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Shooting for Stock Photography

Lesson 11 of 19

Culling Images

Geo Rittenmyer

Shooting for Stock Photography

Geo Rittenmyer

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Lesson Info

11. Culling Images

Lesson Info

Culling Images

All right so I'm gonna go and look at what I had edited before. All right. I don't know. Okay so that was one that I actually did use. This one was retouched and cropped a little bit. And it's actually a stock image that's up for sale right now. What do you think? Is that a pretty cool picture? All right someone in the pool. I don't know that's a little interesting if had a kid and mom down there. I don't know. I don't have a release for these people and I'll never be able to find them. I don't know, I don't think it's that great. You guys don't think it's very good either. It's kind of cool. I don't know. I see why these were the selects. All right. Some random guy, one umbrella. I don't know. I kind of feel like this could be a picture that if I got rid of the guy and the little people over there, and just had one umbrella on the beach. Toned it up kind of cool. Might be something. Oh yeah this is one of my favorites. Not as a stock image, this is like one of my kinda. It's like the ...

family at the end of the day just all beached themselves. (laughter) Oh yeah it was this one, yeah. Poppa bear is still up and doing well. All right so that was all the ones that I had selected so. Yeah I think that one actually went into my personal work. We can go back. So what I like to do sometimes is I'll go back and actually look at the stuff that wasn't selected, and see if maybe, quickly. All right that's good. So you can see that right there. Like a big hair on the sensor. Yeah so clean your cameras. That's not very professional of me. There you go. So do you guys take pictures when you're everywhere? Kind of do stuff like this, just snapping pictures. And you get home and you're like well I didn't really get anything. So really just go back and look like years later, or a week later. Or whenever and sometimes you'll see stuff. I don't know what happened there. So ocean. All right. Zoomed in a little more. I don't know. That's too busy and messy. Not quite. Oh cool, one of those Osprey military aircraft. I like to take pictures of planes and helicopters and stuff whenever they fly over. Just something I do. I actually use this in a composite, in another image. I thought it was kind of a fun little element, and I put it in another picture. It says club overboard, two for one drinks tonight. I don't know. I mean that's kinda cool, it's got different lines and stuff in it but I think it's a little too generic. All right. I see too many people in this. They're not styled or posed or the right demographic. All right what do we have here? We've got just one person out in the ocean. There's an awkward stance. Doesn't really work. I don't know what's going on there. All right. So got a little creative and dutched the camera. I guess even seven years ago I was still trying every single angle literally. It's terrible isn't it? Nobody would ever want that or use it. I don't know. Some of these are kind of interesting. They need a little work. And Geo as you're going through this, if you don't mind, kind of tell us what's going through your head from a visual standpoint, and the elements that you're looking for. Whether it doesn't have what I'm looking for or. Does that make sense? I'm just looking for something that kind of catches my eye, that I can put a little, maybe a little crop, maybe I can remove a couple people from the image. Something that I can add a little more tone to. Something that I maybe didn't see when I first looked through this. I maybe first looked through this and was like, oh I shot this in the middle of the day, it's not good I don't like it. And now that I know the way that I process stuff, I know that I've got a RAW file here and I shoot RAW, I think everybody pretty much shoots RAW files. I'm not gonna go too much into that. It's not absolutely critical. You should shoot RAW files. And when you go back for this stuff you can reprocess it. So now I know that I can actually reprocess this stuff. So the stuff that I shot during the day that is kind of contrasty and not the most attractive, especially seven years ago, now I know that that RAW file with the new software the way that you can process images, I can actually get even more tonal range out of some of these. So the kind of midday harsh light doesn't affect me in my choice so much anymore. I feel like I can make something out of that. So now I'm looking more for something that just kind of visually excites me. So both negative space, something that's more simple. Jen had mentioned that that's something that is being looked for nowadays. Where seven years ago I might have been kind of looking for something that was a little more busy, and really had more of a story to it. Where now I'm gonna go back and look and maybe there was stuff that I shot because I shoot every different angle. Wide, telephoto, high, low. So yeah I'm looking for something that kind of fits the new trends to see if it's there. So. I don't know that ones kinda. Oh look at the couple walking on the beach. I'd maybe lose that person and maybe lose that person over there. I don't know could be something. Let's see what else we get. So maybe I'll go ahead and mark that one. I'm just gonna tag that with a yellow seven. I can go back to it. All right. There's like a little kid down here like beating something. (laughter) Wow. It is kind of amusing just to look back at pictures to see. That kid is angry. All right