Saturday, January 8, 2011
Shopping Malls and Stock Photography
On my recent trip to Thailand to shoot stock photography, which in my case is largely the capturing of raw material for manipulated and composited imagery, I found myself in a large mall full of bustling people. The mall was actually in Hong Kong where we spent a day before going on to Bangkok. This shopping mall really wasn’t any different than hundreds of shopping centers here in the U.S., but unlike at home, here in Hong Kong I had my camera with me…so while cruising through the buildings I just kept shooting.
Masses of Shoppers and Long Exposures
I was using mostly long exposures…the camera set to “B” (which keeps the shutter open as long as the shutter button is held down) and checked exposures by looking at the back of the camera. I was zooming the lens, spinning the camera, bracing the camera against walls…trying a whole bunch of different things to see what I would get. An added bonus, by using very long shutter speeds the masses of shoppers would be unrecognizable and not in need of model releases. For me, one of the great things about traveling is that I have my camera with me and I am constantly experimenting. For some reason being in a whole different environment than my usual home one opens me up to explore the fun of taking pictures just to see what I can come up with. If something doesn’t work…hey, no problem. If it does work…super!
The Hustle, Bustle and Energy of Commerce
Back home I perused through all those shots with a mind open for whatever ideas might come up. I liked the sense of hustle and bustle, of energy and of commerce that came through many of the images. As I pondered the material it slowly came to me that I could do a series of images that portrayed concepts such as shopping, business, global business, and international commerce…images that were dynamic, different, and flexible in how they could be used and what concepts they could illustrate.
People on the Move and Commerce In Action
In the above picture I combined several of the long-exposure photos of people in the shopping mall with shots I made in the Hong Kong airport. While there is no way to be sure whether it will be a successful stock photo or not, I love it and am hopeful that it will generate some substantial income. For me it definitely conveys that sense of positive energy, people on the move and commerce in action in an environment that is modern and upscale. I crafted the picture so that it works as both a horizontal and vertical crop, has lots of room for copy, and reads well as a thumbnail.
Shopping For Images
In a previous blog I wrote that it is important to love your images. I love this photo! I figure that if I love it others will too…and I just have to get it in front of the right audience, the audience, if you will, “Shopping” for (or searching for) images, for it to generate the revenue that will make it worth the energy and resources I put into it. And for those of you interested in such things, I somewhere between three and four hours of digital time in this "people on the move" or "shopping" picture.