Stock Photography - 5 image ideas that set truly successful photographers apart

The picture is of a woman, mysterious and beautiful; a calm demeanor pervades her warm personality, graceful, she strikes a serene sense of mystique. A warm golden light infuses her being with life as she seats poised, elegant, petite and powerful. A faint smile plays at the corners of her mouth, barely touching her sharp eyes creating an enigmatic aura. Behind her, undulating, a landscape, rugged and expansive; rivers flow from dark ice capped silhouettes, majestic mountain peaks birthed in the warm glow of a setting sun.

Reproduction of painting Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci and light graphic effect.

The picture captures a contrast, light and darkness masterfully woven with strokes of artistic genius, the woman in the picture, poised alluring and aloof is Mona Lisa. Painted sometime between the year 1503 AD and 1519 AD, by an Italian painter, draftsman, sculptor, architect, and an engineer; a genius, it’s the epitome of Renaissance.

In painting Mona Lisa, Leonardo Da Vinci skillfully succeeded in harmonizing reality and fantasy, Mona Lisa draws the viewer, captures their gaze, tenderly draws and directs them to see an ideal an imagined world where the subject is one with nature,it’s an authentic ideal, truth meshed in reality.

Mona Lisa is the most famous painting in the world, it's so valuable, so priceless, it's not for sale!

Three children and bunny

How do you create images that are valuable and unique; images that draw, direct capture and embrace the viewer in a world that is reality and yet a fantasy?

Before tackling this question, let's peep into the mind of a genius, the genius of artistic imagery, Leonardo da Vinci who among other talents was a proficient writer;

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”,

He also wrote,

“To see the world in a grain of sand,and to see heaven in a wild flower, hold infinity in the palm of your hands,and eternity in an hour.”

There are five image ideas that will set you apart from the rest of the pack.

1. Shoot natural and realistic photos

2. Shoot photos that evoke emotions

3. Shoot common relevant photos

4. Shoot authentic photos - faces

5. Shoot simple uncluttered photos

1. Shoot natural and realistic photos

Group Of Business People Listening To Colleague Addressing Office Meeting

Think about the theme of your photo, What is the setting of your message, is it in an office, a park, inside a house, on the street, on a beach, in a crowd or in a lonely place, where do you want to capture your subject?

How will your subject connect to nature and yet communicate to the viewer? What is the most natural way of connecting your subject to their environment? How do all the elements come together naturally while communicating your message?

For example people in a board meeting rarely grin from ear to ear, your subjects must be official professional and businesslike, it's natural, its realistic, it's expected. What they should not be is screaming, jumping or howling, it looks fake, cheap and stage managed.

Viewers can always smell stage managed scenes. Create realistic yet natural scenes. Shoot natural events as you would in real life even if you are using a cast. Be conscious of the background of your photo, bring all the elements in your image together and communicate to your viewer through your subject. Your photo must be believable.

2. Shoot photos that evoke emotions

Love and family people concept - happy mother and child daughter hugging at home

Think about your audience, how will they react to your photo, what emotions will your photo evoke? Is it a sense of euphoria, calmness, excitement, peace, relaxation, comfort,eagerness, desire, peace, restlessness etc; how will your audience perceive your photo?

Your photo must resonate with your audience, it must stir up emotions in the viewer. Brands seek photos that resonate with a targeted niche, shoot photos that connect to that niche, your photo must appeal to a specific demographic group. Think of all the elements and subjects in your photo, do they have a local or global appeal?

3. Shoot common relevant photos

What is the message in your photo? What are you trying to communicate to your audience? Make your photo relevant to this message, let all the elements in the photo communicate this message to the viewer.

A red rose flower does not communicate good customer service, a group of people in an office with crossed arms do not communicate productivity. Your photo must be specific and relevant to the content of your message.

Shoot common realistic realistic photos, connect your subjects to your message as your to stir specific emotions in your viewers.

4. Shoot authentic photos - faces

Children Reading Books, Babies Early Education, Kids Group, White

People are attracted to other people’s faces. Faces communicate messages better than words. Your subject’s faces must be visible to the viewer.

They should be looking at your most important element. Your viewer’s attention will be directed towards where your subject is facing, if the subject is staring at the camera, the viewer will tend to stare back. Strive to capture authenticity in your photos,your subjects should appear comfortable, natural and relaxed.

5. Shoot simple uncluttered photos

Young woman in spa. Facial massage.

Cluttered photos are confusing, they distract the viewer from your message. Shoot simple photos, capture as few subjects as possible for your intended message. A single subject is more appealing than a group, unless the group is communicating diversity.

Consider whether your message can be communicated by a headshot and not the entire body. For example, you do not need the body image of a busy executive at a call centre, a headshot and the upper torso will do just fine. Your photo must be simple yet large enough to capture your viewers attention. The trick is to keep it simple and attractive.

I wish to thank you for reading this articles, this is the last article in a series of five articles, titled - “Stock Photography” The first was;

Stock Photography - 5 Secret ideas by Successful Microstockers, followed by

Stock Photography - How to sell your images, then,

Stock Photography - Who buys Your Stock Images? and

Stock Photography - Here is How to Create Images that Sell

As you click on the Useful button, I will leave you with one of Leonardo da Vinci’s famous quotes;

“A painter should begin every canvas with a wash of black, because all things in nature are dark except where exposed by the light.”

Photo credits: Cynoclub, Inara Prusakova, Jozef Klopacka, Monkey Business Images, Oksun70, Poznyakov.

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January 29, 2019


Great ideas and tips. Keep it simple!!! The viewer should know what they're looking at. William

January 08, 2019


William Gaddis lived between 1922 and 1998 while William Blake lived

January 08, 2019


Thank you all for your comments.

January 08, 2019


Good tips, but . . . the first quotation is by William Gaddis, and the second quotation is from a poem by William Blake.

January 06, 2019


You're totally right,in photography it's just like in cinema: 'less is more'. Thanks for your tips! ✌🏻😎

December 24, 2018


Thanks Suzanne, for great feedback..

December 24, 2018


Thanks Draganjanovic, truly appreciated...

December 22, 2018


Thank you for the reminders.

December 22, 2018


nice and useful!

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