Monday, August 10, 2009
A Knock Your Socks Off Stock Photo
It is always exciting for me when I come up with an image idea that doesn’t seem to have been done before, and that is relevant to the market. I no longer remember when I first had the idea to create a “Knock your socks off” image, but the idea was rekindled when my girlfriend, Stephanie, was showing me how she could flex her toes. I checked on Getty and Corbis and didn’t see any similar imagery. This is potentially a really great stock image. It is a concept stock photo that can be applied to any product or service, or even to something as generic as a sale. The image has humor going for it. Funny pictures can be powerful attention grabbers. The photo is simple, a quick read, and has an “iconic” place in our culture. Another side benefit of an image like this one is the relative inexpensive nature of creating it.
The big decision for me was whether to have a “dust” cloud showing to emphasize that the socks are being “blown” off of the feet. There was also some question as to whether the toes should be articulated so much. Ultimately I decided that the dust clouds would help make the message more obvious, and that the articulated toes added to the humor.
The shoot was simple; I had Stephanie sit on the edge of a table and flex her toes. I lit her feet with a beauty dish above the camera and a soft box behind and on either side. I used Profoto 7B flash units. I filled a pair of socks with bubble wrap and positioned them on a light stand. I used the same lighting set-up as with Stephanie’s feet, and fired off a few frames. To create the dust cloud I used some face powder that had been left in my studio at some point. I created a pile of it on a piece of white foam core, then sprayed the pile with canned air with one hand while shooting with a Canon 1ds MKIII in the other. Not really a recommended technique, but it worked. Of course, my studio smelled like face powder for a week!
I used the pen tool to create clipping paths around both the feet and socks, then converted the paths into selections. I created a new “canvas”, then pasted the feet into place. Next I brought in the socks and sized and positioned them. I brought in two of the dust shots and created layer masks to fade them away into the background. I then duplicated the feet layers and dragged those new layers to the top. The next step was to create layer masks to hide the new feet layers, then I used white “paint’ with the airbrush to create the illusion that the feet were showing through the dust clouds.
All in all, it only took a few hours to put the photograph together. The final question is whether the image should be a Rights Managed image, or a Royalty Free one. I finally decided that I would stick with RM on this one. An image like this one will probably do equally well in either model, but my ego tends towards Rights Managed, and that’s how this “blow your socks” off image ended up.