The Nude Girl, Tomato, and my Stock Career

I was recently walking down the street when I ran into a pretty, smiling girl who was holding a cell phone and a tomato.

"Would you like to take my picture?" she asked.

Being the good photographer who always carried his camera, I was more than kind to oblige.

I began thinking about that, carrying my camera with me everywhere. It can be a ball and chain. It's heavy with all the lenses and flash unit, and it's difficult to navigate through tight spaces and crowds. If you're at an event, seating is usually tight and the equipment robs you of that much more space. But... I'm a photographer.

The girl did many poses for me, speaking on the phone, texting, balancing the tomato on her nose, all types of facial expressions, jumping in the air, and so on.

Being a photographer is very similar to just about any other hobby or passion in that you always want more. You buy a motorcycle but realize you want a bigger one. There is always a new gadget out there guaranteed to help you catch more fish. You buy a camera and realize its limits; you begin to save up for one with greater capabilities. You want more lenses. Better lenses. More memory cards.

The girl winked at me. I began to wonder if she had more on her mind than the tomato. It did seem like a dream come true, a model willing to be photographed and equipped with the most iconic stock props you could ever hope for.

I recently purchased studio lights and they have opened new doors for me for doing stock. I learned the hard way of the limits of using a mounted flash unit for stock. No, it wasn't that I was getting a lot of rejections, I knew better than to submit most of the images I attempted to create, but it was a waste of time even trying. The flash was not good enough by itself.

What really struck me about this girl was how beautiful she was, but it was a unique Girl-Next-Door look. Nice, fresh, smooth skin, and friendly looking. It may be a bad thing to say, but the perfect model for stock is one who doesn't look like a porn star. And no doubt about it, she was perfect.

My new dilemma now with my studio lights is space. I do not have a studio. I've rearranged the furniture in my living room but it's still not enough space. In some ways that's not such a bad thing, at least for now. I do not have access to models though I’ve been able to work with a few. I am learning too, though, that my studio light kit is not enough for a large space anyway. Two lights, despite being good units, are not enough to shoot a large indoor space with multiple people.

The girl then asked if I wanted to shoot nudes. I cocked my head when she said that, I was having a hard time believing my ears actually heard that. She pointed at a woods nearby and said she could get naked over there. She then headed for the trees, not running but moving at a quick gait that girls do. She was undoing her clothes before we got there, she was that eager. It's amazing the doors a camera will open. I was wondering how to shoot a nude girl on the cell phone while holding a tomato.

As I grow my stock career, I am beginning to wonder if I should use my earnings to rent space and hire models. It really wouldn't cost that much, if you keep an eye out you can find aspiring models willing to work cheap. But to shoot great stock, you need space, props, lights, and all professional grade. Actually, that's not true, you can still do great stock with limited equipment but you are also limited in what you can do. I suppose its human nature, always reaching a plateau and then wanting to climb higher.

The girl accommodated every possible desire I could experience as a photographer. "Rapture" comes nowhere close to describing the day. When it was over, the girl held up a pen and asked if I had a model release so I could use the images for my portfolio. I wondered where the pen came from as she did not have a purse. But a sickening feeling came over me as I realized I did not have the release form with me. When the young woman realized I had no forms, she just smiled, shrugged, and then bounded away with that feminine gait.

I of course do other kinds of photography other than stock, but stock has complimented my learning overall of the craft. My art photography is better because of stock, and my stock gets better because of my art. You reach new plateaus with your learning, and you always want to climb to the next. As with most things, resources are limited so you struggle to overcome the obstacles, and even then, you become a better photographer for doing so. For now, I have reached a new plateau and am happy for it, but my eye is on the new hill in front of me. I am wondering how I will find a way to climb to the top, knowing there will yet be an even higher hill to climb behind it.

I looked down on the ground and saw the girl had left her tomato behind. Such is my luck with women.

Isolated tomato

Photo credits: Valentina Razumova.
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  • Wisconsinart
My greatest passion is landscape and fine art photography. However, stock does provide a challenge in itself. I enjoy coming up with new ideas and concepts and learning new techniques. In the end, each compliments the other. The things you learn from one can apply for another and you grow with the craft. I have over 30 years experience with different kinds of art and freelance endeavors and have yet to become tired or bored with finding new ways to exercise the creative side of me. Thank you for visiting my profile and I hope your time here will be a reward in itself. I am located in Wisconsin, USA.

My collections:Farm and Country Living
Active Seniors
Surreal and Dreamlike
Fall Colors and Waterfalls

If there is anything Wisconsin-related that you have a special need for, just ask! I would be glad to accommodate.

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July 22, 2011

Yup. Always bring MR where ever you go :)
Great blog!


May 12, 2011

I really enjoyed it! nice though provoking article :-)
thanks for sharing


May 10, 2011

Interesting articles, wish you are lucky!


April 18, 2011

Great article!!


April 18, 2011

You really should look in to writing of some kind -- Fantastic!


April 17, 2011

Great story :-)


April 17, 2011

great stuff ... you should think about writing also cause you capture a good amount of suspense into your stories! congrats!


April 17, 2011

great blog..I always have a MR with me.But not too many takers.


April 15, 2011

Because I am a mere illustrator, I am unable to shoot the proverbial "isolated tomato". At least not one that could compete with the 75000 or so that are already in the mix. So I thought, maybe I could do a vector illustration of one instead. Then I got excited, at least until I saw how many illustrations of a tomato were already on the system (not 75000 but close).

Thats when I thought; what would Wisconsinart do? He'd say something like "don't just have the tomato smiling into the camera. . . put it to work! Washing dishes, vacumming, sweating at the gym. At that got me thinking.

I have now decieded to have do an illustration of a angry tomato holding the editors at Dreamstime hostage. I am hoping to have it too you soon!

On a side note, if you want to do well at stockrank, reading Wisconsonart's blog is a must!


April 15, 2011

That was fun, specially when she offered to sign the model release, hehe


April 15, 2011

Not the "happy ending" I was expecting :-{


April 15, 2011

Great article...enjoyed reading it :D


April 15, 2011

Always practice safe photography... so never leave home without one... a model release that is.


April 15, 2011

Was it a dream?? If not, I guess you learnt a valuable lesson, always have a model release form on you. You never know what's around the corner. But besides that it sounds like you had a great time practising :D


April 15, 2011

well, chance always run into a prepared man. You're a lucky dog. Contratuations!


April 14, 2011

your blogs are always great. if ya ever get tired of photography you need to think about they are great. as well as well writen


April 14, 2011

Really cute - enjoyed reading it.


April 14, 2011

Pretty good reading for a brake with coffee and cigar with your legs on the table, relax!


April 14, 2011



April 14, 2011

I don't know what your smoking,, but please send me some :)