posted on 16th of february, 2007
Dreamstime has asked me to write a blog to share my knowledge of the stock photo business. First a bit about me. Before I found myself in the business of editing, marketing and producing images, I was a schoolteacher. Thus the art above. I hope to both teach and learn in this effort. I studied zoology and that informs some of the imagery that I personally favor. One of the first images that caught my eye is the one on the left. The simplicity of the composition emphasizes the majesty of the animal. The lizard image does just the opposite. By not focusing directly on the animal but filling the frame with the leaf, the image gives a sense of place. It works... [ Read more... ]
Comments (8)

Posted by Viphard on April 08, 2007
thanks for shareing
Posted by Viphard on April 08, 2007
great blog man
Posted by Benglim on February 23, 2007
Thanks for sharing, Ellen.

Comments (8)

This article has been read 5253 times. 13 readers have found this article useful.

A trip to the bookstore (Part 1)

posted on 16th of february, 2007
We all get "stuck" in a void of inspiration sometimes. I find that my best ideas often come out of the blue when I'm NOT consciencously trying to think of something creative. When that kind brain freeze sets in, try just taking a break from even thinking about your own work. Go to a museum or a good film or the bookstore. American and British publishers are the biggest users of cover art for books but you'll find ideas in bookshops no matter where you live. (Hey! While you are there, pick up a book and have a read. Exercise the left and right side of your brain!) Remember the point isn't to copy what you see but to gather inspiration about the kind and type of images that work. Mainstream hardcover books have a very short shelf life. The publishers want revenue results quickly to... [ Read more... ]
Comments (10)

Posted by Antonia on November 02, 2007
Ellen, thanks again for sharing your treasure chest of tips and tricks. I love this tang of humor in your writings. Such a joy to read...
Posted by Omegatransfer on November 02, 2007
Very good tip! Appreciate it! Keep on writing, Ellen :)
Posted by Tempic on February 20, 2007
i love these new tips. please go on!

Comments (10)

This article has been read 27344 times. 20 readers have found this article useful.

A Good Stock Image is an Incomplete One...

posted on 17th of february, 2007
A pioneer in the stock business once said, "A good stock photo is an incomplete photo". That doesn't make sense, does it? Shouldn't a great stock photo simply be a great photo? Sometimes, yes. But think about one of the reasons stock photos sell and the unfinished business of some stock photos make sense. Look at these images: Image on the left seems to be waiting for something to happen. Wouldn't it be a better photo of a stage where there was a play going on or a band or a singer performing? Not withstanding the need for model releases that are almost impossible to come by for such events, the empty stage is a great subject for several reasons one of which is as a foundation for multiple... [ Read more... ]
Comments (50)

Posted by Ellenboughn on July 09, 2008
Did you post this one before? This looks a bit familiar to me... uhm.
Yes this is a comment to a post that came from long ago. I'm so pleased that people are going back to the old blogs and reading them either for the first time or again. But one of these days I will probably repeat myself as sometimes I wonder what in the world is left to write about! But then something occurs to me and off we go.
Posted by Dersankt on July 08, 2008
Did you post this one before? This looks a bit familiar to me... uhm.
Posted by Ellenboughn on July 08, 2008
There isn't a general rule of thumb...just negative space somewhere in the image large enough to hold a headline or short tag line.

Comments (50)

This article has been read 16228 times. 27 readers have found this article useful.

What is She Wearing?

posted on 20th of february, 2007
Wardrobe is key to a professional looking image. And the type of clothing that a model is wearing can enhance the salability of an image in more ways than one. Here is a terrific image of a teen writing on the board in her classroom. The model's top gives a clue to the season: it is clothing that would only be worn in very warm weather. And since school is usually associated with the cooler seasons in most parts of the Northern hemisphere at least, the image usage could be limited if the user wanted to give the impression of a different season. (But then it is perfect for summer school.) When shooting models in school interiors, it's best to show them in seasonal neutral clothing. It's not the clothing... [ Read more... ]
Comments (22)

Posted by Mrvent on January 11, 2008
a lot of pictures are foreseeable and indistinquishable. As the American market becomes more and more on various ethnic plan and the business of announcement / design becomes more important and asking in the non-American and European markets, pictures have to have models of a lot of nationalities and places and even auto parts such as Acura Integra Starter but important thing is the uniqueness. Finally genuineness ' was the word of watch we accepted news of the purchasers for some time now.
Posted by Bbostjan on November 08, 2007
Helpfull article and interesting debate. I'm an amateur just starting in microstock world. IMO when submitting photos starts to become a race for money, than it is not a hobby anymore and expenses go up also.
Posted by Omegatransfer on November 05, 2007
Nice article and a good discussion. Here, in Bulgaria, we have both hot summer and cold winter. Therefore it's quite easier to take a good outdoor pix with seasonal expression :)

Comments (22)

This article has been read 15237 times. 12 readers have found this article useful.

