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Shooting for Stock Photography

Lesson 13 of 19

Editing Images in Photoshop

Geo Rittenmyer

Shooting for Stock Photography

Geo Rittenmyer

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Lesson Info

13. Editing Images in Photoshop

Lesson Info

Editing Images in Photoshop

Alright so I'm gonna jump into Photoshop. So let's just play with this image. Let's see if this works. So I don't know, that couple's okay maybe. I wanna lose this guy, what do you guys think? First thing I'm gonna do, I'm gonna make a new layer. I'm just gonna use the healing brush here real quick and see what that does. I don't know, looks fine to me. What do you guys think, good? (laughs) Gone. Alright, I think maybe I'm just gonna git rid of all the people. I don't know, these are some weirdos too. I don't know what these guys are thinking. Alright, let's see what this does. This might be a little... Yeah that one didn't work as much. Maybe I'll just grab the stamp now, and it just seems a little weird here, so maybe I'll just, so one thing about retouching for this stuff and removing logos and quick things like this that are pretty small is I retouch this stuff pretty strong, sometimes I'm just going in and retouching with 100% opacity on a brush. If you're retouching people, don'...

t do that, that's not gonna work. But for removing brands and logos and stuff, you can go ahead and do that. That looks fine to me, I'd maybe spend a little more time on it but for demonstration. Alright, and then these people, let's go ahead and just use the stamp. We'll get rid of them too. I don't mind them, they're not too bad, maybe I could stretch him a little bit, make him a little bigger and stronger, but not gonna do that. Alright so, I'm just gonna soften this up a little bit. Again, what am I at, 70% opacity, so I'm just kinda just brushing over these people. You'll see it doesn't really make that big of a difference. And then don't forget those shadows. Most people retouch and they forget the shadow and then somebody calls them out and then, yeah. Alright, that's not too bad, there's a couple little areas that look a little bit cloney. Is cloney a word? Cloney is a word. Cloney Island, New York. Alright maybe I'll soften this up and just give one more pass with the slightly softer brush to kinda even out a little bit of that. Alright let's pull up, alright, doesn't look too bad. The sandcastle that that kid was beating, (laughter) I would maybe take that out too, and clean up the sand a little bit, but I'm not gonna do that, I'm just gonna kinda show you guys a little bit of more, some toning techniques. So for this one, one thing I like to do is I like to play with the channels. I wanna give this thing more contrast, a little more punch. So I'm gonna go ahead and remove, not remove, I'm gonna add. So let's grab a red channel, so I'm just gonna copy that, and I'm gonna paste a red channel on here. And I'm gonna change the blending mode of this to, let's try Soft Light. And pull it down and pull it up. I don't know, it's kind of cool 'cause it just gives you that more even tone, you're not like really messing up the image or anything. I don't know, that's kinda cool. Another thing you can do is, which one, the blue's so much different. Alright let's grab the blue, it's gonna be really crazy. So we'll put the blue on here, and let's invert the blue. So now we're kind of doing the opposite, we're not adding contrast, we're taking contrast away, so I'm gonna turn that one to a Soft Light also, and I'm gonna pull that down to zero. So you can see where I'm sort of flattening it out where this one is adding contrast. But it's kinda taking some of the color, it's making the colors more muted and uniform. It's kinda doing some fun stuff with the sea back there, I don't know. I like it, I'm feeling it, so you can do that. So I'll just merge those down onto another layer real quick. Let's see, maybe we'll play with, let's play with maybe adding a little more punch to it. Back in Lightroom, you can go here to your clarity. And so what the clarity does is kind of you see this kind of it adds almost like a crisp sharpness, it really works on the difference between highlights and shadow and adds more contrast in those lines. So I think that's kind of a cool effect. I think if you go a little too far, it starts to look a little HDR-y, I don't know. A little too unreal. So there's a couple ways, let's go ahead and play with that. One is to do an adjustment of shadows and highlights, so Show More Detail. So this is one way to kind of, it's adding like a bunch of stuff to it, so you can come down here and play with the midtones a little bit. So add contrast to the midtones, it's kinda fun. I don't think there's too much in the shadow, it just kind of