The old question of what sells and what doesn't has been around for decades and if you had the perfect answer you wouldn't be reading this article. But, there are several guidelines that will help you join at the front of the sales queue if applied diligently. Lets' take a look at a few of them.
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The bottom line when shooting for stock is that your images need to be of a very high standard exhibiting real quality. If there is one thing you need to learn it's learning to shoot quality. Compare your images to the adverts in books and magazines. If you can compete with those types of images you're on your way to selling. So what should my photos look like.
1. Include people and lifestyles
I have read articles, books and magazines and all of them say that if you aren't shooting people you will not make it in the world of stock photography. Photos of people sell products. Just look at the adverts in newspapers, magazines and on television. People evoke emotion and we relate to them and advertisers use this vehicle to sell their products.
2. Strong and vivid colours
Our world is made up of colour. We see in colour and most of us feel and sense in colour. Colour evokes different emotions in us and companies need these emotions to sell. So, great images have lots of bold and vivid colour.
Depth is so important in stock photos because photography is only two dimensional. It helps to add another dimension and a dynamic element to the image. Add blur to your images by using depth of field so the subject is lifted off the background in a three dimensional way. By showing distance you add depth. A wide angled lens is great for giving a perception of depth to your images.
4. Great lighting
Always know what your light is doing. Light brings another dimension to your photography. Beams of light filtering through the images giving that golden touch Shoot in the magical early morning or late afternoon hours. These are the Precious hours. Learn to use it to your greatest advantage.
5. Simple clear and uncluttered
If I can give you one piece of advice it is that simple clean and uncluttered images will sell. Less is more when it comes to stock. Agencies want open space that doesn't spoil the image in order to add text. If you want to sell your photos to magazines then think magazine. Visualise how your image will fit on the front cover. Don't shoot landscape as books and magazines are all in a portrait format.
6. Great concepts and style
One of the surest ways to sell is by having great concepts in your images. Concept images encapsulate moods, images, thoughts feelings in a stylish and imaginative way. You cannot easily shoot photos of speed and love is not an object. So you have to find a way of conveying those abstract thoughts and feelings. If you can master concepts and come up with unique ideas then you are on your way to selling many photos.
7. Business and technology
You can't go wrong by shooting these two fields. We are being overpowered by technology and it is changing so rapidly that there is always a need for the latest technology has to offer. Business is also in need of new ways to communicate financial concept images.
8. Health and fitness
Diet and a healthy lifestyle is the in thing at the moment with the problem the world has with obesity and the sedentary lifestyle. New companies are coming on to the market every day and all need to communicate their products with images and concepts that haven't been seen before.
It is absolutely essential to research before shooting specifically for stock. Find out what is selling by visiting the top stock websites. Have a look at the best selling images and shoot similar types of images. You can only sell what the market wants to buy. No matter how great or perfect your image looks, you are wasting your time if it doesn't sell. There are golden oldies like people and technology that will always sell, but, everyone is shooting them so you have to come up with unique concepts and angles. Don't be afraid to experiment.
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By: Shaumik Maurya
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