two people in the water. They're not close enough together. We're back to that family. Oh a trash can and a closed umbrella. Maybe a little too simple. There we go just sand and water. Again this is not, you know it's kind of an interesting picture for lines and kind of a study, but it's not really a stock picture. So back to more. Oh just the trash can on the beach. I don't know. This is the kind of stuff that I see sometimes and I'm like I'll go ahead and just play with this. I'll process this up. Add some different effects to it and just see what it looks like. Probably not gonna be a stock picture, but it's kind of practice, it keeps me trying new stuff, working on stuff. And then I will go through and edit some of these, and then every so often, I after going back through, I'll have a collection of 15 pictures that I have found. And I'll resubmit them to the stock agency. I'll just upload them and be like yeah here's some more pictures from the archive, what do you think? And quite often pictures are selected and put into the catalog that were from quite a while ago. All right so back to that family. All right. Oh okay. Maybe. Do we have one that has a horizon? No. I don't know. Actually I kinda think that very last image might be. Seemed kinda interesting to you guys. Maybe a little more than some of them. I don't know. All right. Maybe I'll just use, it's either that one. Let's put a seven on that. So we got. I don't know I kinda like those two. The one on the left I'll have to take out some people I think. Maybe just leave the umbrella. Let's see what's under that umbrella. How that looks. A couple empty chairs. I don't know, maybe. And then the other one has a couple people that you can't really identify with an umbrella that's not really a color I'd like but I can change that. I don't know. Is there a preference? Is there a vote for which one seems more interesting? Left. Left? Left all right. So we'll go with this one. So I'll go ahead and I'll just move right on to kind of how I would process this in Lightroom. So one thing I would do for this edit is, these pictures, they look okay to me, I didn't really mess with them. Sometimes I have pictures that are really dark or the color is just off. And I'll just do a global change on all of them. And I'll demonstrate that in a minute. But for this one I didn't do that. So I'm gonna go ahead and go in here and I'm gonna develop this. I'm gonna develop this as though I'm gonna go into Photoshop to work on it. So with Lightroom as you guys probably know, you can do a lot of retouching stuff in it. So I can actually. Is this gonna work? Yeah. So I can actually go in here and remove people using. Zoom out. I mean you've gotta go in there and spend a little time on it. But that's an option. I don't know. Do you guys do much retouching in Lightroom? Or do you guys like to go into Photoshop? I don't know if you have a preference. So there's no right or wrong way to do that. You can use Lightroom, you can use Photoshop. I use both of them for everything. I kind of interchange them quite a bit. So I probably would just take this into Photoshop and remove the people in Photoshop. Again you can do this however you want. So for me on this picture, what I would do is, I kind of see this as keeping just the green blue tones. Taking a little more color out of that sand so it goes more like a white gray, and just really emphasizing kind of a cool palette to this. So I'm wanna flatten this thing out quite a bit. So one way to do that is you can pull your Contrast down. I might do that a little bit. So what I like to do is I like to pull my Highlights and my Whites down. And I like to pull my Shadows and my Blacks up. So now we're getting real flat. I play with Exposure quite a bit too. I have no problem with the cameras that we have nowadays pulling stuff up a full stop or down a full shop, stop and a half and it's fine. It's one thing that's kinda cool about the way photography, stock photography is now that you can get away with a lot more mistakes. And the look that you put on stuff really allows you to kind of push and pull your development. So I'll usually start there. Sometimes with the Color Temperature I'll just start it right at 5500 and zero. And I don't know I kinda actually like that cool really neutral tone. So we'll leave it there. Other stuff that you can do. Clarity is one. I tend to jack up the Clarity if I'm just doing a global correction to kind of get a feel. It just makes stuff have a little more detail. When I'm processing out to go to Photoshop, I'll add that in to Photoshop myself, so I'll usually bring that down. Oh the Vibrance. The colors up a little bit. I'm actually gonna just leave that where it is. Tone Curve, something. Oh my goodness. The Tone Curve is something that I definitely do use. I'm gonna demonstrate that in Photoshop. It works just the same in Lightroom. It's a really kind of powerful way to add a cool kind of modern film look by just playing with your curves. So this down here is pretty fun. Your Hue, Saturation and Luminance. The Color gets even more into it, I don't really use it too much. Black and White is fun to play with. So one thing is I didn't kick the Saturation out but I wanna go ahead and add the Saturation just in these blues and greens. So I'll just click here and I'll go here and I'll go ahead and pull those up a little bit. So now I'm like really emphasizing the color of that water. Split Toning is another option. Again, like you get more advanced, it's fun to kind of play with that and give looks. But we're going into Photoshop, I don't use that. Detail Sharpening, yes. And yes. There's full on courses that teach and talk and instruct