lightens and darkens it. Maybe the highlight. Yeah, so the highlight's kinda cool, you can maybe bring a little more detail back in that beach there. So you can do something like that, flattens it out a little bit. You can see, just kinda bring it back in makes it a little crisper. It's kinda cool. There's some programs, I don't know if I have it on here. Does anybody use plugins, you know like I know Nik's software is free now, Google bought them and introduced it for free. I don't know if I have that one on here. I do. So there's stuff, you can go in here, I sometimes use this, there's a couple settings in this program that I like if it's gonna show up. Oh, there it is. I don't want that one. So you can add stuff, I like the contrast, what is it called, pro contrast, I think this filter in here is kinda fun. I think it does a pretty good job of adding contrast in a different way rather than just adding the contrast in Photoshop. There's a couple others in here that I'll use, I think the vignette is pretty nice in this too, to add. I don't know, you can play with these, I think you can download this one for free. That's another way to play with it. Oh yeah, high key sometimes is fun. That might be a little extreme. Take the contrast way down. Maybe I'll just say okay. It's not that great, I'm just kinda showing you different options. I like to play with stuff, learn new stuff, there's no limit, so definitely try new things. Go online, CreativeLive, anywhere. Watch some tutorials on how to do some of this stuff. I don't know I feel like that might be a little stronger than I want. And then I'm gonna show you basic color, I like to control stuff, color, I'm gonna go head and add some curves, a few different curves. I wish that there was a way to make an adjustment layer without having a mask on it, but that's not an option in Photoshop. If Adobe people are out there, fix that. I should just be able to hold down Command and Option and click on curve and there'd be no mask. Anyway, so I'm gonna delete those two. So one way, maybe some of you use this, a good way to add contrast besides using third party software is to do a luminosity curve. So just change your blending mode to luminosity and then you can kind of play with that. It affects no color in no way. And then I got another curve up here. So I'm gonna change this one to color curve, so now I'm just gonna affect color. So now I wanna play with my curves. Some times I would do different stuff to, I'm not really sure what I'm doing with this one. So I'm gonna go to the red curve and pull down and get rid of the red that's in the shadows. Maybe, actually, a little bit here. So we in real cool tone. So I'll go to blue. Let's add more blue. Let's add blue to the shadows, but maybe we'll keep it kinda warm. So maybe do something like that. It's kind cool, it's having a different feel. I'd probably even push this more for this photo, but for something that just kind of, I don't know, wasn't too exciting seven years ago I'm playing with some new filters, some new toning, and making something that could possibly feel more modern, feel like it could fit into today's stock world, the sales. There's a bunch more stuff that I use. So I'm gonna go ahead and I'll save that one and I'll go ahead and grab another picture. I have a few in here. There's this picture, this one was recently added into the stock gallery. So this was a picture, had a little small aquarium in Honolulu and the picture was not that straight and perfect and I brought the RAW one. That was the picture, so I went ahead and opened up it in Photoshop and I'll put 'em side by side so you can see. As you can see, the original, I didn't do a whole lot color, just popped it up a little bit, but what I did is I just changed the perspective, skewed it out, and made it into a perfect square. And that right there just, if I just submit this, it's kinda messy, it's not too clean, but just by getting rid of some elements and playing in Photoshop and changing it, I now have something that looks like that was a perfectly square aquarium and I stood behind it, perfectly square, and had a model stand there, perfectly square. But I couldn't get that shot because I couldn't actually move around that direction. There's a display in the way or something. So when you're taking pictures, the power of Photoshop always remember that you always have that option to play with. Does anybody do kinda stuff like that also? Yeah. So let's see, I'm gonna go and show kind of a submitting. So one thing, editing. Editing's like one of the most important things. How many people edited, like you go on a shoot, you bring your pictures back and you start editing right away? Do you guys do that? Do people wait at least a day? Maybe two days? Yeah. I have always been a person like, I'm so excited to