Problems when shooting human subject for a start

Well, for this new year, I wanted to achieve more photos with human elements in it. My first step was to post on a local forum requesting for Time for Portfolio or Time for CD, TFP or TFCD in short.

This method surely has been discussed thousands times over but its a first for me and I have got some response. Not forgetting I have to filter out some whom features did not make the cut. The truth hurts and rejecting them was especially hard because I had put on an offer and they responded in agreement.

My friends were my starters, giving me a chance to start off on this area of stock photography. Nevertheless, the prospect on working for TFP is still as challenging as ever.

Let me share some very simple issues I face as a beginner in this area:

#1 Getting the right concept

Studying the market trend wasn't simple and I really had no idea what works. I could only resort to shooting some simple expressions on white background and reshooting my military pictures which was pretty sellable in my own standards.

#2 Getting the right props

Not including the best and most ideal lighting kits, I made do with off shoe flashes. That wasn't the hardest part though. Getting the right props for a beginner like me meant that I do not own a closet for the models and some equipment are pretty hard to find as they may belong to certain industries which are traded among themselves. Renting of costumes sounds feasible but as a student I cannot afford that each time and not forgetting I am shooting on a TFP basis.

#3 Getting more people in the picture

Like mentioned, its a TFP, individuals or couples who approach me will want portfolio of themselves, not with others. That makes having group shots more challenging although I'm not complaining its not impossible. Individual pictures may sell but I'm sure pictures of teamwork, family and groups of friend can be just as sellable if not more profitable. That said, one can always request to do TFP for families or group of friends which in the local forum I posted in, has a little target audience of that.

#4 Getting a right location

Studio are currently not within my budget and I do not own one. That leaves me with on-location photography which in my country, Singapore, is a chore. We lack green pastures, open spaces and most importantly, free-to-shoot locations. Most public areas such as train station, shopping malls and even certain restaurants have restricted photography all thanks to the rise of terrorism. You can easily imagine how restricted in the choices of places we can shoot in. Even abandoned areas in my country are rare to find, they provide good photography opportunities only if the authorities did not catch you shooting in their premises thanks to terrorism once again. The escape of a high profile terrorist has led to the authorities sealing up any possible buildings in a bid to flush out the fugitive. Years on, he's still at large.

Forgive me if there's any shortcoming on my article but these are just some personal problems I face as a greenhorn in shoot human subjects for stock photography.

I sincerely look forward to INPUTS, ADVICE and SUGGESTIONS to help me better overcome such issues from the better photographers out here in this community.

Thanks and have a nice day everyone

Photo credits: Koh Sze Kiat.

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You did a great job with whatever limited resources available to you. I thought most of your shots were done in a studio. Your pp skills are really good.


In viewing your portfolio, it appears you have done some great work utilizing the resources available to you. The photo of the outdoor ballerina is remarkable! Cheers, Marilyn

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