Stock Photos Are Created, Not Taken

If you have been around stock photography for any amount of time and paid attention to forums and blogs you undoubtedly have seen the phrase "Stock photos are created, not taken". Does this mean that you have to set up every situation and spend a ton of money of props and models? If you are like me, you don't have a large budget for creating amazing sets and hiring teams of models.

Here are some ways you can get some stuff accomplished on little or no budget!

1) There are generally local models that want to build their portfolios almost everywhere. It seems like it has been a fair trade, I generally require the signing of a model release for a "TFP" shoot with a model. They get shots for their portfolio, I get stock photos.

2) You can make a set almost anywhere! The night, a garden hose, and a couple speedlights can be used to make a nighttime rainstorm. A white sheet in your living room with a couple of speedlights can give you a white background. Take your model on location to a school, in front of a worksite, on a desert mesa. Create great bokeh with city lights or a shop window and a narrow depth of field. You can do all of it without spending anything besides travel time.

3) Try keeping a list of concepts that you would like to do and look for the opportunity. For instance, my wife and I were out on the road and we passed Coral Pink Sand Dunes in Utah. We took a one hour detour and I ended up with several stock photos, a sand dune texture, time slippling away (sand running through my wifes fingers), hair blowing in the desert, and a "solitude" shot with a single tumbleweed on the dunes. These were all things I had on my concept list, and one day the opportunity presented itself.

In summary, do a little planning and take advantage of what is available and you can "create" stock photos without a huge budget! Just don't let those opportunities slip away.

Photo credits: Val Armstrong.

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Enoy reading your article, it's good to get some encouragement. Thank You.


i'm agree with your article. thanks for sharing


thanks,good ideas


Thank you very much. :)


Good advice - Took me a while in the beginning to realize I shouldn't be driving around randomly looking for shots rather coming up with ideas and then creating them. You have a great portfolio! Been watching your growth as a photographer for a while.


good ideas. most of my shots are setups.


Very useful ideas to produce no only take images, thanks

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