Stock Photography

I have decided to make an attempt at stock photography, that is producing images with a general theme that could be used by people on websites or on publications or where ever else generic images are required.

Sites such as istockphoto or bigstockphoto allow you to set up an account through which you can sell your images.

Every time an image is downloaded you get paid between a few pence to a couple of quid depending on the image size required. So a decent stock of images, which would require some initial work would then stay on the site making you money.

That said, it’s actually quite hard to get your images onto these sites as they are quite specific about what sorts of images they will use.
Most of the photographs on my Flickr would not be considered useful for stock images so this is new ground for me.

Corporate images as well as images on clean white backgrounds are popular and as I am not going to go hire models for corporate images the latter is what I am going for.

To this end I have build myself a miniature studio complete with an off camera flash setup and two lamps.

I built this in the garden shed from scrap bits of wood that were lying around.I cut a piece of chipboard in half and glued and screwed it together to form the base and back.
Two pieces of plywood were used for the sides and the joins all taped over with masking tape so that they wouldn’t show in images.
A block of wood with a slit in it was attached to the top for holding a basic reflector made from a cereal box and tin foil.
The inside of the box was sprayed with multiple layers of white paint.
The lamps I bought in Poundstrechers for £3.49 each and each has a 60watt bulb, I also made diffusers for these with grease paper.
The off camera flash is a old vivitar flash I had lying around and is triggered by a weak flash from the camera using a photo slave cell (basically a wee box that clips onto the flash which makes it fire when it detects another flash).

The whole setup cost me less than £15 to make.

I haven’t experimented with the lamps setup much yet but using the Flash with the the “studio” allows me to take nearly shadowless images of objects or ones with nice soft shadows.

This is pretty much the image out of the camera with the colours adjusted slightly.

My next step is to learn how to use this set up well to produce images that people will want to buy , get them uploaded and hopefully watch the money trickle in.
I see this as more of a benefit to me than trying to make money from selling big prints of landscapes or portraits as I will be able to add “Stock Photographer” to my CV when trying to get a job in multimedia.

Any ideas for good images are very very welcome as that is the hardest part, read this for what sort of images are required .

Please note that I am not limiting myself to only images shot within my mini studio so I am open to a wide range of ideas. Oh and thanks to Louise for her list.

Here is my list of ideas so far to give you an idea:

  • Butterfly.
  • Hands.
  • Keyboard.
  • Sihouettes.
  • Bullseye.
  • Wet spider web.
  • Marbles.
  • Whistle.
  • Dice and counters.
  • Paperclips.
  • Sugar Cubes.
  • Pasta.
  • Fruit.

5 thoughts on “Stock Photography

  1. @ Harrison:
    Thanks, although I have just looked at it on a different computer and there is a visible grey area at the bottom of the image that isn’t visible on my monitor, going to have to sort that out.

    You can use the Lens Correction filter to add a uniform vignetting effect. Or if you have the patience you can create a new layer and paint on a custom vignette, give it a gaussian blur and adjust the layer opacity to blend it in.

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