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Lesson 7 from: Shooting for Stock Photography

Geo Rittenmyer

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Lesson Info

7. Production

Next Lesson: Self Producing

Lesson Info


There's three terms I'm just gonna tell you guys real quick just for this class, just so we don't get confused for the rest of the class moving forward. Those three terms are edit. When I say edit in this class, I'm just referring to picking pictures and narrowing pictures down and something that I'll be doing in Lightroom. I know a lot of people like, oh, edit that picture, and it has so many different meanings and different feels. Edit film is different. A lot of people are like, oh, did you edit that before you put it up on Instagram, meaning like you took somebody out of it or changed the color or something. When I say edit, I'm just referring to selecting photos. That's it. There's no right or wrong way, just so we're not confused. Retouch, if I'm saying retouching, I'm referring to removing stuff, changing the shape of stuff, maybe adding stuff in. That's stuff that I do in PhotoShop, generally layered stuff, removing logos and brands from things, I may refer to as retouching. An...

d then tone, I'm gonna talk about tone and feeling, also say that's the kind of overall color and feeling. Jahed talked about that a little bit, this kind of need to go back to kind of a film look. Not to film, but having that sort of more of a real and kind of natural feel. So those are the three terms I'm gonna use. If you get confused, let me know, but that's just so we are on the same page. So we'll go into production. So this is I think a fun one. This is so broad. Hopefully I'll be able to give you guys some inspiration and ideas of how to create shoots without much money. So the things I'll go over are casting, finding talent. I'll talk a little about studio specific shoots, travel based stock, probably the easiest one, which I'm sure all of you guys kind of can do somehow. And then talk a little bit about how reaching out just in your community, building network is so important. Getting people around you to help you. Then we'll talk about self producing and budgets and lack of. And then the last thing is when to hire out and when you should spend some money. So the first thing, finding talent, making it your nanny. So does anybody here have a favorite place to find models? Friends. Friends, friends, family, number one, absolutely. Friends and family are the absolute best and easiest. And Janette mentioned this, too. The look that people are going for now is not to have some high-end super attractive, stylized model who's giving attitude. They want people that are real, real world people. I mean, all of you are attractive people and can absolutely be a stock model. So your friends, your family, are the first places to go for. Anybody anywhere else? Go on the Internet. There's websites, I know Model Mahem is one that people use. And there's agencies, reaching out to model agencies. A lot of times they'll have new people on their roster who need a little practice, want a little help. You can definitely do that. And also, people in your community. So do you have a relationship with the barista at your favorite coffee shop? That person who works at the grocery store you always go to who has a cool look. You know, approach them. Sometimes you find the best models just by finding somebody who works in the field. So right here is three examples. Actual model, paid to do a photo shoot. A stock shoot, but it was also kind of self promotion stuff. A friend of a friend who is a real nurse, like actual, genuine nurse, that's her get-up that she wears to work. Had her and her husband who is also a nurse, came into the studio. And it was just a matter of hey, bring your scrubs that you wear, do your hair nice, and we'll just play around and get some pictures. A friend whose family owns a dairy. So had that access, was able to go out to a dairy and take some more kind of stylized pictures, but again, just a friend, family friend. So there's always, always be looking out for people. I'm not saying walk down the street and you see someone pretty that you like and hey, can I take your picture. Don't actually need to do that, but you know, talk to people, build relationships and tell people you're a photographer. And you'll be surprised at how many people are actually, you know, kind of like, all right, that sounds cool, let's give it a try. If you have just kind of an ongoing conversation with them. And there still are tons of people out there who want to model. They just like to be in front of the camera. I'm sure all of us would rather be on the other side of the camera, that's why we're photographers. All right, finding the location. So locations can be anywhere. So any time you travel, there's a picture to be made. Has anybody ever been there? Coast of Mexico. You can like swim underneath and the pop back up into this round, it was not too fun to get there with a camera. And there's always tourists in there, so I had to wait a long time to get just two people sitting there on the beach and everybody else out of it. I think I did remove one person. But so locations are everywhere. You don't have to go find this crazy, exotic location and take a stock picture by any means. You can take a stock picture in your living room with your family opening pictures on Christmas. Like there's anywhere, anywhere can be a location. So keep that in mind as you travel around, as you walk around in your neighborhood. You know, there might be that little cafe on the corner, now the sun's finally coming out in Seattle, you can do just a little quick, you know, kind of lifestyle shoot, or have a couple of friends enjoying coffee, or just one of your friends, you know, laptop there and it's got the kind of hip, modern look. That can easily be turned into a location. And then when you're finding these locations, always be prepared. Always keep in mind of the elements. So when you're