10 Tips to Shoot Better Stock
Other than constantly shooting to further hone your craft, it’s important to understand the purpose of stock: to sell or promote a product, concept or idea. With this in mind, here are ten tips to help you shoot better stock, hence more earnings.
1. Create images with clear subject matter.
Images with a unique theme and clear point of view are most useful to buyers. Think about what message your image is making when you create it, and your image will likely be a stronger one.
You may start to instinctively create images that send a message or tell a story. That photo you shot on a hike? It says something about perseverance, and denotes accomplishment.
2. Leave space for text.
Have mercy on that art director, and remember to leave space for text in your image, when possible. A clear, clean space alongside the subject is always useful for layout purposes. Thinking about the final product can make shooting even more fun and purposeful, too. You may find you like composing images this way!
Using elements in your pictures which naturally provide a clear space for type is a great way to make more versatile stock imagery. Here, the composition allows for text by leaving space in the sea and the sky.
3. Shoot your image both horizontally and vertically.
Don’t go crazy with endless variations on each image you submit to Bigstock, but providing both horizontal and vertical layout options can be very helpful.
Even just a couple variations on a theme can be the difference between getting a sale or getting your image passed over. Help out that art director and find a few variations.
Have your subject look into the camera as well as away, and shoot from a few different angles.
4. Use depth of field to your advantage.
Depth of field is a trick every photographer should have in her toolbox, and can add substance and nuance to an image. Focusing in on one element of the frame lets your viewer know where to look, and highlights the theme of your picture.
Depth of field is often most advantageous when shooting multiple objects on varying planes.
5. Make sure your subject is in focus.
This may seem obvious, but it’s important to keep those images crisp and clean – especially your subject.
Motion is no excuse, either! Decide which part of your image will be in focus, and shoot at the appropriate shutter speed for your subject.
6. Use an unsharp mask.
Further to the point above, make sure to run an unsharp mask in Photoshop before you submit your images to Bigstock, to make them as layout-ready as possible.
An unsharp mask will give you a crisp result and make your picture more dynamic, but be sure not to over sharpen, or your images may appear noisy!
7. Give your image some color.
Adjusting color and saturation will help your image become a final product. Photoshop offers an auto color command, which can be quite useful.
You don’t want your image to depart too much from reality, but giving it a little added boost can be helpful to make the picture more illustrative and interesting.
8. Give your images some punch!
Adjusting levels and contrast in Photoshop is important as well. Make sure those blacks are black, and the image is well-balanced.
A good black is not to be underestimated, and often if you don’t make sure there is one, the image can look soft or gray.
9. Crop when appropriate.
Sometimes full-frame is just fine, but very often, cropping slightly can improve your composition. Keeping in mind space for text, the subject of the picture, and the balance of the frame, cropping can make your picture just that much better.
There’s an old adage about magazine editors loving square images, because they look so good on the layout of the page. Square frames can be fun to create and are versatile — try them out.
10. Get a model release or property release
Perhaps the most important tip – procure a model or property release for your image, so that your artwork can be used without infringement!
Otherwise, your family having fun in the sun is not much use to an art buyer.