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Author Topic: A few basic tips for shooting lifestyle stock  (Read 6437 times)

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« on: July 18, 2009, 01:12 »
Hi all,

 Nothing super special and I am sure a lot of you already know this but for those starting out, here are a couple quick tips on shooting Lifestyle stock that have helped me.

1 - If I have a model posing I try to remember to and add some curve to the spine. Unless I am are going for a ridged look. It helps me add reality and motion as well as keeping my models more relaxed and looking more realistic.

2 - Always remember to pay attention to the hand placement almost as much as the expression. Take the time to pose them if you can, or at least watch for the hands right before you push the button. The hands help tell the story in a still image. Nothing worse that a stock photo of a man at a desk and both of his hands are under the desk ;D

3 - A square thumbnail is the largest on your distributors page, it stands out more.. Not all images are made for this but if you do it right you can offer your buyers a vertical as well as a horizontal, think about the copy space. You don't need a square format, just crop in post if your sensor is large enough.

4 - Keep it clean. The hardest part for me is not the people in the shot, it is the environment around them and how to keep it supportive to your image and not distracting.

Hope this helps,
« Last Edit: July 18, 2009, 01:14 by Jonathan Ross »


« Reply #1 on: July 18, 2009, 17:47 »
Thanks Jonathan. You are always very helpful.

« Reply #2 on: July 18, 2009, 18:01 »
Yes those were great tips and it doesn't harm to repeat them now and then.
1 - The spine thing you find out inevitably yourself working with beginning models that stand like the pillars of wisdom feeling pretty, then look at the shots. Working with dancers and actors helps.
2 - Hands, very true.
3 - The square thumb has been brought up a couple of years ago by Yuri Arcurs as the most optimal thumb to catch attention and it's a very good reason to switch to a high MP cam with some room to crop.
4 - The clean background is often neglected and looking at your most recent pics at DT it's quite obvious. I also noticed (even before on the presentation) you almost always avoid overwhites. Some schools of thought tell us that overwhites sells better for models. Your idea?

« Reply #3 on: July 18, 2009, 20:47 »
Hi cevapcici,

 Thanks for the feedback. I shoot with an environment because I think it is harder to produce than just a white field although I do shoot some of that for Micro as it is needed by many buyers still. The square image idea was actually originated by Tom Grill years ago to my knowledge. One of the most prolific stock photographers of all time. I know that Yuri has worked for Tom's collection, maybe that is where he shared the idea from. Although Yuri is a smart guy and could easily of figure that out for himself. It is such a small world in the stock biz. Like I said pretty basic stuff but I realized that some people here are just getting started and I just wanted to throw a couple of beginner things out to help them along. Not rocket science for sure but till you see it you don't always get it. Keep on shooting :)



« Reply #4 on: July 19, 2009, 17:44 »
The square idea has its drawbacks, too. Unless you are using a real square sensor ( and there is no one around yet, I think), we do not use the full potential of new full frame sensors. First, you crop for square, and then, the customer crops your square for horizontal or vertical use(which is more common than square in use).

« Reply #5 on: July 20, 2009, 05:01 »
Jonathan, thank you very much. It is very nice to see a successful professional sharing insights like this to a bunch of people he never met. Thank you once again.

« Reply #6 on: July 20, 2009, 10:55 »
My Pleasure Aetherial,

 Love your name. Drop me a PM if you ever want to talk shop or join me over at Twitter or Face book. I am more active there.



« Reply #7 on: July 20, 2009, 13:41 »
Jonathan - thanks so much for your posts.  I learn heaps and always enjoy the read.  Few photographers are as willing to share so much. 


« Reply #8 on: July 20, 2009, 14:10 »
Jonathan - thanks so much for your posts.  I learn heaps and always enjoy the read.  Few photographers are as willing to share so much. 

I second Marlene.  All wonderful tips and some I would never have thought of myself.  Thanks a lot Jonathan!

« Reply #9 on: July 21, 2009, 15:06 »
good tips, thanks

« Reply #10 on: July 22, 2009, 03:21 »
Great tips, Mr. Ross.

Am really enjoying your presence and input, you are an authority on these matters and i imagine there is a large number of microstock contributors very keen to hear from you.

All the best,


« Reply #11 on: July 22, 2009, 06:09 »
Thanks, very appreciated by a total beginner like me.

« Reply #12 on: July 22, 2009, 06:14 »
here is my quick tip....

1. if on image you have smile with teeth then you have 50% more chances to sale well.

2. before shooting pay models, they will be happyer... hehhe

3. ask models to scream loud, after scream they have natural smile and than take images... don't say to medels that you will not take shot of screaming... hehe

3. shoot maximum amount of images because with people every second is differet, afcourse, take care about ligting, framing etc...

5. bring backup battery and cards...


« Reply #13 on: July 22, 2009, 10:53 »
Thanks Jonathan. Good stuff!  :)

« Reply #14 on: July 22, 2009, 14:52 »
Great stuff .Shock.

 When I am working with kids I keep an extra ten dollars in quarters or singles to bribe near the end when they are starting to lose interest. If it is okay with the parents of coarse.


« Reply #15 on: June 24, 2013, 09:49 »
I've learned the background lesson the hard way. Now I am extra careful about what is in the background as well as around the edges of the frame. Some problems can be corrected with cropping, but that can throw off the composition.

.Stock has some great tips too! Although the screaming suggestion could be a problem in crowed areas 8=)

« Reply #16 on: June 24, 2013, 11:42 »
Hi Lone Wolf,

 This is an old one. I have forgotten most of this stuff so it was great to reread thanks :)

Take care all,


« Reply #17 on: June 24, 2013, 13:51 »
Some useful tips here, and a good read, but definitely should be posted with an:




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