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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This month's photo submissions call is for images that will be in season in October - that means fall & halloween; crunchy leaves, scarves, red and orange colours, mystery, harvest time. For those  photographers out there with images you haven't yet submitted from last fall, please do so now!

If you just can't resisting shooting your pumpkins, keep in mind that a creative photo with an interesting approach or angle will make your image stand out from the masses.

 

Pumpkins epitomize both harvest and halloween - but please don't feel that the squash is the limit. We're also in need of new & different halloween themed images.

 

Take for example this photo that Emilio Ereza submitted a few years back, which is one of our favourites.

Are any of you other photographers' out there keen to photograph an image equally mysterious, atmospheric and captivatingly halloweenish?


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To quote a photographer in age fotostock's photographers' chatroom:

"To produce great images, money isn’t the main necessity. It´s imagination, conceptualization and being able to use available resources that are the most important things"

Words from the wise - it’s true! We’re finding that photographers don’t need to break open their piggy banks for a photo shoot with top models in the Caribbean in order to make images that sell. They needn’t even leave their neighborhood. With a general shift in image trends, the world of design and publicity is tending towards images that mix creative flair with real life moments, images that give us a unique way of seeing the most ordinary things.

Photographers, look around you - there’s a high chance that your best photos can be taken in exact spot in which you’re standing. Attention to detail, a creative angle, willing friends that will sign a model release (hey, this is one of the only times it’s suitable to say “shoot your children”), people going about their daily lives, in natural locations – with a little imagination all of these make excellent ingredients for images that can quite simply knock your socks off. Remember, gold is not the only thing that glitters…!


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The focus of Christophe Boisvieux’s photography lies in the bond between man and spirituality.   As a veteran photographer and author of travel books, his images have been published in prestigious newspapers and magazines internationally, images which take us on a gentle mystical tour around the world, paying silent respect to the beliefs, the people, the culture and the environments they reveal. He has mastered “writing with light”, as he describes photography, going back and forth between the earthly and the spiritual, the human and the divine… You can see more of Christophe’s work at www.christopheboisvieux.com.

Q: Choose 3 words that describe you.

A: Willing, dedicated, enthusiastic.

Q: How did you learn to be a photographer?

A: Since my early childhood I was always fascinated by the ever changing metamorphosis of light. Photography is nothing else after all than "writing with light"! That is how I became a photographer, I think. I learned photography on my own by making mistakes and watching closely the work of renowned photographers I admired.

Q: Any special artistic influences?

A: Henri Cartier Bresson, Robert Doisneau, Roland & Sabrina Michaud, Steve Mac Curry, James Nachtwey

Q: What is your favorite time of day to make photos?

A: Early morning and evening

Q: What equipment do you carry when you’re packing light?

A: 1 Nikon D700, 1 Nikon D300, 1 zoom 28-70 mm, 1 zoom 70-200 mm, 1 20 mm

Q: What’s the image that you are still hoping to make?

A: A faithful portrait of my wife!

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

A: It just happenend to be among the best on the market!

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

A: The best: To roam and turn around a subject until you have the feeling you have worked it out. The advice was given to me by my friend Roland Michaud.

Q: What is the greatest challenge for photographers today?

A: Making a living in deregulated world gone mad!

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

A: A musician for sure!


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Our next featured 10 x 10 age fotostock photographer manages to open doors to some of the most inaccessible places for his photo productions. Javier Larrea regularly shoots photos of both models and also “real people” within hospitals, laboratories, research & investigation centers, specialized clinics and important industry/manufacturing centers. Watch science, technology and more being discovered in his photos and read on to learn how he does it. You can see more of Larrea’s work at www.jlarrea.com or at his age fotostock Profile

Q: Choose 3 words that describe you.

A: Obsessive, persistent, hard-working.

Q: Was becoming a photographer an easy decision to make?

A: It was an easy decision, although it was slow to mature. I was afraid that the passion might die out and become just another job.

Q: What’s your favorite lens and why?

A: I've always liked having a lot of lenses and it’s one of the most important elements for creating variety in your work, especially for stock photography. The one I like the best is the Canon 85mm, F/1.2, ideal for portraits.

Q: How do you plan/prepare for a photo production?

A: I've always been obsessed with good organization. You must know the location well, observe its light, then study the images you would like to make and consider a good order and timing. And most importantly, get it all down on paper! But all of this without ideas is worthless, of course.

Q: What is the most interesting place you have photographed?

A: There are many interesting places, and I think the diversity of this work is what makes it really interesting. Some places amaze you with their magnificent light and others with their content. If I had to choose one place in particular, the white room* of a laboratory for research on stem cells made a strong impression on me.

* White room - a room that is virtually free of dust or bacteria; used in laboratory work and in assembly or repair of precision equipment.

Q: How do you get access to photograph inside places like laboratories, hospitals and industrial sites?

A: It is a combination of contacts, experience and of course, persistence. And keep in mind; it’s unlikely that anyone will open the doors of these places to you unless you are offering them something of value.

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

A: There are several reasons; first, because they listened to me, then they taught me, and finally they supported me and enabled me to achieve my dream of living from photography. Throughout these 22 years of collaboration, the people at age fotostock have demonstrated their ability and skill in this market. In hard times, they have been able to adapt to new scenarios, resize the business, maintain a standard of reliability and remain committed to the photographers.

I also would like to take a moment to address my fellow photographers and share my disagreement with the methods and prices of microstock. I think that all of us, when starting in this world of photography, needed some recognition for our work, even if only unpaid publications. But if we want to keep producing, paying off our computers and eating every day, I don’t think microstock is the right way.

Q: Do you promote yourself through social networks? (facebook, twitter, blog, etc)? Is it helpful?

A: A website is good for showing your work and for showing examples when applying for permits, access, etc. I think social networks are quite attractive for distributors, but I myself am interested in producing images, not promoting them.

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

A: The best: "The important thing is the idea, not the hardware.”

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

A: I've always enjoyed the world of advertising, but I spent 40 years dreaming of becoming a professional photographer, and now that I've made it, I can not think of doing anything else.


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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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