Friday, October 8, 2010
Stock Photography and the Music Business
It occurred to me the other day that the stock photography business has a lot in common with the music business. There is no shortage of musicians or photographers, but there is a shortage of those who do either discipline extremely well. In either case the chance of earning a living from such endeavors is just a tad bit daunting. That isn’t going to change…it is just going to get more challenging. That isn’t to say it’s not possible because it is possible. I am doing it…and many, many others are too. It does require what to me seems occasionally like an inordinate amount of dedication and drive. Thank god I love doing this because if I didn’t absolutely thrive on the process I would surely have quit long ago.
A Series of Portraits for Stock Photography
Part of what keeps me going is the “high” I get when I create an image that meets my requirements of applicability to the market and being fun to look at. Then I unabashedly sit and stare at my images, just enjoying them, for an embarrassing amount of time. I am mentioning this because I just caught myself staring at, and enjoying, a series of portraits I created for stock photos in the last couple of days.
Stock Shoot Out takes and Abstract Light Patterns
I have mentioned before that I believe in setting aside time to just “play” and explore and see where my imagery leads me. That time can either be behind the camera or behind the computer (or both). In this case it was behind the computer. I began by looking through the out takes of my last few stock shoots to see if something sparked an idea. I stopped at an executive portrait of an older, and very regal looking, African American model. He had this great look of self-assurance and the bearing of someone obviously in charge. I photographed him on a white background. I decided to start with this gentleman and see where I could take it. As I looked for suitable backgrounds I ran across some of my experiments with lights photographed with long shutter speeds to create abstract patterns. These abstract patterns look very “High Tech” to me, and indicative of technology, communications, the Internet and such.
An Executive Comfortable with Technology and the Future
I stripped out the executive and pasted him into one of my light patterns, then used a layer mask to fade him in and out of the lights. I ended up with multiple layers and modes that, to me, speak of an executive comfortable with technology and ready to lead his enterprise into the future. Even better…it just looks cool!
A Series of Images
My next thought was that if I could come up with a series of such images I could give an advertiser the opportunity to base a campaign around the images. I went back and found four other portraits I have done over the last few months and combined them with various other “light patterns”. It is interesting, at least to me, to note that of the five models three I found through Internet casting agencies, one sat next to me on a flight back from New York, and one is a waitress at a nearby restaurant. OK...that doesn't have much to do with the price of tea in China...but I thought I'd throw it in there anyway!
Art Directors, Designers and Rights Managed Imagery
At any rate, these strike me as images that probably won’t sell a gazillion times…and that are a bit of a stretch for an art director or designer to work into and ad or brochure. With that in mind I submitted these photos to Blend Images under the Rights Managed category. Will they be worth the effort? I’ll let you know in a couple of years!