoor photographs, try to make your snaps interesting. Try to consciously look at your subjects from different angles or capture a moment, dynamics that an amateur photographer wouldn’t think of. Make your picture look special. Remember this will help your photos getting approved and beat the competition as well.
10. Shoot Your Highest Resolution: Last but the not the least, shoot the highest resolution possible with the camera you have. I will definitely suggest you to invest in a professional camera. But whatever you have, it doesn’t matter as long as you deliver quality stock pictures. The last thing you want to do after a shoot is sulk over ruined images. It’s usually hard to re-shoot the same mood all over again.
Tamron 90mm Macro Review
One of my favorite exercises in photography is to go somewhere to take photos and only take one lens with me. To make it even more challenging I take a prime lens. Recently however I have been cheating a little bit by taking the Tamron 90mm Macro lens. For me it is a wonderful lens, however it does have a couple shortcomings, which we will talk about a little later. But first lets talk about the technical stuff.
One of the key ingredients for an outdoor sunset/sunrise photograph to be successful is that it needs to be interesting. Put yourself in the buyers position, they want a cool photograph to illustrate something or to make something more interesting. A photograph like this one is kinda boring.
However if you take some time to look around at your surroundings, similar to what we talked about in Get off the Trail, you may see some opportunities that will make your pictures stand out and give them something unique. Take for example this photo, it was taken about twenty feet from the first photograph and about 30 minutes later. I think we both agree this is the better of the two photographs, and it will sell better. By changing the perspective and bringing some objects into the foreground I made the image more interesting, and more likely to sell. I also used a longer then normal lens to eliminate some of the grass at the edge or where I was to clean up the image. By using the 24-70 lens I was able to get pass the grass and other debris near me without getting wet wadding out to a better vantage point. While this is not something I normally do, it was cold and I really wanted to stay dry.
Using the same location would have made a great setting for a portrait session as well as an interesting landscape photo, but that is another post. The thing to remember is do not get stuck in the mindset that a certain focal length can only be used for certain uses. Sometimes a medium zoom like the 24-70 will be appropriate, and sometimes a 14-24 will be more appropriate. It is all about learning your gear and knowing its limitations and strengths. That is all for today, please feel free to leave any comments below.
Last night I was looking around on the internet and I came across an interesting site for photography. What it is a challenge for photograhers everywhere to take one picture a day, and share it with the community. They do not have to be award winning photographs, that is not what it is about. The site is about just get out there and do it, a little everyday. The site is called mostly365.com, to participate users take a picture a day, then upload it to one of many different sites such as flickr or twitpic. The user then tweets it using the hashtag #mostly365. While there is no direct income to be made from this challenge, it is good exposure for your portfolio, and can be a great motivator to photograph something everyday.
The “nifty fifty” as many photographers call it is the lens that is considered by most professionals to be a necessity and the first lens to purchase for a beginner. Don’t let the price fool you, the 50mm 1.8 lens has been made for many years and still takes amazing pictures. Personally, some of my best selling pictures have been made using this lens. It always has a place in my camera bag when I am on a shoot.
Preventing Blurry Pictures
Using a tripod whenever possible is usually a good idea for getting the sharpest pictures possible. Unfortunately using a tripod is not the only thing necessary for pictures to be their sharpest. There are a couple common reasons that movement blur is introduced into pictures when using a tripod.
The reason that is hardest to control is movement of the subject while the shutter is open. Sports photographers will often photograph subjects at 1/500th of a second or faster to minimize motion blur from the players running, but that often requires a very shallow depth of field or a high ISO. But what about when you need to use a low ISO and a smaller aperture? As many nature photographers know, sometimes the best thing to do it try again another day. If you have some control over your subject you may be able to freeze the movement with your flash, but this will require additional equipment then you may have planned on using.
Bumping the tripod is another common reason for the picture ending up blurry. These are two pictures I took with everything the same, the only difference is I bumped the tripod while the shutter was open during one of the pictures.
When I was taking the picture on the left I bumped the tripod, causing the blur. They are about one second exposures so in both pictures it is critical to use a tripod and not to bump it.
The third common reason for motion blur when you are shooting with a tripod is pushing the release. For you readers that was in the military or have done a lot of shooting this is a problem you are probably very familiar with. Taking a picture is much like firing a rifle, when it comes to the release. When you press the button to take a picture you want to do so in a smooth controlled manner. Stabbing at the button with your finger, or pushing fast will move the camera just enough to create a slight blur many times. The correct way is to squeeze the shutter release is to be firm, yet controlled. The way it was described to me is squeeze the release the same way you would squeeze a baby’s hand, gentle and controlled. Also you only want to be squeezing with the finger touching the release, not your whole hand.
So while tripods are great and should be used for stock photos whenever possible, pictures may still have some motion blur. Pay attention to these three things though and the number of pictures that are blurry should be much lower.