What You Need to Know About Stock Photography

The art of photography is a beautiful undertaking. It captures moments and stills them for eternity to be beheld by generations to come.

Whether it is capturing landscapes or nature, landmarks, people or abstract photos, this form of art has an enormous following of people who appreciate it. Some are even willing to part with good money to possess some of the beauty captured in these photos. Stock photography refers to professional photographs of places, landmarks, people or events that are bought and sold on a royalty-free basis and which can be used and reused for commercial design purposes.

There is much to know and learn, whether you are a buyer or an aspiring producer of stock photography before investing or dedicating yourself to the art.

Below we begin by highlighting some key points that one should be aware of from a seller’s perspective.

– Not every photo qualifies as a good stock photo

Not every photo that is in focus and correctly exposed makes a good stock photo. What qualifies as a good stock photo is one a designer can use in various ways.

One could use the analogy of a consumer buying something from a supermarket shelf, what will they pick for the same price: The one with more in the packet or less? A designer choosing a photo uses the same approach.

A good stock photo will deliver both value and variety. It needs to be clear and crisp quality, but most importantly it needs to be a picture that has a valid use.

Some of the questions to consider for a stock photo are;

  • How could this photo be used
  • Why would a designer settle for this image
  • What makes it unique and interesting
  • Will it stand out of the crowd

These are important questions to answer so that your time on selecting images and editing is well spent.

– Finished Photos

Despite digital cameras being extremely good at bringing out high-resolution photos, the rule of thumb should always be, camera files are not finished files. They still need to be worked on to ensure they are colorful and vibrant.

 Areas of focus should be

  • contrast
  • saturation
  • exposure
  • cropping
  • dust spot
  • White balance

The above are a few areas of focus, but you should also be careful not go overboard with changes. Designers will opt for a picture that pops out of the page or screen without seeming artificial.

– Use a tripod

You should be aware that every photo submitted to a major stock agency will be thoroughly scrutinized individually at 100% zoom. Images that stand a chance of approval are those that are well exposed and completely sharp.

To achieve this, you had better use a tripod as much as possible. Before you snap away at 10 frames a second, you want to step back and see whether the shot can be taken using a tripod, remember to fine tune the focus and exposure.

The other alternative is to shoot with studio flash lighting which helps freeze your subject matter. However, this option is usually not always available in many situations, so the option is a sturdy tripod.

– Start at your Strength

You want to focus where your real strength is and perfect it as you venture into more unfamiliar territory. Different photographers will have varied strengths: one who is flawless in landscape and nature shots might turn out to be just horrible when it comes to portraits.

While you may want to diversify your stock photo portfolio, the truth is there will be other photographers who are better than you in certain areas and in turn you have areas where you are so much better than them. So a sensible approach is to build your initial portfolio based on your strongest subjects.

That way, you will have a better chance of having beautiful images that stand out, instead of groping in the dark and having to learn the hard way.

By following the above tips, you will find yourself well on the way to producing some amazing stock photos.