Have you ever taken a photo that you were absolutely positive would sell like hot cakes… and it didn’t sell…at all?  But then a random image you took of the back of an old box, broken glasses or some odd thing, has sold.  And keeps selling.  And you’ve wondered: What are those clients looking for?!


Well, we don’t promise a miracle, get-rich-quick, wish-list of ideas… but we would like to share some ideas, based on the requests of real age fotostock clients. 

If you are interested in receiving these photo ideas, follow age fotostock on twitter where you’ll find this first Production Tip: images in demand... a large pile of clothes on a white background (still).  We will be sharing these tips through Twitter only, not the blog, so click on through today.

Now the fine print.  It’s not just the idea or subject; it’s your creative interpretation and competent execution of that idea which will produce a good sellable image. Are you up for the challenge?


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age fotostock wishes you all very happy holidays!  We hope that you get some of those nice new toys on your wish list, like the new gear announced in PDN online...  Were you really that good this year?

Having trouble getting into the holiday mood? Try enjoying a nice hot chocolate while you make your very own pop-up Rudolph card (check out our e-card below and download instructions).

age fotostock wishes you...


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To wrap up our month on stock photography productions, we would like to feature the lifestyle images of age fotostock photographer, Stuart Pearce.  Since he moved from the front of the camera (as a model) to the back (as a photographer), Stuart Pearce has been shootings families, couples, business and more in his island home of Mallorca.  His images of people are relaxed, happy and warm;  as though he was photographing his family...  Stuart's specialties also include yacht and travel photography.  You can see more of Stuart's work at age fotostock or at www.stuartpearce.com.

 

Q: Choose 3 words that describe you.

A: Imaginative, Loyal, Spontaneous

Q: Why did you choose to be a photographer?

A: As a child, my family and I were often used as models in the very early days of stock photography. When the opportunity arose to be behind the camera instead, I knew I’d found what I’d always wanted to do, made better by not having to smile for 8 or more hours a day.

Q: Was it a good decision to become a photographer?

A: It was the only choice, photography has given me freedom and taken me to the 4 corners & 7 seas of the planet. I’ve met some amazing people, some famous, some just very funny and many less fortunate, but nonetheless happy. I’ve shot countries, yachts, houses, food and people and still enjoy the great variety of my work today as much as the day I started.

Q: Are you more technical or intuitive in your photography?

A: Much more intuitive, it took me years to get the hang of the technical side and I’m sure there’s still a great deal that I could learn.

Q: What’s your favorite lens and why?

A: Canon 24-70mm f2.8, not too wide, not too long and has always been my workhorse.

Q: How do you achieve the warm and natural feeling which characterizes your lifestyle images of models?

A: I try to find models that can act as well as model; this helps add authenticity to my images.  Although directing models has never been easy for me, I know what I want, so I direct the first few shots and then usually there’s a lot of adlibbing from there on, which produces the best and most natural shots. The lighting I use is an unusual amalgamation of hmi, halogen, natural light and flash, arranging them all so that it’s not too noticeable. On exterior shoots, I only use natural light, much easier!

Q: How do you get your subjects to sign model releases?

A: I have always paid my models and the precondition is for them to release their rights to my images.

Q: Why did you choose age fotostock to represent your photography?

A: I choose AGE over 20 years ago because of Alfonso, who has always been passionate about our industry, as well as supportive and fair.

Q: What is the best or worst photographic advice that you have ever received?

A: Best advice shooting interiors; “smack it with flash and leave it open for a fortnight at f8.”

Q: If you weren’t a photographer, what would you be?

A: I’ve been a photographer for a long time so I’m probably unemployable, but I do like observing people, so perhaps a freelance window cleaner.



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Choosing and directing your models in a lifestyle shoot is only half of the game in stock photography.  You must also find a good location and props for the images.  If you try to work in conditions like those detailed in the "Love it not..." list below, you´ll be fighting an uphill battle.  Make it easier on yourself by preparing the most advantageous setting posible, following these tips from our own experience.  

Here are some examples of luminous, domestic settings that we love.  Notice the absence of distracting elements and also notice how a few simple props can create a feeling of "home."

Mother Helping Daughter with Homework

Businessman arriving home with groceries

Young family snuggling together in bed

Boy with a crown in his birthday playing with cars on a table

Young couple celebrating a new home

Woman working on laptop at home

Love it!

Luminous locations and natural light complemented with minimal flash fill and reflectors. 

Continuous source lighting such as cool lights (fluorescent) or LEDs.  When you need a little more light to open up shadows and to create volumes, these lights allow you to see the light available to you and don´t heat up like other lights do.

Natural environments with simple details to create an atmosphere, without excessive clutter in the scene. 

Even, balanced tones and pastel colors in your models' clothing which can be easily distinguished from the background but which do not appear dark in the luminous setting. Clothing that is more neutral in style (something that will not go out of style next year).

The newest models of technological devices if used as props.

“Neutral” props that could be found around the world (a houseplant is better than an expensive looking Italian vase). Props that are incorporated into the scene in natural, non-distracting ways.

Lots of angles, frames and photos to give our editors more choices, rather than long elaborate preparations which result in few, static shots.

Actively explored negative (copy) space above, below, to the left and to the right of the subject.

Spontaneous ideas and moments that a location inspires. Don’t limit yourself to a strict schedule and linear way of thinking.


Love it not…

Locations that are unknown or not easily available to you… will you know how to direct your models properly in the environment you are shooting?  If you don’t, you better bring a guide or find an environment that you do know.

When a photographer has rushed through a list of topics and/or locations at the expense of exploring each idea with different angles, lenses, models, props, etc.

The same lens and point of view during the entire shoot. 

Sweating the "small stuff."  Don’t obsess about very little things like plugs, cables, etc. that can be corrected in Photoshop, at the expense of progressing in the shoot.  We are more interested in your ideas.

Dark or extremely distracting backgrounds that make it difficult to easily and clearly see the model in the photo.

Elaborate lighting setups that limit the photographer´s mobility and slow down the entire production.  We aren´t a fan of tungsten/halogen lights because they get very hot and consume a lot of energy. 

Strobe or studio flash lights are more difficult to work with because you can´t see the light that you must use. This increases the possibilities of overly bright spots and renegade shadows, and slows down the work pace considerably.

Lighting that creates dark shadows and areas on the model’s face and body.  

Clothing with obvious logos or distinctive designs such as Adidas shoes or objects that are protected by copyright or trademark, such as the Rubik cube.  Big no-no.  

Women (or men) in unnecessarily revealing clothing that will offend more conservative markets and limit the photo’s overall marketability.

A model wearing the same clothes during the whole shoot.  If clothing is not your thing, check out the styling links below or hire a stylist.

 

There´s a lot more to know about location, lighting and styling, so we´ve included this list of additional resources.

Lighting Lifestyle Stock Photos!

What are Continuous Lighting Sources?

Portrait Photography using continuous lighting (video)

Styling tips by Yuri Arcurs

Production Values: How to Shoot Commercial Quality Images (on styling and props)

 


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The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in anyway.

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