The question we hear all the time is, “What kind of photos are most needed this year for your market?”

Among some of the advice given to photographers by agencies these past few years about trending topics are youth and technology, healthy lifestyle, candid-looking shots and multicultural images around the world, logical conclusions to illustrate our current way of life.

While each market tended to need images with models that largely reflect their particular societies, images portraying diversity are steadily making their way in. Compact cameras and mobile devices make street photography more and more possible, capturing the everyday life of every city and portraying their unique socio-economical traits.

Unless photographers only want to restrict the licensing of their images to editorial uses, it is precisely these images portraying people that require model releases. Read about one of our photographers’ experience in approaching models in our blog post The Importance of Release.

How can one truthfully show diversity in stock photography? The first step is to define the term.

Diversity does not only encompass ethnicity and culture. It also includes gender, socio-economic status, religious and political beliefs, physical abilities and age.

Mixed-race and same-sex relationships and families have become more common in many countries over the years. More people have taken to the streets to voice out their political views. The successful working woman is now widely recognized and accepted. Men not only work in offices, they also partake in household chores and share the responsibility of looking after their children.

Once these terms are defined, it’s time to look around and observe the surrounding to get a real picture of the present society. Challenge stereotypes in photo sessions. Seek out a variety of models of different ages and ethnicities, but keep the mix natural. Consider how the images can be used commercially for the target industries or markets. Refer to current advertisements and other online uses to see what works and what doesn’t.

With increasing demand for images with an authentic feel, rather than relying on model agencies, a more daring photographer might approach interesting models on the streets. Carrying business cards would come in handy for such purposes.

It would also be an interesting exercise to imagine oneself in the role of buyer in order to assess the commercial value of the images taken. For example, would an advertising creative choose this image for a bank or telecommunications ad? Can a website designer use it to describe an organization or company? Or is this image suitable for selling a product or brand?

Most importantly, the end result should be a believable image. It’s not just about putting a mix of people together, it’s how good and natural they look together in the environment they are photographed in that will make it work commercially.

Keep in mind that society and technology change continually, clothes and styles go out of fashion and market needs adapt promptly to these changes. Refreshing your images on a regular basis to reflect current social trends might not be such a bad idea to reach potential buyers. Above all, be open, be spontaneous and get those releases signed!


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Dear Photographers!

age fotostock has been developing a new image collection called SnapMobilefoto: fresh pictures shot with mobile devices.

As our CEO Alfonso Gutiérrez explained this last week in Yammer, the private social media platform for age photographers:

“It’s an opportunity to submit your Smartphone/tablet devices images, your photos made with the electronic tools that we all have at hand and use daily. The collection will be formally announced soon, but before making it public we wanted to share the concept with you, our photographers, so that you can take a part in developing it with us”.

Mobile device photography calls for a more conceptual and experimental photography rather than the descriptive and straightforward typical shooting style that is abundant. With mobile devices, you have at your fingertips hundreds of filters and shooting possibilities, you are free to be unpredictable and surprising in your personal interpretation of the reality that you have in front of your eyes. Imagine, experiment, change your style, get wild and shoot, shoot, shoot….  

Images submitted are currently internally tagged as coming from mobile devices. When this category becomes substantial and popular enough with both photographers and clients, we will launch it as a separated collection.

These images can be submitted as RF, and therefore need to have MR/PR´s, or as RM as "editorial use only" when MR/PR´s are not available.

We contemplated for months over whether to have an Android or iPhone submissions app that could be accessed by anyone with a smartphone, but as we are not expecting the category becoming an uncontrolled crowd sourced one, we decided to keep to the submission standards that are already in place.

When seen online, thumbnails of the images will display the SnapMobilefoto icon, a little camera, on the top right corner.

We hope that you will try it out soon. We’re looking forward to hear your constructive opinions, and to seeing your on-the fly pics!


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

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