Aside from the camera, one of the most useful tools in stock photography is a small but very important scrawl. This signature on a Model Release form, which states that the subject of the photograph consents to being photographed, is extremely important - it can catapault your content from just the "editorial use only" sector into the full stock market of advertising, promotion, trade or product endorsement.

If you have the relevant releases your images can be used for commercial purposes, if not, what a pity! They may be licensed as editorial use only.

Understandably, at times this signature can be difficult to obtain. Sometimes it's difficult even just asking for it.  You may be shy, you may be busy, you may be in a foreign country where language barriers mean that you can barely ask for a glass of water let alone explain what it is you will happen to your images when you get home.  But we encourage you, & you´ll see it in your sales reports at the end of the month -  it's worth making the effort!

So how should you go about it?

A few weeks ago staff at age fotostock were impressed by a submission by our photographer Jorge Fernández Garcés, which included stunning images of people in Africa with complete model releases. Here follows some words from the wise:

Approaching the model:


"How I approach the signing of a model release depends on each situation and each model. My first concern when asking for a MR is if I will somehow create an unpleasant situation or mistrust, if so, I don’t try. Otherwise, if the subject is open to listening, I attempt to have someone there who speaks their language, to explain what they're really signing.

In distant countries and cultures so different to that of Western culture, I consider it essential to bring along a local guide and translator to help me to contact with people, as it is not always easy to convince someone to let you photograph, and much less for them to sign the MR. The most important thing here is undoubtedly find a guide who understands the needs of the photographer.

In my case I always ask the models to sign a paper rather than a electronic document. That’s firstly because I do not yet have a smartphone or ipad, and second because I think it is quite difficult to get anyone to sign a paper, let alone a electronic device. Although I am aware that in some cases it may arouse the curiosity of the person and facilitate the process."

Model reactions:


"There are people who are afraid to sign a paper and there are people who really do not care at all. I think it has much to do with the cultural environment. Westerners usually distrust anyone who asks them to sign a document. Other cultures that do not have so much contact with the bureaucracy do not give signing a paper very much importance.

In regards to these model released photos that I recently took in Africa,  I was traveling with my partner, along with a guide. In addition to helping with the preparation of the scene (flash illumination, etc..) she was responsible for identifying and organizing the signed MRs. For me this was very important, because sometimes we work with several models at once and things get busy - had I been alone, as I was taking the photos, probably many of the pictures would not be accompanied by MR."

Some advice?

"If you are in a foreign country, it is important to have an assistant who is in charge of organizing the MRs once obtained, especially if you are working in the street with several different subjects. And of course it may seem silly, but always carry spare MRs and a pen, as it is not always easy to find a pen when you need one!"

- Jorge Fernández Garcés

To all our photographers out there, what are your experiences of obtaining Model Releases? Any suggestions you´d like to share?


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Calling all photographers!!! Now that you are about to have your children, your friends' children, your nieces and nephews & even your grandchildren available all summer long, how about getting out there and involving them in taking the images that clients will be looking for in the next few months?

Our expert photo-researchers recommend submitting your seasonal images & videos 3-4 months before the actual season, so that they appear on our website right when the buyers are looking for them.

It may seem far away now, but in the fall, children and youth of all ages will be returning to their nurseries, day-cares, schools, and universities… and we want to be ready with a great selection of photos and videos that capture this moment, providing a fresh supply of relevant images just as the season kicks off.

Submit now for “Back to school”  - photos & videos of children preparing/going back to school and details of school materials of all kind.

Need more ideas on Back To School photography? CLICK HERE


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We are constantly asked by photographers to provide them with image ideas for shoots that will be relevant according to current market needs. Here you have one idea for which there is always a great demand.

¿Do you have kids in your family, close circle of friends or acquaintances? Yes? Then you are so lucky, not only because they sure make life more fun, but because the daily life of children, with their routines and activities can be a great source of very interesting moments to photograph, especially to make natural images that show emotions. The children don’t have to be the cutest ad-perfect-kids; you just need know how to bring out their expressivity, whether humoristic  or completely the opposite.

Take the following essential points into consideration before you get started:

  • Model releases, model releases, model releases!!!! Even if the kids are your nieces, godsons or your best friend’s first child, to make your images available for the market, and to avoid any legal complications in the future, make sure that you have the model releases signed by their legal guardian.  See the model release section of our Road Atlas  and pay special attention to the paragraph regarding minors Model Releases.
  • Be very careful of how the children are portrayed, as the most innocent of the images can be considered highly suggestive for some. And always remember this: ABSOLUTELLY NO NUDITY. Images of naked or semi naked children will not be accepted. 

So here is a list of ideas based on an ordinary day of any kid that we hope serve you as a source for inspiration.

  • Wake up is a beautiful morning! - Morning routines
  • Lunch time!- During the day 
  • Home Sweet Home -Afternoon/Evening
  • Winding Down - Night time

The gallery ADORABLE CREATURES is a sample of children images that can be found at age fotostock that we are hoping will serve you as an additional source of ideas.


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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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The next time you´re trying to choose models for a shoot or preparing a shot, keep in mind these easy tips.

  1. Do work with lifestyle models who can pose naturally; avoid those who overact or strike artificial looking poses.

  2. Do choose models with pleasant, relaxed smiles and who keep their eyes open while smiling (some people squint when smiling).

  3. Do choose models whose eyes are big enough so that you can see the white of the eye when they are smiling.  Be careful that the model’s eye makeup doesn’t darken the eye too much.

  4. Don’t dress models in dark clothing and avoid very trendy clothing, colors, makeup and hairstyles that will clearly date the photograph, if you want the image to have long term sale possibilities.

  5. Don’t limit yourself to young men and women only!  Do look for attractive or “pleasant looking” people of all ages.

  6. Don’t fall into the cliché of making sexy, suggestive photos of female (and male) models.  There is a very limited market for these images in stock.  There is much more need for images of real women (and men) in real situations, women (and men) that transmit confidence or that convey ideas a little deeper than “my photographer thinks I´m hot…”

  7. Do shoot “real people.”  Models that are like “the girl (or boy) next door” are better for stock than overly glamorous models.  Clients often complain that it’s impossible to find photos of "normal looking" or even slightly overweight models.

  8. Do look for senior and adult male models. Good images of these groups are always lacking in stock.

  9. Don’t forget that models with an international look will be relevant in different markets worldwide and therefore more likely to sell, rather than individuals who are obviously from a particular country or area.  On the other hand, in markets like the United States, model diversity is essential.

  10. Do have your models sign model releases before the shoot, not at the end.  If they change their mind for some reason, you might have a whole day´s work ruined.

This list reflects our experiences in choosing models for a shoot.  What have you learned from good (and bad) experiences choosing models?  We will include your tips in our Do´s and Don´ts List if they add something new...


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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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