Your product

posted on 30th of september, 2011

Over the past few months I've been bombarded (a lot more than usual) with stock photos in commercials, banners, books, magazines... I even saw a bunch on TV in some static commercials. I started looking at their use more closely and I observed something very interesting. It's probably no news to some of you but others might benefit from it.

Before I continue, however, let me first as you a question. Do you photograph the final product or do you photograph an element from the (probably unknown to you) final product? Do you deliver a final product or an element from that final product? As similar as they sound these are two different questions... yet, both pointing to my observation. Take a moment to answer them.

You probably guessed my observation. There's often two types of stock images:
1) The final product - images which usually get cropped a bit and/or some text slapped on top and that's how they are being used.

2) An element from the (probably unknown to you) final product - images which are most likely going to live in Photoshop for a few hours or even days before they make it to their final destination.

Note that these two types are not necessarily exclusive. It's just a margin that many of your customers seem to fit in, judging by the used stock images you find out there. Some images can easily serve both purposes, others are more likely to be used only one way.

So many of you are asking questions about their portfolios and how to improve, especially in reaching more customers. One thing you can do now is focus on filling your portfolio with both types of images. This means that sometimes you'll need to spend quite some time in preparing a certain scene, photographing it, processing it, etc. Other times you will only need to find the most useful angle and shoot on a seamless (and perhaps prepare a true isolate after that).

Lastly, why I asked you two questions earlier on - what you photograph shouldn't immediately become what you deliver. There's a lot of steps in-between and it's important not to skip them. It's also very important to have a clear idea what you want to deliver before you start creating it. You could go ahead and snap till you drop but chances are you won't be using all of your skills and creativity. The final results won't be as impressive as they could have been.

Variety is crucial, especially in a competitive market. If you consider these two categories of images you can easily create variety in a very niche-oriented portfolio. Or, if you have a very general portfolio you can reach a larger audience by providing two slightly different (or sometimes very distinctive) products.

It might also be useful for you to browse your portfolio and try to identify which of the two categories your images fit. Is it difficult to decide for an image? Perhaps this image doesn't have a strong presence, clear message and/or is not well processed. Think of how you can improve this in your new images.

Comments (15)

Posted by Fleyeing on October 10, 2011
Never thought of it that you need both types of images. Thanks for the idea.
Posted by Waihs on October 06, 2011
Very good article! Thank you!
Posted by Ilposeidone on October 06, 2011
sounds great! the best we can do is improve our portfolio with various kind of images, as much different between them as possible. by the way... isolating sometimes needs hard work on images, take care about the potential of the image you are going to work on!
Posted by Onime on October 03, 2011
Great blog! thanks for sharing.
Posted by smartview27 on October 03, 2011
Interesting information .
Posted by Calyx22 on October 01, 2011
I'm going to have to go review my portfolio, but I'm thinking the vast majority of my images are number one as listed above. Clearly, I need to improve and diversify. Thanks for sharing this, it's very helpful.
Posted by Hinnamsaisuy on October 01, 2011
good jobbbbbb
Posted by Joezachs on September 30, 2011
You have said it right Petar variety is crucial
Posted by Afagundes on September 30, 2011
Good advice, Petar, let me see how can I take some ideas from it.
Posted by Picstudio on September 30, 2011
Great blog!
Posted by Maigi on September 30, 2011
Really great advice, Petar! I love to analyze images - mine and other's. I wish I could have more time for that. That's the reason why I love The Game also. Thanks, Petar, for a great blog!
Posted by FabioConcetta on September 30, 2011
Nice blog, congrats!
Posted by Lobe on September 30, 2011
Aromatherapy - Very, very beautifully! It is pity that work not exclusive. It would involve more buyers.
Posted by Mariaam on September 30, 2011
This is very interesting and useful! Thanks very much for sharing!
Posted by BCritchley on September 30, 2011
Great advice and certainly has me thinking now..... thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts :-)


Comments (15)

This article has been read 1975 times. 11 readers have found this article useful.
Photo credits: Viktoria Makarova, Godfer, Loopall, Marcomayer.

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