The New Commuters

Commuter patterns have changed dramatically over the past few months as individuals cut back on driving both to save gas money and to protect the environment just as other countries such as India and China begin a love affair with the automobile. Both of these events have created photographic opportunities.

Bike commuting is down in some countries in Asia while up many percentage points in western countries. Dreamstime needs images of bicycle riders that are obviously on their way to the office or work site. To encourage bike riding, some cities are following Paris's lead with the Vélib' and introducing free bicycles points around town. Some commuters have compromised and traded four wheels for two wheels but with a motor. Scooters and motorcycles can fill up for under $20 and the mileage scores big.

Americans cling to their cars but the latest events in global oil markets have them giving up muscle cars for public transportation or even…. WALKING. Walking as a means of transportation was nearly abandoned until recently in the western US where it wasn’t uncommon in Los Angeles to drive a block from one spot to another. Now, even in LA, many people are car-pooling and ride sharing.

No doubt the lack of images of crowded trains, subways, stations and bus stops on Dreamstime has been due to model release restrictions in the past. Now, however, you can submit such images for editorial license.

© Jgroup

Gas guzzling SUVs and giant RV’s are disappearing from the roads faster than the price of gas rises. A truck dealer in New Mexico this week offered new large pickup trucks at half the sticker price for a reduction of $15,000. Vacationers are thinking small too. Instead of hauling everything in a bus sized vacation RV including a wide screen TV and the kitchen sink, Americans and others are going back to the past with tiny trailers such as the icamper.

In places such as the Pacific Northwest, ferries provide public transportation. Walk-on traffic has gone up as ferry riders leave their cars behind. They take taxis or walk or bike to their destinations once they reach the other side.

Also look for an increase in demand for images of home offices as many more companies allow employees to telecommute. Gartner Dataquest research projects that by 2009, more than 25 percent of U.S. employees will be telecommuters. The state of Georgia offers big tax credits to employers that allow workers to work from home at least one day a week. This helps the employees save money, gives relief to downtown traffic problems in cities like Atlanta and reduces the city’s collective carbon footprint. Studies have shown that telecommuting employees are happier, avoid some of the pitfalls of office politics and save their employers a bit of overhead. Plus they get to skip all those "birthday cake in the conference room" distractions.

© Nyul

Tips for a home office shoot: Make it obvious that the model is telecommuting and not simply shopping online or other web activity. Place a cell phone or other mobile device on the desk. A laptop is the prop of choice since commuters generally haul their computers back and forth for the days they have to be in the office. An ideal setting would show a kitchen through the office doorway, a garden through the window or other hints that the environment is not in a professional office building. A dog, cat or bird in a cage in the scene will further emphasize the telecommuting angle. Telecommuting is a solitary pursuit: use only one model in the shots. The model, male or female, should be dressed casually…perhaps barefoot to show that while serious work is being done, the atmosphere is home/casual. How about a pajama clad worker at a laptop with a spreadsheet or graph on the screen? That says it all.

Image needs/shoot ideas for this subject:

Businessperson commuting to work on bicycle or scooter. Computer backpack. Man in suit or woman in short skirt.

Business commuter getting on to a bus

Ride share vans

Flex cars

Crowded train, subway and bus stations

Crowded trains, subways and buses. Interiors.

Ferry riders

Smart Car

Auto traffic in metropolitan India and China

New car owners in China and India

Show four or more business people in a car…car-pooling. Or car with three people picking up another.

Park and ride lot with signage.

Telecommuter in nightclothes or other casual dress in home office environment.

Vélib' drop off point, riders and other free bicycle points in other cities.

A hybrid car pulling a small caravan or trailer.

Sites for some tiny RVs:

Photo credits: Andreas Karelias, Bowie15, James Steidl, Nyul, Seriousguy, Kristian Sekulic, Cyrille Lips, Uros Ravbar.

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Great article, I have been meaning to get pictures of our Rail system. I live down the street from it and can't wait until they add the stop by my work so I can take the rail there....but that is going to be in 2012...uhg


Another photo op... high definition tvs. TV stations in the US will only broadcast digital over-the-air TV signals and their analog (traditional) TV broadcast towers will be shut down. The digital TV transition takes place 2/2009.


Good advises. I have taken the works of some persons and cars of China.


Very interesting clause! Thanks for the helpful information.


Once again, great ideas! Thanks for keeping us on top of new trends.

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