A word about ethics

Stk_081224_1594What could there possibly be to write about when it comes to stock photography and ethics? I mean really, we are all creative. Ethics should be a concern for people who deal with money, or confidential information, or something…

A lot of stock shooters, when starting out, use friends and families for modelling. candid shots that came out nicely can often sell very well. But there are pitfalls and caveats to working this way. Stock agencies are, for the most part, purely software run, where a human eyeball very often does not enter into the equation when a buyer is perusing the library or buying a photo. Sometimes, it is up to the photographer to police their work online, to ensure their photos are not used inappropriately.

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Playing with food

I was helping a friend get better with their food shooting for stock with some critiques, so I thought this might be useful and relevant. Remember a bunch of posts ago, we covered a little about what you are trying to achieve with your stock photo. I broke it down into a few easy steps that help turn a decent photo into a decent selling photo.

I did some shots last night over supper that will help illustrate my workflow, and how I go about doing things. I used a softbox plus my on-camera speedlight, but I could have easily gotten sale-able photos just using the speedlight. The fundamentals remain the same though. So here we go.

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More flash

This past week had me shooting a mineral collection at a local technical school. I have a sideline in stock shooting rare earth minerals, metals, and gems. This time, I got a lead on some good industrial minerals through a contact I made years ago. It’s important to keep in touch with people. What I do is provide them with royalty free images to use in their coursework in the geology department in return for access and property releases so I can sell the images.

When I began my photo business years ago, I initially focused on industrial and mining photography. With that in mind, I pursued many companies, institutions and agencies for access, clients and nifty things to shoot. After a while, I found that I had a large and still growing library of industrial minerals. When I later began my foray into stock, that was a ready-made niche market to exploit.

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Being humble, there is always someone better

One of the most enjoyable things about photography is that there virtually are NO LIMITS to how you utilize your imagination with technologies available to you. You can take stills, interactive gif’s, movies, audio, music, whatever. There’s a million things people have not yet tried and it blows my mind every time one little door is opened by someone who doesn’t see the limits.

Conversely, in the (micro) stock world, there is almost always someone better. Whether it’s better technical quality or imagination, odds are that when you start your journey, someone took a better picture of what you’re trying to achieve.

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