about all different types of sharpening. Something that used to be a really important thing. It's not so much anymore. So much of the stuff that we use is getting presented digitally and so it's such a high quality and then it's going into a screen. So adding sharpness is something that will kind of keep happening to the image over and over. So go ahead and add some sharpening early on. You don't have to add crazy amount. You can zoom in and see where I came from. So you know. I'll jack that thing up to about there and there. What do you think? Looks fine to you guys? Don't look too sharp? And this is different for every image obviously. Noise Reduction, of course you can use that if you want. I'm not really gonna mess with it. I think the file is fine. Lens Correction. This is like a fun one. Does anybody ever use these? Yeah. They're good. Especially for fast stuff. And I actually like, especially if this lens was in here. Okay this was a 50 millimeter that I shot it on. So I think this is kind of cool that auto correction. It just gets rid of that vignette and sometimes there's a little bowing in the lens, especially the wide angle lenses, and it just removes it and it's cool. Now I have like a really truly flat piece. Now I can add whatever vignetting I want myself. And it's just a better starting point. And the transform is something that I use sometimes. Especially if I'm just processing a big group of stuff out of Lightroom. I'm not gonna use it on this one because it's perfectly straight. And then the Effects. I don't use any of the vignetting. If I'm going into Photoshop, what I do like to do sometimes though is I'll go ahead and process this in Photoshop, bring it back into Lightroom, and I won't really put a vignette in Photoshop. And in Lightroom I can go ahead and just use this cool little like quick addition of a vignette before I kick out a JPEG or a large file. So I can use both Lightroom and Photoshop interchangeably. It's a good option. Grain. I think that's more of an artistic kind of use. If you wanna try it. All right so I think this picture is pretty good. So as far as kicking it out to Photoshop, I'm gonna do that but I'm not gonna do anything in Photoshop to it yet. So my process of, my personal way of handling my files that I work on, is I save them as a Photoshop document. So I'm gonna go to my Desktop. That's Downloads. Desktop. And go to the course. And so I have a folder called Working. I have my Working folder and it has everything that I work on in it. So that's kind of where all my polished images go. Which is the most fun to look at, cause there's just hundreds and hundreds of images that I've worked on. So it's like one or two pictures from each one of these shoots. And you're gonna scroll through that and see where you are. And that's really your stock catalog. That's the stuff that gets selected and sent. So in Working I have a folder, I'm just gonna put it in the Photoshop folder. So I'll choose that. There's some pictures in there already. We'll get rid of that. Don't rename. I'm gonna change this to a Photoshop document. I currently still work in 8-bit. Some people work in 16-bit now. I still work in Adobe RGB, some people use ProPhoto. That's all your own preference and just how you wanna handle it. There's no wrong or right way there. I do not resize the image. I like 300 pixels per inch. I think it defaults to 240. Completely irrelevant. That doesn't really matter. No sharpening. I like to write the keywords, keep the keywords that I have on the file with the file. So I leave that. No watermark. And after export I like to just open in Photoshop. And then you can save this as a preset. So I'm just gonna save this as a preset here. So I have all my presets in my catalog that I use, I think most people out there probably know this and use them too if you're familiar with Lightroom. So I'm gonna export that. So we'll just let that kick out. Okay. Oops I had two of them selected accidentally. That's not good. It's fine. I can always delete a file. Okay so it's in Photoshop now. I'm gonna go back and keep talking about Lightroom a little bit. So here's another photo shoot that I went back through probably, it would have been right at the beginning of the year. So four, five months ago. This is Fourth of July on Lake Union here in Seattle. On a friend's boat for the firework show. I went out there and you have to hang out there all day because to get a spot. And it was fun. I've seen the fireworks there quite a bit. They're lovely. I enjoy fireworks. So this time this year, this was in 2005, I brought my camera. I brought the fast camera, the X, and I set up on the top of the boat and just shot a lot of pictures. 865 pictures on this camera to be exact. Of fireworks exploding in the air. Kind of slow shutter speed so you're not gonna get a lot of stuff. I brought this home, put it into my computer and was like why did I do that? What was I thinking? That's a lot of pictures to try to find one in. So I just ignored it. I maybe have went back and looked at it once. And then just recently there was something in one of the trends that I saw of fireworks. And I just thought oh yeah I did shoot that fireworks how. So there's a need for it. The way stuff is looking now, it kinda has that lower kind of graininess. Maybe if there's a little motion, it might still have an image there that's worthwhile, that's worth selling. So I went back and actually edited through this. And what I did first is I went ahead and let's go down to one that has a firework in it. Those are all pretty boring. Okay so what I did is I went back down here to these ones here. Let's see. So it has a firework in it. So I went and processed