Thursday, June 30, 2011

How To Shoot An Angry Mob, With Model Releases, For Free

Model released photo of an angry mob advancing by torchlight in a common cause and shaking their fists with rage.
By shooting each member of this angry crowd individually, during other photo shoots, I managed to get an entire angry mob with model releases...for free (at least in my mind)!

Stock Photo Of An Angry Mob At Night
This mob scene at night is one of those stock photos that ended up taking an incredibly long time from conception to execution. For one thing, I couldn’t wrap my head around the logistics of getting fifty or more people together, at night, with torches…let alone the idea of paying that many models…not for one shot anyway. But I did figure out a way to create this image without, in a sense, paying anything…well, sort of.

Angry Mob Models For Free (Sort of)
For the last year, any time I did a shoot with models I would include a few minutes to shoot each of them acting out their part in an angry mob scene (BTW, it is surprising how hard it is for some people to look authentically angry!).  In effect, since each "angry person" shot was added on to an existing shoot, at least in my mind, I managed to get all the models for my angry mob at night for free!

A Rioting Crowd And A Hundred Plus Layers In Photoshop
Of course, it took me two full days of Photoshop work to create this rioting crowd. But I also had the added plus of being able to pick exactly the best expression for each member of the group. I think one of the real strengths of this image is in the individual facial expressions. By the time I finished I had over a hundred and twenty layers using twenty-seven different models. It took me two full days for the Photoshop work, but hey, I did have a lot of fun putting it together!

An Angry Crowd: Rights Managed or Royalty Free?
So is this image an RF or an RM image? For me this is a Rights Managed stock photo. It would be difficult and expensive to re-create. Being a negative image, it won’t be one of those stock images that sells like gang busters. If an art director or designer decides that this image really works for their client then even an expensive licensing fee will probably still be a bargain versus shooting such a scene from scratch. Add it all up and to me it is a solid Rights Managed shot.

No Celebration And My Biggest Challenge In Stock Photography
I do have one regret…I didn’t shoot everyone celebrating! No happiness! What was I thinking? OK, for the next year I have to shoot everyone playing their part of a celebratory crowd. One of my biggest challenges in stock photography is thinking ahead, of getting past my tendency to focus on just one image. I am better than I used to be but still have a long ways to go. In the days gone by it was fine to concentrate on one image at a time, but in the leaner, meaner days of stock we find ourselves in now it is important that each of us think outside our own boxes...and one of my limiting boxes is failure to think past whatever is right in front of me.


Jaak Nilson said...


I think you are genius, seriously:)

Microstock Posts said...

That is so cool!! RM without a doubt. Hey the guy in the centre looks like a bit of a troublemaker, I'd keep an eye on him if I were you. :-)

John Lund said...


Thanks, but not a genius, just a motivated stock photographer!


John Lund said...

Microstock Posts,

I agree about the guy in the center...but he is a cheap model!


Luis Santos said...

ahah great job John! :)

Nikita Buida said...

Excellent work, John!
Reading your blog is so stock-motivational.


Sami Sarkis said...

You're too smart John!

John Lund said...


If I were smart would I be a stock photographer?



Envision said...

This one is really fun to look at. Great concept and forethought. You da bomb John!

Todd said...

That's a great cameo, John :)