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Shooting for Stock Photography

Lesson 17 of 19

Shoot: Working with a Model, Wardrobe and Direction

Geo Rittenmyer

Shooting for Stock Photography

Geo Rittenmyer

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Lesson Info

17. Shoot: Working with a Model, Wardrobe and Direction

Lesson Info

Shoot: Working with a Model, Wardrobe and Direction

The next one is a little bit longer video. It's working with a model, so let's enjoy that one. All right, so we're out here now with our model Tatiana. Tatiana is a part-time model, full-time paralegal. So I talked to Tatiana, told her what we were doing, described the shoot a little bit to her. She, of course, is pretty good about knowing what to wear from the description. I brought a couple things, she brought some options. This is what we're going with. It's a little chilly out here, it's a little cloudy, so we're gonna start with the rain jacket on for the run. We did three quarter pants here, since it is cool, didn't want to go with full running shorts. But having a little bit of break there in the leg, so it's not full pants will help, gives a little more dimension to the model. Everything here is completely neutral, no big logos. You might notice some tape, just extra safe. I would take the brand out in post anyways, this can save you some time. Also, same with the shoes, just c...

over up the big white logos that were standing out, just makes the post process a little easier too. So I have, I've got two longer lenses here. For this stretching, this warming up stuff, the model is gonna be pretty close to this background. I'm gonna go ahead and go with longer lenses. I'm gonna shoot more wide open, that way I can put a little background out of focus. The stretching stuff, we'll see how it looks. I might go to a wide angle and go up closer, but I'm not too concerned with this, this is more, what they call in the video world B roll, this is more, kind of, smaller little vignettes of what's happening. I have a 135 mm lens on this camera, and then I've got your standard 50 mm lens. So I'm gonna go ahead and start directing Tatiana a little bit here, and get my exposures and everything set. So for this one, I'm gonna want to, I'm gonna see my exposure. I'm gonna shoot a little bit fast, maybe four hundredth of a second or so. So I'm gonna go ahead and shoot f2, four hundredth of a second. And then I'm gonna take my ISO to, let's go to 800. (shutter clicks) Let's take it down, we'll go to 500. (shutter clicks) So, yeah, it's looking good for exposure. Set the other camera. I'm going to go ahead and start with that exact same exposure on this camera. (shutter clicks) That looks pretty good. So I'm just gonna, kinda come around here. I think for this first one, I'm gonna go ahead and crop into her a little bit, kinda put the focus on her hands and her shoe. (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) So, go ahead and reach out with both hands. Maybe actually untie your shoe, and then tie it. (shutter clicks) Actually I'm gonna come in a little bit closer. (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) So with these, I'm cropping right into (shutter clicks) right into her head, and into the shoe a little bit. I'm not getting a big wide one, these are more detail shots, so. Go ahead and, yeah, tie your shoe one more time. (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) So I'm shooting (shutter clicks) vertical, horizontal, I'm going (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) full body, (shutter clicks) I'm cropping right up into her. As I've said, just shoot everything. There's nothing that you shouldn't shoot. Sometimes, you know, just cropping a person right in half ends up looking cool, and is something different, in a different view. So don't be afraid to just get into any, any different angle, high, low, cut the person in half, just the top of their head, just, you know, be different, be creative, don't feel like you are having to shoot this for anybody else except yourself. And it's a great learning experience. When you go back and look at it, you'll see what I mean. There'll be different things, it'll give you ideas for different shoots. You're not having to, you know, satisfy a client, or somebody who has one exact look. It's kind of up to you to just, have fun and find different views. So I'm gonna have her tie her shoe one more time. I'm gonna shoot some of this a little wider, 50 mm lens. You can go ahead and tie your shoe Tatiana. (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) So like this, I'm actually gonna go ahead and get all the way down here (shutter clicks) in the grass. (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) The light's really nice right now too. (shutter clicks) So I'm also gonna come over here and I'm gonna stand up on the bench and have her go ahead and reach down and tie your shoe. (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) So this is a completely different, higher viewpoint. (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) So go ahead and, let's have you just stretch out. So maybe put your heel so it's up on the, and then point your toe kinda up. Yeah, there you go. (shutter clicks) Good. (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) Yeah, (shutter clicks) maybe reach with both hands. There you go. (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) Can you grab the top of your foot and like kinda pull back on it almost? Like those fingernails on the shoe. (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) That's good. (shutter clicks) Go ahead and use both hands. There you go. (shutter clicks) And then, (shutter clicks) so look down at your hands, and then just give a little bit of, a little bit of a smile. Just like, it's a beautiful morning and you're getting your exercise. All right. Little bit of a smile, good. (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) So this is framed full body here. I'm gonna do the same thing, I'm gonna go back up a little bit, so I can go horizontal and have her do the same thing, just kinda