Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Woman Wearing Only A Barrel Showing Financial Ruin

A woman stands on a street corner wearing only a barrel indicating financial distress.
A woman stands on a street corner wearing only a barrel in a stock photo about financial destitution.

Financial Hardship
Women suffering financial hardship is nothing new and an important challenge for our society to address. The reasons behind women finding themselves in financial hardship are many…divorce, discrimination, medical adversity and more. But how do we visually show such challenges for women…and actually, for men as well?

An Iconic Symbol Of Financial Ruin
An iconic symbol of financial ruin and destitution is that of a person wearing only a barrel held up by suspenders. That image comes from the days of the great depression, but still gets its message across quickly and clearly. Putting a woman into that barrel creates a stock photo of financial adversity for women that is clearly and powerfully stated, but also adds an element of humor that can make the message just a tad more palatable, more memorable and more effective.

It was with the above in mind that my partner, Stephanie D. Roeser, created this stock image of financial hardship…a woman wearing nothing but a barrel as she stands on the street corner of a large city. By having her standing at a corner she introduced the idea of choice and by having the setting be a city she introduces the element of business into the image.

Hitting Rock Bottom Financially
While it is natural to tie this image to women’s issues, it can also apply to men as well. In fact, anybody who has hit rock bottom financially can be represented by this “woman wearing only a barrel” stock photo.  The idea of a person wearing only a barrel with suspenders first became an iconic symbol in the 1930s when numerous cartoonists used that visual to represent bankruptcy and destitution.

From Post Divorce Poverty To Tax Ramifications
Stephanie created the image with ample copy space for including headlines and text. Because the image has a ton of potential uses for everything from post –divorce poverty to challenges for women in the workplace to tax ramifications, she felt it best to put the image into the Royalty Free collection with Getty Images.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Woman's Head Exploding From Technology Overload In A Funny Stock Photo

A woman, enmeshed in complex computer circuitry, has her head explode from technology overload.
A woman's head explodes from technology overload in a humorous stock photo.

Feeling Overloaded By Technology
Have you ever felt overloaded by technology? Well, I feel that way a couple of times a day! Sometimes I feel like my head is going to explode from it all.  If I am feeling that way, then others are too…and that means fertile ground for a stock photo…a surprised woman with her head exploding from technology overload.

To create this technology overload stock photo I turned to a previous shoot I did to create a humorous head exploding from social media stock image. I used one of the out takes of the model with an expression surprise. I also turned to my archives to find a suitable “explosion” image…in this case a pile of face powder being hit with a burst of canned air. The final raw material image was a close-up, or more accurately several close up images of the computer circuitry traces on a motherboard.

Complex Computer Circuitry And A Face Powder Explosion
I combined the circuitry images, stripping out the traces, to create a very complex set of circuits with varying colors and brightness to add a sense of complexity and depth. I wanted the circuitry to be unusually complex to add to the sense of overwhelming technology. I used a white to gray gradation as a background. I then dropped in the face powder “explosion”, and finally, added the woman’s face using a layer mask to fade her head into the explosion.

Enmeshed In Technology
The final steps were to add a bit more of the circuitry on top of her and adding a layer mask and “painting” out the circuits from her face. By adding the additional layer of circuitry on top of the woman we further “enmesh” her in the technology boosting the idea of the overwhelming nature of her situation.

Easy Cropping And Royalty Free
The image was composed to allow for easy cropping to any format be it square, horizontal or vertical. Finally I chose to distribute this image through Getty Images as a Royalty Free image (whoever came up with the name Royalty Free…jeez).

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Strong Woman's Back Showing Health, Fitness and Strength

A woman's strong and muscular back illustrates concepts such as strength, health and fitness.
A strong woman's back for illustrating concepts such as beauty, health, fitness and strength.

Beauty, Health And Fitness
A long neglected category for me is that of beauty, health and fitness. But it was less my desire to tap into that category than my appreciation for the particular woman in this shot that led me to create this strong woman’s back stock photo.  The woman whose back is the subject of this stock photo is an avid indoor rock climber and an awesome example of physical fitness and I wanted to capture her strength and beauty on film, uh, er…pixels?

A Strong Back And An Active Pose
To create the shot I photographed her in my studio, then isolated her back onto a separate sky image, then added a blue monochrome look to make the image more artistic and less literal.  I lit the image with soft but directional light to bring out her muscles. I selected a pose that both showed off her musculature and the graceful lines of the female body and provided a more dynamic body position than a more traditional straight on shot of her back would have offered. Images with a more dynamic feel to them generally sell better.

Women, Strength And Boldness
One of the beautiful things about this image is that it can actually illustrate a pretty wide variety of concepts. Obviously this image can work for health, fitness and beauty ideas but it also works for strong women and for success. It fits well the new paradigm of women with strength and boldness.

Cropping Flexibility And Copy Space
As with most of the stock images I create I composed it to work well whether used as a vertical, horizontal or square image. Additionally, there is room for copy on either side of the woman’s torso.

