Thursday, November 14, 2013

Having Fun Creating Stock Images

Photo of a fiery mushroom cloud rising up behind the silhouette of a large metropolis.
Sometimes you just have to have some fun making images...the driving force behind this nuclear armageddon image.

Fun And A Mushroom Cloud of Flame
Every once-in-a-while you have to just have some fun. That is what I did with this image of a fiery mushroom cloud of flame rising up from behind the silhouette of a city skyline. Of course, I still intend to make money with this image, though I hardly expect it to be a best seller. Because the image is not something that there are many uses for I am pegging it as a Rights Managed image…though as I submitted it to the Getty House collection it may yet end up as an RF image.

A Metropolis Skyline Silhouette
The image began as a skyline shot of New York. I pen tooled (created a clipping path) of the buildings, created a selection and created a new layer. I used the hue and saturation control to create the silhouette by bringing the lightness slider all the way down. I wanted the city to be a more generic metropolis so I added more buildings from a San Francisco skyline shot to create the final city skyline. Next I experimented with different sunset and sunrise images behind the skyline finally settling on a sunrise shot from Mexico.

A Sunrise And A Nuclear Explosion
It was while I was playing with the sunrises behind the city silhouette that the idea came to me for the “nuclear explosion” image. One particular fiery sunrise image looked as if the city was back lit from and explosion or fire. I went to my archives for flame shots…I had some fireballs from my time at burning man…and was able to fashion them into the mushroom cloud explosion.

Cropping Flexibility And Copy Space
As usual I made the image to have cropping flexibility and room for headlines and copy.  When making stock images I believe it is better error on the side of extra room for art directors and designers to use than to make tighter crops that might be a bit more esthetically pleasing.

Creativity, Science Fiction And Getting Seen

I can see this photo being used as a book cover for a science fiction thriller, or perhaps for a sensationalistic editorial on the danger of nukes or terrorist attacks. Certainly the image can serve to illustrate concepts such as "armageddon, nuclear holocaust, and the end of the world. With stock images you just never know when an art director or designer will come up with some really creative way to use your work.  Of course, the biggest challenge, as always, is getting your work seen by those creatives.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Brilliant! book cover or sci-fi usage for sure.

Anonymous said...

Folks that stick with Getty Images, the world-wide leader in stock imagery have best chances for selling stock, hands down. No other agency compares. Also, stay away from broker agencies. They just take a cut $ of the pie.

John Lund said...

Anonymous,

If by "Broker Agencies" you mean aggregators they do have a place. For example, when i place an image with Blend (disclaimer...I am one of the owners) that image will go on to Getty, Corbis, Alamy, Masterfile and so on. By having images with Blend I have exposure to a much vaster market. Consider this as well, an image that gets buried at Getty may end up high in a Corbis search and vice a versa. In a world where visibility is everything an aggregator gives you a better chance at being seen. I believe that it is smart to be with Getty AND with an aggregator....

John

Anonymous said...

John: The disclaimer you put there is very important. You, and the other owners of aggregator agencies, get that extra cut of $ pie. I think it's best for photographers to establish their own contracts with Getty and Corbis so they don't have to pay a middleman like yourself. Ofcourse, being an owner of Blend, you want to attract many photographers so you and the other owners can get $ from the pie. It's business, I understand.

John Lund said...

Anonymous,

I believe it is a little more complex than bigger vs. small share of the pie. I know non-owner Blend contributors who prefer Blend to Getty because they get the art direction and guidance at Blend that Getty doesn't provide them. Blend contributors who reach a thousand images on Blend get 50% royalties...and 50% of an image that sells on, say, Gallery Stock and Masterfile, AND Getty can actually earn more than it would if it only sold on Getty but did not have that additional cut taken out. Of course I AGREE that a Getty contract is great, but having all your eggs in one basket might not be the smartest approach either. At the end of the day different strategies are appropriate for different photographers....

Thanks,

John

Anonymous said...

I am not an old fashioned goat or something but life for us photographers was far easier, more profitable, hell of a lot kinder and far, far more professional when we worked in the traditional way. Digital is fine but its opened up the door to one billion weekend snappers and its about to ruin the entire business, no matter what agency one belongs to.
Yes Getty is the only one and mainly because they keep the riff-raff at bay.

Anonymous said...

Thank goodness for Getty for keeping the riff raff at bay!

Anonymous said...

I have been with Getty since 96 but have also supplied the micro industry. The big four so to speak since 2008. Yes I have earnt some very good money in micro but I do regret I ever got into it. Micro is a fallacy, an edgy business where quality counts for nothing since their search-algorithm is always based on the lower royalty earners, hence saving millions in Royalty payments but still maintaining the same agency income. Its basically a con and thats why so many professionals are leaving that business.
Getty with all their umbrellas is in fact the only sustainable agency and its really been that way all along. The others got a small bite of the cake but thats all.

Anonymous said...

I agree with your statement. And stay away from "broker" agencies that take your images, distribute them, but take a nice $ cut. Best for the photographer to have a direct contract with Getty & Corbis. The other agencies are a waste of time. I know, I have also been with some of them.

Anonymous said...

I agree, and I think John Lund would agree also. If it wasn't for his Getty sales, direct or through Blend, he would be a starving stock photographer. Thank goodness for Getty.

Anonymous said...

I want to share this! it really dont take too much in the RM world to make a good living.
Friend of mine just sold an image, RM, rights, copy, the lot!
The deal netted him: 9K dollars. Massive poster and AD campaign.

There is still hope.

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