it. And I really really emphasized. I took the Highlights way down, Shadows all the way up. So it's like pretty much the most flat dynamic image, just so I could see what was actually in there. And when I did that, I went ahead. So what you can do is you can set all this stuff up. So we'll just kind of go back to what it was when it was shot. So it was something more along these lines. When it was shot, not too exciting. So I went ahead and made that adjustment. So what I like to do when I reedit, is I make this adjustment that shows all of this, and then you can select all of your images that are in there. And then just hit Sync. And then you can sync all of those settings. So I'll do that. So all of them will now have that same global adjustment. And now I'll go ahead and reedit it. And for me seeing them in this really flat, like more detail in the water, and the boats. It makes me kind of visualize something different. I see that I can take this picture in a different direction. So I've spent probably a whole morning, editing. And then probably another afternoon reediting. And so I found, I don't see if I have any selections made. Okay. So yeah I did. I made a selection, so this selection looks like it's. 37 pictures I took out of it. And then they're kind of cool. Some big crazy firework explosions. Look at that real big. So I took some of these into, it's kinda cool. Took some of these into Photoshop, and just played with them a little bit more, and I have them down here. So we've got this picture. Looks like the boats were catching on fire. It's pretty cool. So these pictures that I had looked at, a few years after they were taken. It's kinda cool that people on the boat. It's like, you know this stuff down here is a little soft. It's more about that moment and being there. And it's something when I initially took them, I didn't really feel like I got something necessarily. But going back and relooking at it I found some kind of cool pictures. So all of these pictures here are. These are all selected in the catalog now for sale and can make more money. And these are pictures I went back and found a few years later, and then resubmitted them. Again something Jenna talked about in the brief that I always think is important is, Christmas morning. Or pretty much any holiday. Fourth of July, you know. Take these pictures of what's going on and just sit on them. Don't even necessarily look at them right away. Just take them and let them sit there for a while. And then go back and look at them. Go back and look at Fourth of July pictures in the middle of the winter. That's what I did in January. And people were looking for in January to use so. You could also makes me thing of summer and being on a boat. You know look at your pictures of Christmas in May or June. And maybe find some you can submit them. Because that's the time when they would start to be sold anyways. So there's definitely the power of your archiving going back and looking at your work is so so important. As a stock photographer. It's definitely something that you need to just continue to build and work on and go back and look for. So is there any questions along those lines? Oh let's take a look. One little technical question from Olga who wanted to know is there any specifically in essential different functions from opening into Lightroom and going back and forth to Photoshop? No definitely not. I know a lot of people, and it's probably a better practice possibly. I know a lot of people will edit in Lightroom and then keep the image attached to it. So you have your processed image still attached to your RAW image. In the same folder and they leave it there. And that's a really good way to do it also. I know a lot of people who do it that way. And then you can actually work on versions. It's completely fine and it's honestly probably a better system then what I do. I've just put my select worked on folders in a separate location that all of the RAW stuff. I just personally like to pull them out. So that's definitely a good question and definitely there's lots of different ways to handle this. There's no necessarily right or wrong way. And is now a good time to ask specifically for when you submit your stock photos at the very end of the day, whether they have criteria about whether you've over processed or. Yeah. So no there's no criteria whether you've over processed. If you've over processed they're not gonna like them. And they probably won't select them. But no, there's no real right or wrong way to process. And this is something that's really changed in the photography world. 20 years ago, you were looking at numbers when you were color coding stuff to make sure everything was just exactly right. Skin tones where just the right color. And now skin tones are just muted and pale are fine. People are adding more of that kind of almost like sepia overtone look to stuff. So no there really isn't over processing. Because you'll get to a point where it just doesn't look good. But no there's no real way of making stuff too, pushing stuff too far one way or the other. You know. You'll hit that mark when either you or a majority of people look at it and say no. It's too much. But yeah definitely keep. Push and play with stuff. And is there, I'm just curious. Is there any difference between processing between something that's you'd submit rights managed as opposed to royalty free? No. Okay. No they are submitted the same exact way. And then the agency usually makes the decision. So if I submit something where there's no model release on it, then if they like it enough it'll be rights managed. I can't be royalty free. So that's kind of the only real big difference there.