see the pictures. I put that card in and I'm like ah, what did I got, did I get something amazing? And I'm always looking at them. I don't allow myself to actually make any selections. If I see a picture there that I like, or maybe I'm like oh, I'm super excited about this, I wanna put it on Instagram right now, I'll take it off and do that, but that's as far as I go. I back off, I just let it kinda sit and simmer for a while. And I'll come back and make a pass at it and make a selection and I'll just let it simmer. And I'll just come back a week later and do the same thing. So unless you're on a real tight deadline, which you are sometimes, then of course you gotta do it quickly. When you're shooting for stock and you're shooting your own stuff, you're not on a tight deadline, you really aren't. You can kind of control it how you want. So the idea of having fresh eyes and coming back and relooking at something is that you need to really narrow this down to a small amount of pictures yourself. There was a time when editors at magazines would say "Gimme the whole take" and photographers were uploading thousands of images and they'd look through 'em. That doesn't happen anymore (chuckles). Editors at magazines don't wanna see full takes, they want a pretty nice edit. Stock agencies, at Gallery Stock, now they don't want more than 20 pictures. It was 50, it's down to 20, from a shoot or at a time. They wanna small, tight grouping of the best pictures. So that falls on us as the photographers. And editing your own work isn't the easiest, it takes some time to kind of learn and go back to. So if you have somebody else, again it goes back to networking, if you have somebody else who can look at your work and help you with it, then that's a good idea. If not, just take your time. I had read an article, I think it was in PDN, about editing for getting grants for putting together a portfolio for grant money, and it really fit it to what stock photography was. It was real interesting, about how you should kind of back up and think about it from different viewpoints and come back to it. So you definitely should do that. I'll just kinda go through the process of this. So this was a hike in Hawaii where, on this camera, I shot 1,199 pictures, that's kind of ridiculous. (laughs) But when you're hot and you have a 18-month old kid on your back and you've just done 2,000 vertical feet, (sigh) you're just taking pictures. (laughs) You're not framing. So I went ahead and did an edit of this one. Here's kind of a first edit, and there are a lot and a lot and a lot and a lot of pictures. Especially this part, at the end of the hike going down, there's just so many good pictures. (clicking) It's cool, it was fun. So this is what I narrowed it down to, what did I narrow this down to? So 36, I don't think that was first edit, that was probably a second edit or so. And let's see, do I still have my star markings? Yeah, so then I narrowed it down to 17 pictures. So then I took it down to that, and I still have to take it down, I could probably get away with that, but I can still probably take it down a little further. But it's this matter of actually going and taking them down, and did I put them in there? No, I didn't. That process of taking these down to, I guess there're only five, down to 17 pictures, I think I might've submitted 17 pictures. So I it down to 17 pictures, I submitted these pictures, and the agency looks at it and I think the agency took five. So you really have to narrow this stuff down yourself and just continue to whittle it down. So you've got three pictures that are pretty close and you just can't quite make a decision on it? Just pull the trigger, one of 'em. Just pick one of 'em. If no one ever sees those other two, then they don't know they exist, so they wouldn't think they're a better picture anyways. It's definitely tough. And also ask for help, once you make an initial edit, have a friend or somebody else come, be like hey, do you mind flipping through these, tell me which ones you think are the best, which ones are the strongest? And it's kinda interesting, people definitely see stuff that you don't see and it'll make you kind of think about it again. And then the relationship that you have with your editor or creative director at an agency, I have had photo shoots in the past where they've said hey, these are great, let's see some more from it, can you send me more from it? Because I think that there might be some more in there. So they can reach out to you and get more if they want to. But if you bombard them with 1,200 pictures, they don't want that, they don't have time for that, they're not gonna look at that. So you really need to work as yourself to be a real, true self-editor. So is there any questions on... Yeah? So when you get some images picked