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Saturday, 19 January 2013

Things You Should Know About Stock Photography


If you were to ask a photographer if they considered what they did to be an art form most would agree that it is. It's an art form that can be broken down into various categories just like you can all other forms of art. Photojournalism, Documentary, and, Formal photography are just a few that most people are familiar with. One form of photography that most people encounter on a daily basis is stock photography. If you are driving down the road or eating at your favorite restaurant for lunch you can be sure that you have encountered stock photography. Stock photography are image storage banks that are available to the public as well as businesses, graphic designers, advertising agencies, and anyone else that needs to use one.

Stock photos are used by these groups to save time and help reduce costs associated with hiring a photographer and paying them for their photos. These are photos that are taken by a professional and are stored in catalogs for purchase. I know the first thing that comes to mind would be why would oat someone to use their photos as my own. The same reason you would pay an artist to use their music in your work. If you were to use an illegal file sharing site to obtain the music or photo. You would be taking away payment that should rightfully go to the creator. This is why photographers and website owners should protect their photos with water marks. Stock photos don't have water marks on them, but the sites that distribute them don't allow you to copy the photos. You can right click or save them to a file. You actually have to pay before you can use them.
There are sites out there that do allow for you to use stock photos for free. However, in most cases the photographs are not as good as those on paid sites. Which is why they are free and allow you to right click or save them to a file and use. When deciding if you want to use a stock photo you should always ask yourself if you could shoot it yourself. If you are putting together a website you are probably going to want a specific picture. You may not have the time to take the picture or you may just not be able to get it exactly how you want it to look. You should first decide if you want to spend hours looking through stock photo websites for the perfect shot or spend a few minutes and try it yourself.
From the photographers standpoint you have to decide if you generate enough money to cover your expenses. The difference between a wedding photographer and a stock photographer is that you don't know if you'll ever sell a single photo. A wedding photographer can put an ad on craigslist and eventually they will book a wedding even if it's only a hundred dollars. A stock photographer has to realize that you will be taking photographs which require time in the field. You also have to account for the time you will take to edit and post your pictures. You are doing this work without knowing if you will earn any money.
You also have to take into consideration that you are going to have to market your images to either a website or other stock sharing agency. This takes time as well as it's going to require you to spend money. This time that you spend before even selling any photos is considered non billable hours. This is time that you can't tie to a job or use as an expense for specific project.
You are going to want to make sure that your images don't look outdated. This is standard in advertising or any other type of print media. If not you will be wasting your time, money, and effort and have to money to show for your effort. Keeping up with current trends will allow you to adjust your style to what people are interested in and willing to pay for. You don't want your work to look like it was taken with a $50.00 camera. So, you'll want to invest in the proper camera equipment. This is where the majority of your start up cost is going to come from. Proper software to edit your photos is a must to have professional quality photos. There are quite a few to choose from, but the most popular is Lightroom. Most professional photographers use this to edit their raw photos with.
Don't use overexposed pictures when you submit your pictures to stock photography sites. You want your photos to look real and not posed. You want the shot to be as candid as possible. Try not to use photos that look like they are from a school yearbook. You don't want your subject to look straight at you since this will have a more unnatural look to it. You just have to work on this step to perfect it as there is no other way to get it exactly right without practice.
You should make sure that you don't crop your photos in a way that your photos can't be used in advertising. You have to crop it in a way that it will fit properly into an ad if it's purchased by someone. If you crop it in a way that you are cutting off parts or at a weird angle then there's less chance that someone will purchase it. This is something that will come together in time with practice. Don't try and fit your photo into a specific space. Go beyond and capture other features that are around your subject. You may find someone looking for a shot with more than just a head shot to use.
If you are going to stay in business sell stock photographs for any length of time you are going to have to produce good quality pictures. The proper combination of technique, software, and uniqueness will help set your business apart from others that sell stock photography. Make sure that you choose the right companies to display your portfolios with. You want to avoid using sites that have a bad reputation or pay less than what your work is worth. If you take the time to research the best sites to post your work on it pay off in the long run. The last bit of advice that all stock photographers should follow is not to be like other photographers in your field. Creativity and setting yourself apart from other photographers will make your work more exclusive and more sought after. This is after all as an artist you are trying to achieve anyway.
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