Class Description

The world of stock photography can feel complicated, but commercial and editorial photographer, Geo Rittenmyer, will show you how to create and sell stock photography from any situation. In this course, he’ll cover the essentials of stock photography, the differences between royalty free or rights managed, as well as where stock is utilized in today’s world. He’ll also be interviewing an art director at a top agency to better understand what types of imagery stock agencies are looking for. 

Topics include: 

  • Techniques for shooting when traveling and what to think about when taking a photo 
  • How to set up a low-cost stock specific studio shoot 
  • How to utilize Adobe® Photoshop® & Lightroom CC to organize your catalog and keywords for easy access 
  • How to find a stock agency for your work 
  • When and where to use model or property releases 

Stock photography can allow you to shoot for your clients, as well as your passion. Get back to shooting what you love and make money at the same time! 

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

2017 Gallery Stock Trend Report

Sample Model Release

Sample Property Release

Stock Agencies List

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

Related Classes


Amy Vaughn

Personally, I really liked this class, but I can see why it wouldn’t be for everyone looking for information about stock photography. I’ve already researched and started doing microstock, but now I’m looking for more information about other options. This class was a good fit for me. Although Geo seemed new to public speaking and used too many fillers like “uh” and “um”, I found him likable and surprisingly relatable considering our different photographic niches. This class may be best suited for: Learning more about boutique galleries, rights managed stock and alternatives to microstock Seeing how this particular stock photographer works, gets inspiration and has been successful Getting ideas about current trends and sources for inspiration Getting the perspective of a creative director for a boutique agency Those interested in lifestyle photography May not be as suitable for: Broader and more in depth information about the variety of options in stock photography Those who want to focus on microstock New photographers who want detailed information about getting started and meeting technical requirements Those who prefer a more polished speaker

Carol Totaro

I thought this was a great class and have to disagree with some of the comments from the hands down viewers. The audience was listless and did not seem to be interested in being there. Do you know how difficult it is to stand up in front of a bunch like this and keep your mojo racing? Very difficult. Hardly anyone asked questions and they all just gave a lot of nods most of the time. If your read ahead of time the info on the class, you would see that he was going to go into Lightroom and workflow. Yes, some of it was a drag especially all those pictures taken from the condo at a FL panhandle beach. But nothing's perfect. Maybe I got a lot out of this because I am newer at photography. I was glad to know about his equipment. Everyone's personality is different and for all the talent and success Geo has enjoyed, he remains a humble and very likeable guy.

Christina Biasi

I loved this class! I cannot agree with some other reviews below at all Geo gives so much valuable information, and in fact I love his style much more than many other over-self confident speakers. He is sympathetic and likeable, and most importantly give very much valuable insights into stock photography. I just started with stock and got all my questions answered. I watched it already three times. The only part which I did not like so much was the post-processing part, because he could have explained better his workflow and why he chose certain actions. But that does not impact on the overall quality of the course. I can only highly recommend this class