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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Hello photographers!  Are you lounging seaside with your favourite model, sipping a deliciously cold and beaded glass of the local brew?  Or is it more like watermelon clean-up and sprinkler duty with the shrieking pack of neighbourhood kids?  (Your Johnny dearest might be among them, but they seem straight out of the Lord of the Flies!)

Well, wake up from your fantasy or nightmare, and get back to work!  A stock photographer should take advantage of the summer months to prepare images for the upcoming season.  And after the slow sale summer months, it’s a good idea to provide a fresh supply of relevant images right as the season kicks off.  One such topic which can be easily produced by almost any photographer is The Return to School.

Come August, September and October, children and youth of all ages will be returning to their nurseries, day-cares, schools, and universities… and we need photos for this moment.  The images can run the gamut from quite realistic to utterly creative and artistic.  No matter your level of originality, the images should reflect your style, and you should keep in mind the following 6 tips.

  1. Styling - As we mentioned in an earlier post (styling) it´s important to use a wardrobe which is not just specific to summertime.  You can make the images less season-specific by incorporating clothing like jeans, jackets, sweatshirts, etc into some of the images.

  2. More Styling - Alternating styles to include both classic and trendy/extreme clothing will open your possibilities of creating images that will meet both an immediate vs. long-term and trendsetting vs. conservative demand.

  3. Coming and Going – Show children going to school, walking, biking, in a bus or a car, hand in hand with big bro/sis.  Try to capture details like the hands being held, the backpack being carried and different perspectives like a frontal shot of the child arriving and a shot from behind or the side.

  4. Study Time – Show children and youth studying in different environments such as: the classroom, the library and at home.  The children should use schoolbooks and notebooks, as well as tools such as laptops, calculators, etc.

  5. Social Time – For many, this is the best part of school (for others, the only part!) so be sure to take photos of kids interacting with each other at school, in outdoor areas, and at home.  Show them talking, laughing, smiling, walking and studying together.  Add textbooks or a laptop to some of the shots, and change nicer, more formal clothing for a more relaxed, casual look.

  6. School Stuff – When you´re tired of keeping the kiddies under control, take a break and photograph common school materials such as books, computers, backpacks, notebooks, pens & pencils.  Warning! There are many boring studio shots of these materials!!  Please have mercy on your photo-editors and send in creative and evocative images of school materials by using lighting, composition, selective focus and more to create an original image.

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Often photographers write us and say; “I´m off to Central America/Kenya/Siberia/you name the place… What photos of [that place] do you need?”  And first we turn a little green with envy (it´s nice to see the photos, but we´d like to visit there too!).  And then we send this:

 Our "magical" travel list 

  1. Populations: Larger, modern cities and official (important) government buildings, medium and small-sized towns, churches, houses, villages, schools, universities, hospitals, health clinics
  2. Transportation:  Busses, trains, taxis, cars, highways, traffic

  3. Markets: big and small

  4. Local culture: parties, dances, processions, etc

  5. Agriculture:  crops, harvesting, workers

  6. Industry and economy (**):  of all kind including commercial harbors, railroads and airports specifically

  7. Landscapes: rivers, mountains, valleys, forests, beaches, etc with very good specific location information/names

(**) Especially important subject

This list is magical because you can use it to plan your trip (from a photographic point of view) whether you are travelling to Belize, England or Timbuktu.  However, the magic only goes so far. A hastily taken, poorly lit photo, awfully described and wrongly keyworded of any of the subjects above is not magical and will not sell. A photographer must always consider both the right subject, the right light, the correct description with as many details as possible of the place and sufficient good keywords.

And remember that even if you think there are enough images out there of a given country, city building, etc… yes, you should bother, and yes, you should go there. Your personal touch, style and point of view might make it seem like a whole new place!

Happy travels and happy shooting!


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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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