by your publisher or your agency, do you flag those again in Lightroom? Or how do you document that and keep track of that. Good question, I do. I have a collection in Lightroom that's all the stuff that has been to stock. I actually have a separate file where anything that I've submitted, so if it's a TIF, or full resolution JPEG is usually how you submit those, I have those files, I keep those in a folder, and I'll a lot of times, what I do is, my work, I also keep that on a separate hard drive. I'll just dump those files on another hard drive. I just feel like those are my money-making pictures. I definitely kind of keep stuff tagged, it's important too, as I was just having to go through to select images for CreativeLive to use for promoting this class, I had to make sure that I had stuff that wasn't already up for sale, because it's being used sort of commercially here for CreativeLive. There was the picture that they've used of the nanny at Red Rock, and I never submitted that to stock. This was a take from that. These were okay, I like the pictures, I got one picture from it, that's my crazy kid. His name is Ryatt, R-Y-A-T-T. So I got some cool pictures, I didn't submit them and when I knew this course was gonna happen, I just held off and I used these for it. This is the picture, so that's just out of the camera the picture that I shot there. It's the middle of the day, don't be afraid of direct sunlight, middle of the day, terrible, harsh lighting. Take the picture. So as I was out there taking this picture, my idea from it was it was this kind of deserty scene. To me, I started think like Breaking Bad kind of feel, so ultimately how I pushed that picture, the one that you see, I pushed it to have more of that kind of gritty, almost green kind of film, what they call graded in the film world. So I pushed it to have more of gritty, grainy feel. It makes the picture so much more interesting, it feels like it could be just a scene from a movie, kind of a clip out of a movie. So my process when I am going through this stuff is, I visualize different things. Having an idea of what is for in your catalog that you have sold and that is for sale is something that is important to keep track of. Another question, Jeff? You're submitting in high resolution JPEG or the RAW files? JPEG, agencies now want everything that's already done and processed, so what they want is a high resolution, depends on the agency, TIF file or an uncompressed JPEG file so a full JPEG. That's all that they want, they don't want RAW files. They want it to be of a certain size, and the certain size, pretty much every camera nowadays the size is fine, even if you have to boost it up a little bit, it should be fine as long as the quality holds. I have two more questions. Yeah. One is relative to the size. They have a standard size or are you able to do more of the panoramic, or does that matter? There's no standard size, so like you can see this image here is more panoramic. They have a minimum size requirement, so they want the short edge to be, I'd have to look at it, maybe it's like 4,000 pixels on the short side is kinda what they want for the minimum. If it's a panoramic, maybe it doesn't have to be that, it could be 2,000 and then 16,000 long or something. There's no exact size, it just needs to be of a quality of what they provide to the clients. And then the last question, once you submit an image to an agency and it's accepted, can you do the same image to another agency, or just... That's a good question. The answer to that is yes, but if you're with an agency, you're probably going to sign a contract that your cut of it is going to be based on exclusivity. Some agencies will say, no, fine, submit it here, submit it to wherever you want, but we're gonna give you a much smaller cut because it's for sale somewhere else. So most agencies, and if you get into an agency, what you wanna have is exclusivity so they actually have the right to sell that image and only they have that image. It's better for them, the boutique agencies want that for sure. The macro agencies, not quite as much. Then another thing too is if you go on a photo shoot and you take a bunch of pictures on the photo shoot, and the agency takes five of them and you've got five more that you think are cool, if you put those to another agency, that's kinda not really fair. It is one shoot, and you should just keep that one shoot at one agency. If you shoot some B roll stuff that's kind of completely different, it doesn't even feel like the same shoot, then that's I think okay to give to another agency but I think you should stay true to your agency. Does that help? Yeah, and you can have more than one agency, just don't submit the same pictures and (laughs) the same ones.

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