Let Them Be Your Teacher

Rohn Engh

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Here is a quick mini-course on how you can take marketable stock photos.

Your best teachers are the markets themselves: magazines, textbooks, websites, books, posters, and so on. Let these markets show you what they want. Analyze their image content and style.

You'll find they consistently feature images with these primary elements:

1. Background is uncluttered.

2. Reasonably close up.

3. Bold in design, poster-like.

4. When people are in the pictures, which is 90% of the time, they are shown pictured involved in meaningful activities or dialog.

Give yourself a quick course in how to take marketable pictures by selecting a published stock photo, and then going out and taking (within reason) the same photo. If it’s a winter picture, and today it’s July, you will need to compensate. You will be rewarded with new insight into lighting, composition, and the handling of models by replicating the photo of a “pro. "

You will also notice consistencies in the “pro” pictures. For example, are they usually “close-up” or “medium shots?” Use such observations as a blueprint in developing your own illustrative style.

Use the checklist mentioned above to eliminate errors in your own picture taking. Tip the scale in your favor by submitting pictures that are marketable.

And, of course, keep in mind that rules are made to be broken (“Art is in the eye of the beholder”). Just to make things more challenging, you’ll find that all of the above four elements won’t always be present in a marketable picture.

Rohn Engh is director of PhotoSource International and publisher of PhotoStockNotes. Pine Lake Farm, 1910 35th Road, Osceola, WI 54020 USA. Telephone: 1 800 624 0266 Fax: 1 715 248 7394. Web site: http://www.photosource.com/products


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