Sunday, December 11, 2011

Cloud Computing And Images The Market Needs

Cloud computing, online storage,internet searches and teamwork are the concepts illustrated with this stock photo.

Creating Images The Market Needs
To insure a healthy career in stock photography it is vital to create images that the market needs, and it is even better if you create images that do not yet have a lot of competition. It is with that in mind that I recently created a new image about cloud computing.

The Cloud
The idea came about because of the current buzz about the Internet “cloud”. Online computing, and storage, has been touted for years, but I definitely get the sense it has finally arrived and is poised for tremendous growth. It seems obvious that the need for imagery dealing with the Internet cloud is going to be significant. The question then becomes, for me, how can I shot that concept in a clear and versatile way?

Medicine, Music, Travel And The Cloud
The obvious visual is in the use of actual clouds. The challenge then becomes to use an actual cloud in a way that isn’t too corny, and that makes sense. As I mulled that over in my mind I pictured a eye-level cloud image filled with the things that one might look for on the internet, and that can be symbolic of the kinds of things that are both stored on the net and that can involve online computing…things related to medicine, music, travel, business and so forth.

Clouds, Fog And Archived Images
I started by combing two different images of clouds and one image of fog that looks like eye-level clouds. Once I had the background composited together I looked through my archives for images that could symbolize music, business, travel and so forth. I stripped out the various objects in Photoshop and pasted them into the cloud image. When I came across the image of the man and woman on a ladder and searching the horizon with binoculars, it occurred to me that the inclusion of that picture would add the element of the “search”…online searching…to the image. That would broaden the appeal of the stock photo to a much wider audience. The image then becomes about using the cloud and/or searching the cloud (Internet) and even teamwork. The couple standing on the ladder also added a nice “action” element to the image.

Stock Photos That Are Flexible
I crafted the photo so that it can be easily cropped to a vertical, say for a magazine cover, as well as a horizontal or square. I believe in creating stock photos that can be as flexible as possible for as many potential users as I can. The biggest drawback to that approach is that the image might not always have as much “cropping” impact as otherwise, so it can be a bit of a balancing act.

Socializing Teens, Business People And The Cloud
A group of three teens socializing can represent social media, business people shaking hands adds a solid business angle, an operating room says “medical”, and a cello contributes to the music aspect. A conductor adds to the teamwork meaning, a variety of age groups are included and a pair of hands about to touch adds the element of “connection”. In this stock image I had to decide when to stop adding elements in order to not create too much clutter.

Large Sales, Diversity And Rights Managed Imagery
Having just had a client license three images for 4,200 Euros each, and non-exclusive at that, and in the interest of diversity (I already have several cloud computing images in RF collections), I am placing this image into a Rights Managed collection.  It is always a challenge to figure out where to put images. To you go for the most eyeballs, or the larger sales? Even though a lot of my RM fees end up actually lower than RF fees, my individual Blend RM sales are averaging close to three times the size of the RF sales. So with no clear knowledge of the best way to go…I do my best and diversify. I do believe that with the right images well distributed, you can’t really go wrong.

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