traveling, I like to look at sunrise and sunset, always keep that in mind. Keep an eye out for weather. Because you can always take a picture, but if you're prepared and you know what the weather is, you know what time the sun will be rising and setting, all of that just helps you produce and prepare and be ready for it. So locations, you can go into the studio. This is one of those studio set-ups. Maybe you do want to spend a little money on something that's a little more stylized that has been requested. So go ahead and get props. Load up the back of your car with a bunch of props. Go into a studio. If you have an empty space, a studio space, then you can set this up. You get even more control when you do this. You can set it up, you know, next to a window, away from a window. You can have 360 access to get complete freedom. So it's kind of the best way to do it, but it also costs more money and it requires more production. So make those decisions. You can also find friends that are designers. This is their studio. I did nothing. I just walked in there and it looks that awesome because they're designers, and that's what they do. Architects are also kind of like that, you know. You can find a friend who works in a really clean space and just go in there and use that space as the location to work with. And then of course there's travel. Travel is the easiest. I know for me, I know for a lot of people. Travel, and whenever you go to a new destination, you're seeing something for the first time and it excites you. You're just like wow, this place is so great. I want to take pictures of it. Like you're just already in the picture taking mood. So when you go to a new location and see something new, try to plan ahead so, you know, bring a couple people with you and say hey, wear this, wear these neutral tones. Here's this cool, bright red backpack. I'll have one of you hold a camera. Like style it up a little bit. You don't need to get over-produced, but you know, think about that before you go out there. If went out there and they were both wearing all black with logos on it, it just wouldn't, it wouldn't quite be the same picture. So when I travel I always kind of prepare myself. I get kind of an idea of maybe what I want to do and I'll have, you know, clothing, prop stuff, available with me at all times for this. So locations are everywhere. The next thing we'll do is finding the subject. And so I think the subject, this goes back a little bit to those trend reports and getting that brief. So finding the subject is more of the finding the idea and what you want to shoot. Having kind of a concept, almost, to it. So this picture was one that I took back in January. Snowboarding is kind of my hobby. I like to do that, not the best at it or anything, just like to be on the mountain. So I got up early one morning. It was when it was super, super cold and just crisp. And I knew the skies were gonna be really, really blue when you get that cold, cold weather. Living on the East Coast you learn that. When it's like negative ten degrees, it's usually like the crispest, brightest blue skies. So I got up early. I drove up to Steven's Pass, a ski resort here, in the morning, just by myself. And I knew that if I got there right at sunrise I could hop on the first lifts and just kind of go up. I had really pretty light. The place was just kind of open. And just took pictures. You know, they're good, but it got me out there. It got me just kind of seeing new things and I just, you know, there's always an excuse to get out and go and take pictures. And I got to snowboard for half a day. So finding subjects. Another thing too is reach out in your neighborhood. Find things. This was a beekeeper that I reached out to. Hung out with him, took pictures of him. This was one of his beekeepers. She's super adorable and has her own beehive in her backyard. So took some pictures of her. She was great, asked her mom to sign a model release. They were all fine with it. And that's a picture that sold, it's a good image. So you know, always be kind of reaching out in your neighborhood and around you, with your friends. And I think another one that's really important is a personal project. You can turn a personal project into stock, also. And a lot of times if you have a personal project and you do get in with one of these agencies, you can run that by them, or like in my case, for the next one here, this was an idea that was given to me by Jen, and they needed, and wanted, older, kind of this golden generation, portraits. When I came back here to Seattle, my grandparents lived here. I spent my summers up here with my grandparents who retired in the Northwest. So when I came back here, I got to spend a few years with them toward the end of their life. And it was amazing. They kind of really transferred me from being this crazy, young wild artist in New York, and I'd come back to Seattle and spent time with my grandparents and kind of start a family and a new life. She approached me with this as one of the first projects. And I thought, all right. Going out and taking pictures of old people, that doesn't sound that easy. It's probably not the easiest thing to do. So I really got kind of inspired by it and went out and started taking pictures of a whole bunch of old people and talking to them. And it's been incredibly rewarding and I'm still working on this project. I'm still taking pictures of these old people. So personal projects are always good, and they can work both ways. Another thing you can do is maybe there's a request for powerful women, business portraits. You can always ask around and find people. These are three ladies that work here. So that was about a year ago. Had them come into the studio and took some of those. Again, kind of a project for the agency.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

2017 Gallery Stock Trend Report
Sample Model Release
Sample Property Release
Stock Agencies List

Ratings and Reviews

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

Student Work