Through our photography agency, I often look at roughly 25-30 new photographer applications each month. I’ve been doing that for well over 10 years now so that is about 3000 photographers and 40,000+ photographs. I also spend a lot of time every month watching the new images being submitted to both our stock photography libraries. Again this adds up to many more thousand pictures each and every year.
I’m able to tell you, in all those images there have been thousands of photos that would have been great stock photographs with real sales potential, if the photographer had only done their job right. The frustrating part is, in all those cases, the damage was done by 1 or 2 fairly simple mistakes that might have been easily avoided.
Now I’ll freely admit that I’m no master cameraman … In fact I have barely touched my camera since we started building OzImages back in 1998 … But I do know what separates an OK photo from a stock image with real sales potential. So in this two-part article I am going to look at 3 main differences I see between the part-timers and the pros.
If I could only make one suggestion, this would be it. Most amateurs only consider about lighting after sunset. An even then, all they think to do is pop up the flash. Some ‘outdoor ‘ photographers might time their work for early morning or late afternoon light, but even then they still tend to look at lighting as a separate component of from the image.
The pros on the other hand, consider the lighting of their subject, and they do it with each single shot.
Their focus is not just on the light, but the way in which the light affects their subject and whether that works for the message they’re trying to capture. The pros will consider supplimentary lighting, or shading, on every single shot. It is as much part of their routine as removing the lens cap.
So make it a part of your pre-shot routine to stop and ask yourself how your subject is lit.
Are the important features correctly lit? Is there anything you can do in order to make it better? Flash could be a choice, but so might a reflector, a different camera position, turning on a light … Coming back in a few hours time.
Remember, nothing kills the commercial prospects for an image as speedily as uneven lighting … Buyers take one look as deep shadows and/or washed out highlights and walk away without a backward glance.
Make the lighting of your subject your principal concern and your photography will improve significantly in both quality and sales potential.
If all you do is capture a visual representation of what’s there at the time, you’re taking pictures, and they’re a dime a dozen. If you really want to capture camera(s) that are going to stand out from the crowd — and sell — you have got to convey a message or a story about that subject to your audience.
So make it a custom to study your subject in detail before you even look thru the viewfinder. Work out what it is that you need to convey to your viewers? Conversely, what might your viewer wish to know about the subject? What are you able to capture and convey that the viewer might not know?
Once you’re clear on the major elements of your subject, you can start thinking about the effect different points of view might have on the final image. Then you’ll find you’re truly creating fresh and new images with real potential.
Too many of amateur images come across as indecisive. You get the feeling the photographer ‘knew ‘ there had been a photo op there, but rather than dig around a bit and find it, they just kept pressing the shutter hoping to get something. Occasionally they might get lucky, but more often than not, the final result is vague pictures with a subject lost in the middle-ground, lots of clutter in the background and no clear point of interest in the foreground … And zero sales potential.
Work out precisely what it is you’re attempting to say before you start. Then consider your lighting. Then use your technical talents and creativity to say it.
That’s what we’ll look at in part two … Talk soon!
Matt Brading is a writer & photographer with GlobalEye camera(s) and reccommends the Co-operative approach for camera(s).
categories: sell stock photos,selling photos online,sell photography online,stock photography