Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A Concept Business Stock Photo: Behind the Image

A woman business executive is blown away by the performance of her computer in an office setting.
A woman is delighted by her computer experience in this business concept stock photo.
Stock Photo of Multiple Business Oriented Concepts
OK, so you want to create a dramatic stock photo with multiple business-oriented concepts centered on the positive aspects of computer use such as fast Internet, exciting content, discovery, productivity and so forth. You get the picture. That was my motivation when I set out to create a stock picture using an African American woman as my "business" model.

Business Woman Impacted By Technology
As I usually do these days I came up with a central or "hero" idea for my shoot and then built the rest of the shot list around that. In this post we will just deal with that "hero" image. The hero image on my shot list was actually intended to be a woman executive in a pensive pose pondering the future against a dramatic backdrop of a storm. As so often happens though, a different image became my favorite; a businesswoman executive impacted by technology.

A Cubicle Beckons
A business cubicle was already set up in my studio, left over from a previous stock shoot. I bought a set of used cubicle sections (or whatever you call them) that I often use for these kinds of shots…then once I set it up it is hard to get motivated to take it down. It sits there for weeks beckoning me to keep shooting office scenarios. Currently I have it set up in a storage room of my studio. It is small but I can shoot in there.

A Computer Display, Flying Hair…and What?
Getting back to this image, I knew I wanted our model to be seated in front of the computer display with her head back, her hair flying and her hands up in surprise. The only thing I really hadn't figured out yet was what was coming out of that display that was having such an impact on her. Well, I’d figure that out later….

Cloud Computing, Data Management or Fast Internet
I photographed the scene with the model and the monitor in position, then again with the monitor replaced with a large fan to get at least some movement in her hair. As I combined the two shots in Photoshop, and added the exterior windows and storm clouds, I still hadn't figured out what was going to be coming out of the display to show all the wonderful possibilities that potentially lay within. “It” could be anything from cloud computing, to web based meeting capabilities to data management to technology to just plain fast Internet…but how to show “it”?

Combining Airbrushing and Lens Flare Filter
I tried some colored light streaks combined with items such as papers, CDs and so forth, but the results weren't working out very well. I did kind of like the feeling of light, of a sort of glow coming from the display so I played with just streaks of white light coming out. It started to look pretty cool so I kept playing with the light…different densities and shapes, until I had the desired affect. The final look is actually the result of a combination of airbrush strokes with white "paint" and using a layer mask to selectively reveal a lens flare filter effect. I am really happy with the final look. There is definitely a powerful feeling of something significant inside the computer…and the model’s expression leaves no doubt that the force is a positive one.

Business Adversity and Challenge…Your Product and a Stock Photo
The image is obviously a business situation, a businesswoman discovering a new app or program or (your product or service here) and being absolutely blown away by it. The storm clouds indicate challenge and adversity that is a constant in the business world.  You can't help but want to know more about what is going on…and that makes for a good stock photo.

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