Variations And A Royalty Free Licensing Model
I actually created this image ten years ago…that brings up an interesting change in how I shoot stock. Had I done this image now I would have created several versions…one with no breast showing (because Getty has labeled this image as "nude" and therefore remains unseen on the default settings).I would also create a version without the blue tint creating a more "commercial" image. In addition, I would make these Royalty Free images rather than Rights Managed as is the current image.  Matter of fact…maybe I’ll start working on that now!

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

How The Internet Works Stock Photo

Gears and light trails are combined in a stock photo about how the Internet works.
How the Internet works: A stock photo about cloud computing, networking and cloud computing infrastructure.

Communications Technology Stock Photos
With the importance and ubiquitous nature of networks, cloud computing, and the Internet, it’s hard to go wrong when making stock photo images to create images dealing with communications technology. It was with that in mind that I created this image that shows, conceptually, the infrastructure of networking, cloud computing and the Internet.

Servers, Routers And Internet Technology
Servers, routers, and other equipment necessary for running the Internet, are visually represented in this stock photo with gears, sprockets and chains. This intricate set of gears illustrates the complexity of communications technology as well as the physical aspects of running the net.

Light Trails, Streaming Data And Online Connections
Multi-colored light trails, created with long-exposures of city lights at night and camera movement, provide a metaphor for streaming data, online connections, and networking. The light trails provide a sense of motion and add color to the image. The background is a gradation of blue to black. Blue is the color of business and both the blue and black areas provide copy space for headlines and text.

Big Data Collection, Management And Distribution
Another concept area that this image can illustrate is that of big data issues. The merging of the separate light trails into one as they go through the gears symbolizes the collection, management and distribution of data…and big data in particular. All manner of data ideas can actually be visually represented with this image of light trails and gears.

Internet Infrastructure, Speed And Bandwidth
One hallmark of a great selling stock image is in it’s versatility…it’s ability to represent numerous concepts and to be easy to use a lot of different ways. This image can represent Internet infrastructure, communications technology, network and complexity, not to mention speed and bandwidth issues. I was also careful in composing the image to allow for vertical, horizontal and square cropping.

This Internet and cloud computing stock photo I have assigned to Getty as a Royalty Free image. I chose RF because I think the image will be easy to use and appropriates for so many different clients. RF gives more visibility than RM and I am hopeful that a high volume of sales will offset the lower fees. I’ll let you know in a year or so (which is often how long it takes me to really see how well a stock image is doing).

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Sprinting Cheetah Photo Showing Fast Cloud Computing

 Cheetah Sprint In A Fast Cloud Computing and NetworkingPhoto
A cheetah sprints through a cloudscape in a visual metaphor for fast cloud computing and networking connections.

Speed In The Cloud
Speed in the cloud, fast connections, and high bandwidth are all concepts illustrated by this Cheetah sprinting through a cloudscape. In fact, any aspect of cloud computing, networking and connections that are in need of speed can be effectively illustrated with this Cheetah stock photo. An earmark of a good stock image is it’s ability to illustrate a wide range of ideas…and the element of speed covers a lot of ground…quickly!

Cheetahs…The Symbol Of Speed
Cheetahs are THE iconic symbol of speed just as clouds are now a symbol of cloud computing. Put the two together and you have a quick-reading clear visual metaphor for speed in cloud computing, fast connections and high-bandwidth networks.

A Sense Of Movement
To help this image become a best seller I composed it to crop easily to any format and to have ample copy space for the needs of art directors, graphic designers and photo editors for headlines and body copy. I added just a bit of motion blur to the fast cat to add a sense of movement…something that often helps an image sell better.

Cheetah Sprint Through Cloudscape
Another plus for the image is in the fact that the image is not one we’ve seen before. I did a considerable number of searches, both in stock agencies and online…and did not find any other images of a cheetah sprinting through a cloudscape. Put that symbol of speed (the cheetah) into an unexpected environment and you really increase the chances of grabbing a viewer’s attention and creating a lasting memory of the image and message behind it.

A Getty Rights Managed Stock Photo
I uploaded the image to Getty as a Rights Managed image. I chose RM because the image is hard to duplicate (most photographers don’t have the cloud and cheetah raw materials) and I think is well suited to print campaigns. But my hope is to make a few large sales as opposed to a bunch of small ones. We shall see. Despite the fast subject matter it will probably be six months to a year until I find out if the image is successful. It still seems to take that long before most of my images hit their stride…so to speak.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Gypsy Fortune Telling Cat Stock Photo And Greeting Card Image

This fortune telling Gypsy, with her glowing crystal ball, is also a cat in an image created for stock photography and greeting card uses.
Need to know the future? Where better to go than a Gypsy fortune teller cat and her trusty glowing crystal ball...a stock photo created for advertising and greeting card use.
Forecasting The Future And Gypsy Fortune Tellers
If there is anything that everyone wants to know it is the future. What does the future hold for us, and for our business? Knowing what the future holds is the ultimate advantage.  And what is the iconic symbol for the key to the future? The fortune teller of course, and her trusty crystal ball. In fact, a Gypsy fortune teller, hovering over a crystal ball, is an image we all ingrained in our collective consciousness.