Erin Go Bragh!

posted on 22nd of february, 2007
Erin Go Bragh translates to "Ireland Forever" and in the US where everyone claims to be Irish on St. Patrick's Day, it is often heard.
In parts of the world, March 17th is all about beer. Specifically, green beer. Very green beer tends to look like dish soap even under the best conditions. Better to concentrate on other Irish symbols that are more easily photographed or on only slightly tinted ale. Creating holiday symbols is often easier for illustrators than photographers. After all leprechauns are very elusive creatures and besides they may be drunk all the time. Why else is... [ Read more... ]
Comments (13)

Posted by Ellenboughn on March 23, 2007
Thanks, Carla. It's great when the blog helps to create successful images. Thanks for letting me know.
Posted by Korat_cn on March 23, 2007
Always seeking for new tips and ideas... DT accepted this image inspirated by this blog:
 Three Leaf Clover page 
Posted by Odm on February 25, 2007
excellent Work...

Comments (13)

This article has been read 146822 times. 6 readers have found this article useful.

A Sense of Place (Part 1)

posted on 26th of february, 2007
I'm in San Francisco this week, staying near Union Square. There is a photographer on every corner snapping every which way. So how do to create images of a beautiful and much photographed city that will stand out from the competition? A mentor of mine gave this advice to travel photographers. He said to visit all the places you think you want to photograph on the first day or two upon arriving in a city. Check out the light and calculate when the light will be best for shooting. Study the angle and best place to shoot from. Figure out where you will want to be to get the most famous shot. Then move around a bit to see if you can find a new angle or a... [ Read more... ]
Comments (7)

Posted by Ellenboughn on December 05, 2008
Buildings shot from the street that don't include logos are fine without a release. Others should be posted to as editorial images. And thanks for the kind words.
Posted by Calibrefirst on December 04, 2008
Thanks for the good tips, Ellen. I have started reading them one by one from the beginning and intend to keep reading till i finish all. Together they are a very good Guide to Stock photography. One basic question as I am very new to this. Can such images be uploaded without a release? Photos of monuments like the Taj and city skylines, photos unique to the location.
Posted by Digital94086 on February 27, 2007
Thanks a lot Ellen for adding my picture to this article. My picture is the one of the sailboat with the Golden Gate in the background. It is nice to get recognized like this. You are right about scouting an area out ahead of time. I was trying to figure out how to get some really different pictures of the bridge so I spent a whole day just walking around , asking questions, getting ideas. Then the next day it came to me. Ask one of the fisherman to take me out on the bay for the sole purpose of taking pictures. He agreed and I paid him for a private cruise. I took many pictures of the bridge that day and several sell almost daily now. I try to "think out of the box" all the time now. Makes it a lot more fun to. Thanks again

Comments (7)

This article has been read 4377 times. 2 readers have found this article useful.

A Sense of Place (Part II)

posted on 28th of february, 2007
Before you arrive in a new location, do research. Looking at map is not enough. Nor are guidebooks necessary the only printed form of information at your fingertips. Get a compass so that you will be able to anticipate how the light will be at different times in the day in different locations. If your shooting location is near the tidal zones, look up the tide charts. Read as much as you can about the place not just in guidebooks but go to the web archives of travel magazines to learn what's new. Visit the city's website to see if there are going to be events that will interfere with your plans or that you can use in your images.... [ Read more... ]
Comments (10)

Posted by Cphoto on March 14, 2007
Great article!...and thanks for using my Dancing Chinese Lion. Ellen. really appreciate it :-)

Posted by Karimala on March 13, 2007
Wow...thanks so much for using my crab photo, Ellen! You just made my day!!! :-D
Posted by Maigi on March 01, 2007
You have to be lucky, but you can push your luck with proper preparation.
Good point. I rarely leave my camera at home. And many times I have been very happy, I had it with me. Luck or preparation?
But you seem to be a very lucky person - with so many really great photos in your portfolio. :) Or was it because of preparation? ;))
Hey, thank you for the Dennis Gray link. That guy is amazing!!

Comments (10)

This article has been read 8704 times. 6 readers have found this article useful.

About me

I have written a about microstock photography released in 2010. I was the Director of Content at Dreamstime for two years ending in Feb, 2009. You can order my book from amazon via my website at www.ellenboughn.com/blog.

Bainbridge Island, US

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