Being a photographer is about visual experimentation and imagination. Imagination should separate your photography from the rest of the crowd. If your images are very similar to those from thousands of shooters, their market value will be lower than images in a microstock subscription model…  Photography only has three tools to make your images of landscapes, cathedrals, people, animals or objects look different from the rest. They are: your lens and equipment, your style and your imagination.  Wildlife photographer, Anup Shah, used imagination to make these standout animal shots.

The images are a breath of fresh air or maybe better put, a breath of fresh hyena. The wide angle view, the ground level perspective and the extreme proximity of the camera to the subject show us African wildlife as it is hard to see from a safari van (if you don´t want to risk your life). Ok, he may have used a beetle-cam of some sort to take them, but using imagination to have an unusual perspective is what differentiates one photographer from another or better still, differentiates an image from another. The compositions of the images we show here, a small selection of the great work he sent, using a stretching elephant trunk or high-stepping wildebeast legs to frame the rest of the shot, are daring and accomplished.  A final mark of Shah´s professionality can be read in the image description which includes the common and latin name for the animal, as well as the specific location of the shot.  

So the question remains, when you take your camera out on the street or into the wilderness to take photos, how much imagination do you put in your photography? How much effort do you put in your shots to make your images personal and different?  You might not be a wildlife photographer, but you should also experiment with different lens, styles, angles, perspectives and compositions.  Will your image surprise or bore a client or photo editor?  The market is full of dull, repetitive images, it craves new and surprising shots.

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Rights Managed photo YA4-1052055 by John Banagan caught the eye of our editors this week.  Why?
It’s natural, surprising and it has negative space.

NATURAL - The woman is real-looking and gazing at the camera with a quiet, natural expression.  She isn’t smiling a big, saccharine-sweet smile.  Most photographers tend to produce models being stagey or stocky, but it’s the expressive and natural models that connect as authentic and real with clients. 

SURPRISING - Stock agencies are full of standard spa and beauty images. Most of them are the “same old same old” approaches to the subject.  The bold, contrasting colors and almost snapshot feel of this image stand out.  When you look at over 35,000 new images a week from photographers, it’s nice to be surprised!

NEGATIVE SPACE - Negative space is the “empty” space in the top half of this image.  Generally speaking, it’s the area where the subject is not, and where there is an absence of distracting elements.  It gives designers an ideal space to include text and other design elements for advertising and magazine images.  If you don’t leave negative space in your stock images, you are limiting their commercial possibilities.

Is there any downside to the image?  Well, the model’s hair might be too “natural looking” for some clients.  A quick pass with the comb would have smoothed it down a bit more.

But that’s our opinion. 

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