It stands to reason then that a well-crafted stock photo of a gypsy fortune teller, crystal ball and all, could find a hefty market…and help a stock photographer make at least a step towards their own fortune. With this in mind my partner Stephanie D. Roeser, set about to create not just any fortune teller stock photo, but an image of a feline fortune teller. Not an easy task when you think about the anatomical challenges of fitting a cat to a human pose…and the fact that cats don’t tend to wear earrings, nose rings, bracelets or other such adornments.

Cat Imagery And Crystal Balls
To actually create the prognosticator of the future Stephanie went to our archives for the cat imagery and crystal ball photo and background curtain. She set up the table, which we shot (using our trusty Canon 5D MKIV camera), as well as the various articles of jewelry and the vibrantly colored scarf or shawl.  

Funny Stock Photos And Cat Eyes
When putting these funny animal stock images together you never know what challenges are going to pop up. In this case none of the cat shots we had that worked the best for this pose included any good “eye” photos. Stephanie did find a different, not quite as good-looking cat, that had perfect eyes for this image. It even looked like the cat had eyeliner on! 

Hair, Fur And A Glowing Crystal Ball
It takes meticulous work to strip out hair and fur, but Stephanie did a stellar job…as you can see.  And for the eyes…talk about eye contact…there is a powerful connection between cat and viewer. Stephanie even managed to make the cat appear to be primarily lit by the glow from the crystal ball. The attention to detail is one of the things that sets Stephanie’s work apart.

Business Blue And Cropping Options
This funny cat photo was created as a stock image and as a humorous greeting card photo. The image was crafted, as such, to be easily cropped to square, vertical or horizontal formats with plenty of copy space for text, captions, etc.  BTW, blue is the color most associated with business, so adding the blue curtain in the background makes the image just a bit better for business uses to.

Fortune Tellers, Crystal Balls, And Profit
What Stephanie has created is an image that draws on the power of iconic symbols, gypsy fortune tellers and crystal balls, adds the impact of using a cat as the gypsy…a twist that further adds to the impact of the symbols, and appeals strongly to any cat lovers. I am predicting a profitable future for this stock image!

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Cheetah Speed: When FAST isn't fast enough!

A rocket-powered cheetah stock photo...when fast isn't fast enough!
The ultimate speed stock photo...a rocket powered cheetah...when fast isn't fast enough!

A Stock Photo Illustrating Speed
The concept of speed is an important need in the world of stock photography and you can never have too many such images. Speed images are needed for advertising and promoting everything from fast networks and Internet connections to delivery and transportation services. For my latest effort at creating a stock image illustrating the idea of speed I decided to start with a cheetah and give it a bit of a boost.

I believe that one of the best ways to create successful stock imagery is to start with an iconic symbol and give it a new twist. When you are talking about speed the iconic symbol is that of a cheetah. Factoid: Cheetahs can hit 70 mph! That is fast! In this case I chose to add wheels and a rocket to make an already fast cat even faster.

Cheetahs, Starting Blocks, and Motorcycles
In the past I have created speed stock photos featuring a cheetah in the starting blocks, a cheetah sprinting through an office, and a cheetah riding a motorcycle. But really, a rocket-powered cheetah has to be faster than any of those…right?

Cheetahs, Rockets and Skateboards
I started with a standing cheetah image, a desert shot (photographed at burning man…everyone should go once), a sky shot, a road photographed near my Marin County home and a skateboard and rope photographed in my studio.  A piece of ducting, painted red, also shot in my studio, became the raw material for the rocket. And finally, a burst of flame, from a lighter held in front of a can of spray paint (I am NOT recommending such reckless behavior), provided the flames for the above-mentioned rocket.

Enhancing The Impression of Speed
It was a relatively simple matter to strip out and combine the various elements in Photoshop. I added forward lean to the cheetah to make the image feel a little more dynamic…and added blur to the foreground to enhance the impression of speed. The image was composed to allow for vertical and square cropping as well as the native horizontal format…and to provide ample copy space for headlines and text. I also added just a touch of a smile to the cheetah…smiles are contagious and I want the viewer to leave with one! One other detail…I have the front wheels of the skateboard just lifting off the ground…that cat is literally taking off!

A Rocket Powered Cheetah
The finished image of a rocket-powered cheetah is a blend between comic book and photorealism. When I finished it and sat back to ponder it the words “When fast isn’t fast enough…” came to mind…a perfect headline for a humorous stock photo illustrating the concept of speed! 

Cheetah Speed...A Rights Managed Image
Choosing whether to put this image into a Rights Managed or Royalty Free pricing model was not easy. Ultimately I feel that with the amount of photography and post work going into the image it should be Rights Managed...and so it is. This image definitely leaves me with a smile…and I am hoping it leaves you with one as well!