Fifteen years ago, stock photography was a lot less complicated. You could shoot a globe, a handshake between two guys dressed in business suits, or even a smiling portrait of a woman dressed in formals and hope to make some bucks. Cut to 2015, and the world has gotten a lot more complex. Those sorts of images no longer make the cut:
Keren Sachs, says that for a stock photo business like ShutterStock, it is of paramount importance to constantly evolve in order to cater to the changing requirements of modern global businesses. The dynamics of how businesses are being conducted is changing everywhere. Businesses no longer buy images that are couriered to them by stock agencies. The Internet has brought about a big shift in the whole process of how images are used and how they are purchased. There is something else that the Internet has done. Today almost every business and every enterprise requires images.
What are stock photo buyers looking for?
“Today, they are really asking for images that show authenticity. They want images that feel real.”
An image depicting two guys shaking hands just doesn’t do it anymore.
Cultural diversity is something that is in great demand. Buyers want to see other cultures and other people.
“The world today as we know it isn’t just one sort of way.”
Showcase more images that represent your world and your culture. Stock sites cater to buyers from all other the world, and these buyers want to see diversity.
Variations from the same shoot are also welcome. An image that represents a certain culture or ethnicity can be interesting to a buyer, but she may want to see other images from the same shoot. Try to capture variations in emotions and not merely changes in postures when shooting with a model.
Unique images are highly sought. Buyers often look for images that are one-of-a-kind; they approach stock websites to deliver images that they cannot find anywhere else.
What makes a great stock photo?
- Images that are shot in a clever way so as to cater to a number of different purposes tend to work well. The above image, for example, could be used by an outdoor adventure company, a fashion company, a bicycle company, or even a hair salon. It has a greater chance of getting downloaded. Broader concepts tend to work better.
- Images that have plenty of negative space, allowing room for copy, make for great stock photos.
- Images that show anonymity and combine the other aspects of good stock photography, such as ample space to add content, are most versatile.
- Editorial content can make great contributions, provided you can produce professional results and deliver them in a timely manner.
Shooting Strategies to Improve Your Workflow
- Scout a location. Plan every session before you head out to actually shoot.
- Prepare a shot list.
- Make use of the time beforehand to do test shoots.
- Think of your portfolio when you plan your shoots. Instead of attempting to imitate other photographers’ work, try to build around your own style and use that to tell stories in a way no one else does.
- Build a team to help with your stock photo shoots.
- Always ensure that you get a model / property release for your images. Editorial images do not require releases.
Do you shoot stock photography? What trends do you notice in the industry?
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