When you look at how advertising has changed over the years there’s a pretty obvious development. Smartphones have changed how we see the world and ourselves in it, and by extension the documentation of our lives from a private affair to public knowledge. What’s this got to do with stock? Everything. The formality of images has changed. The technique has changed. The creators and consumers have changed. And so we too must adapt.
Lifestyle: defining your look
The most popular genre within stock is Lifestyle. There needs to be intimacy and believability in these images. How is that achieved? Choosing the right models. Sometimes this is best achieved by photographing those closest to you, your own family and friends. Otherwise take your time choosing your models, as they will make it for you. Then how to shoot them? Keep it natural; the light, the situation, the body language. Instead of trying to create a great shot, try to document a situation, this way you can capture beautiful unguarded moments. Do this, and you can develop a great style, as it will be serendipitous, and therefore unique.
Women: more than a pretty face
Only when better stock content is available, can it then filter though and improve the representation of women in media. Lets make this the year that women stand out for a strong look, instead of just being pretty. This is a huge category in stock, with many subcategories all in need of a makeover. Make a name for yourself here and you’re set. While we’re working on liberating representation, why stop at women? Men, trans-gender, trans-sexual, seniors, differently abled people all need fresh eyes to tell their story. How can you make a name for yourself in this field? Honest documentation, planned storyboards and respectful consideration will make your images stand out. Whatever you think of first for a minority lifestyle shoot, don’t do it. We want images to make us smile, make shutter or make us wonder. If it’s stereotypical, it’s not engaging, so it won’t stand out.
Back it Up
A strong crop can make an image, but shooting tight images can limit the possible crops after your shoot, so always make sure you shoot including enough surround space, more than you normally would. Sometimes this extra space in itself is what makes the image beautiful, as there is enough room to breath. Be sure to shoot both landscape and portrait versions of your shot, as again the less obvious composition can be the more interesting image.
Cinemagraphs: tricky little images
They differ from gifs in that a gif is a small portion of a video on loop, whereas a cinemagraph typically isolates movement of a certain feature of an image whilst the rest of the image is static.
A good cinemagraph shouldn’t feel like its on a loop; it can be as subtle as steam rising from a coffee cup, making the eye linger a little longer at the disconnect between the motion and stationary elements of the image. If you’re curious about how they’re made check out our tutorial on the blog. Please note when uploading cinemagarphs that they are in our recommended footage formats, not in a gif format.
4K: has arrived
The demand for high quality stock footage is huge. 4K is fast becoming the industry standard resolution. If you’re not yet shooting in it, its time to get on it!
Keywords: less is more
In the past we have advised 50 keywords per file, but things are changing. Our keyword count is getting condensed to 30 per file. As ever, be sure to order them
hierarchically, starting with the most relevant words. The first words should be descriptive, ending with broader conceptual terms. Most customer do not search with technical terms such as resolution or techniques of shooting, so including them here will not help your files be found. Using irrelevant keywords will result in file rejection, so best to keep to keep it real!
Empower your Models
Photographing people is not for everyone. It can be challenging for both the photographer and model if it is not done with confidence. You need to know exactly what you want to achieve from a shoot, from the technical aspects to the type of shots you are after. Any lack of confidence shown by the photographer will cast a shadow of doubt over everyone involved. Be sure to direct your models, whilst allowing them the freedom to find their pose naturally. This is especially important for footage producers; if your model is constantly looking to your for reassurance it looks highly unprofessional and awkward. Give enough instructions so everyone knows their roll in a scene. Give positive feed back, and show some images to the models, so it’s more of a dialogue between you, not keeping all of the power for yourself. Empower your models! Pay attention to their body language. Everyone has personal space, infringing on it can make people bottle up and give you nothing in return. Demonstrate the pose yourself, rather than moving them around into it.
Your confidence and professionalism is a constant must. If you are happy and relaxed it shows in a shoot. Don’t stop shooting, sometimes the before or after candid shot can be the magic shot.
White and Pastels: cooling down your palette, calming your mind
‘Colors this season transport us to a happier, sunnier place where we feel free to express a wittier version of our real selves.’
(Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director, Pantone Color InstituteTM)
Colour distinctions will have no gender. There’s enough chaos in the world, so lets all chill out with some calming shades, tones and pastels.
Balance the light
Sometimes it’s just a subtle hit of natural light that creates a beautiful atmosphere. When shooting with low light, work with your settings and a tripod, to avoid camera shake. Avoid additional light sources as they omit a different colour from daylight. Using the dodge and burn tools in Photoshop along with gentle nudges of the curves tool can enhance the contrast of a low light shot.
Keep it Flat
Flat design is simple and sophisticated. Why does it work? It’s all about communication. Flat design allows for complex information to be easily digested. It’s not just an aesthetic, its also functional. Check out our top flat design for some inspiration. Flat design can also refer to photographs. By having neutral backgrounds designers can ad text without overly compromising the image.
We’re looking forward to all your beautiful, strange and wonderful images, illustrations, cinemagraphs and videos. Remember to make it yours, be clever with your keywords, and have fun! Best of luck with 2016 from the Content Team!