Monday, August 3, 2009

Creating A Social Media Stock Photo

Social media and social networking are huge topics right now and there is a need for images representing them. They are also, in my opinion, difficult to create images for. That is a good thing. If I am correct it means there will be inherently less competition for the images that I come up with. In this environment of image over supply that is a critical criteria for me.

I don’t remember exactly what sparked this latest idea, but it was centered on the intention of coming up with those “social media” themes. Oh, I do remember! It was those “flickr photo clouds” that Getty is promoting. I thought, geez, I should do my own photo clouds. Somehow, when I see Getty, with whom I have such a large image investment, promoting their flickr collection so prominently, I tend to feel a tad anxious and resentful. The trick is to channel that hit of energy into creativity and productivity. Then it occurred to me that I could have a “photo” cloud around a person’s head indicating their “connections” on social media sites. The image could also work for networking, business connections, even communications in general.

I got pretty excited. Over the last few years I have shot plenty of images of people that I can pull the “cloud images” from. I browsed through some of my recent shoots to see if I could find a “base” image, one with a model in a situation and pose that would work. I needed an image with a fairly plain background. With all those smaller images floating around, the picture could get too busy very quickly. It is important that an image remain simple enough to be a quick read at thumbnail size, since virtually all images are first seen by prospective licensors as thumbnails. The photo should be a positive image with the primary model looking happy and confident. If the model was in a business environment it might help broaden the potential market for the image, expanding it into the realm of business networking.

It didn’t take long to find what seemed like the right image to work with. From an office shoot I did a little over a year ago, I came across an unused out take that in no way was a similar to any accepted shots. Once I had that image I just started looking through the numerous shoots that were readily available on my archive drives. Every time I found a likely shot for the cloud I just opened it, copied the portion I wanted, then pasted it into the base image.

It only took me a couple of hours and my image was done. Sort of. I sent the composite to my editor at Blend Images. He loved it. Hmmm, now the realization sets in. With so many pictures around the model's head, and some of them groups, I am going to have to come up with over a hundred model releases stretching back over five years! I wouldn’t be surprised if it took me two days to accomplish it! Well, guess I better quit blogging and get down to tracking down those releases!


mitchellktravelphoto said...

Ha, that is the most unusual of situations you have there, having to get all those releases! :) But, a great idea nevertheless. You are really on top of things.

John Lund said...

Mitchell, Thanks...though I feel I am rather a step behind on everything!

Garden Chick said...

Fabulous idea that pic!

John Griffin said...

I love how you described the process for choosing the layout and theme for the shoot. that is really really well done. very unusual circumstances as well.