reach down and stretch out. (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) And I'm gonna switch to the longer lens real quick and just see what we have here. (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) So I'm just gonna grab a quick detail. I'm gonna have her reach down and stretch again. For this one, I'm just getting kind of a cool picture of her fingernails (shutter clicks) stretching out. (shutter clicks) Go ahead and put your hands around kind of the side of it and just actually like grip. Just a little slippery. (shutter clicks) Yeah, that's good. (shutter clicks) I'm actually gonna get even lower here and see if maybe I can... (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) So do you wanna stretch a little bit before you run down the trail? Sure. Yeah, so, I'm gonna go ahead and let her stretch. I'm just gonna kind of be more of a fly on the wall for this, let her actually do her thing. I'll walk around and grab a couple shots. Sometimes these candid moments of the model actually warming up or, you know, getting ready, you can find little things in it that actually look good. (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) Tatiana is all ready to run. So we're gonna go back over to where that trail area is that we saw over here. And have her do some trail running over there. Alright, so I'm gonna give Tatiana some direction here. We're gonna have her run up and down these stairs up here. So, have you go up to the top of the stairs, stop there and that's where you'll start. And then we'll have you run down. You don't need to run fast, because it's not videos, it's a still shoot. So the slower you run, it makes it easier, but don't run too slow that it doesn't look natural. Okay. So no like big exaggerated slow mo run. But just kind of a comfortable pace, you don't really need to push yourself. And for this one, we're gonna stay with this look that we put on initially. We might take the rain jacket off and do a couple without it. I think we'll keep the hair tied back. It looks good, so we'll go ahead and get started. I'm gonna head back this way, where we started to scout earlier. I'm gonna start with the long lenses. I've got 135 mm lens on this camera, this is 1DX, kind of a sports camera, it shoots faster. So I've got the longer lens on that one, probably a little safer to put a longer lens on that one. That way you get stuff, the focus is a little better, and it's a little more stable for shutter speed. And I'm gonna switch to this body. I'm gonna put a wider lens, an 85 mm. This camera is a little slower, but it also has a higher megapixel, which is better for the stuff that's a little looser, a little wider on this camera so I got a little more room to play with crop and crop in, where the smaller megapixel has longer lens, because you're probably not going to crop as much on something that you're already cropping into with a long lens. Go ahead and throw this 50 back in my pocket. And I'm gonna start with a 135. We got a little sun coming out here now, so it's actually pretty nice. I'm gonna go ahead and shoot, this lens will open up all the way to f2. I'm not gonna shoot at f2, I'm gonna shoot at, I'm gonna go two eight. And I want to shoot fast and make sure this stuff is, there's no motion in it. So I'm gonna shoot at, I'm gonna try, shoot about 640, 500 will probably be the slowest I'll want to go, five hundredth of a second. So the light is changing. I'm gonna play with my ISO here to set my exposure, since the ISO range I'm at now is 500 up to 1600. I have no problem going up to for these outdoor action stuff. It'll be a little grainier, but that's fine, that's the look that I'll go for in this anyways. I may even add a little bit more in post. But I want to make sure that I get a picture where the motion is frozen and it looks good before I worry about, you know, real high quality grain size. So, you can go ahead and go. (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) So I'm shooting her the whole time she's (shutter clicks) running up there. (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) So I'm gonna wait for her to get in this one spot when she's coming down that looks the best, just right when she clears the tree here. (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) So that's pretty good. (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) So let's do the same thing, and then when you're coming down, go ahead and look, like, exaggerate it even more, so go ahead and look really down at the ground, and maybe even if you just kinda kick your legs up a little higher. Okay. Just on the way down, it gives it more of a feeling, so that you are, kinda more at the end of your run. And you are a little tired and you're like, really kinda concentrating on the ground, yeah. (chuckles) Yeah, so we'll go ahead and do that. I'm gonna shoot that with the same lens that I just shot this one with, same thing. So you can go ahead and start. And then just, when you hit about the sign, just when you go up, just pick up the pace just a little bit, just right up those stairs. And then as soon as you get up to almost to the top, you can go ahead and just slow down. There's actually a tree branch that's cutting into you up there, so I'm not getting a picture up there. Okay. So go ahead. (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) Ok, so this one I'm gonna go ahead and frame up. I'm going to change my focus point to go to the right. (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) That's pretty good. I like those. I think I'm gonna try something else. I'm gonna go ahead and get a little closer, the 85 mm lens. I'm gonna stop down a little bit, I'm gonna shoot f4 on this one. It's a little safer than shooting wide open, and it won't change the effect too much. For a lot of this stock stuff, you don't need it to be that super shallow depth of field that real beautiful wedding portrait type look. This is more like real world, want you to feel like you're really in the space and you're out there running with them. F4 is probably a good place to start for this one. So Tatiana, you ready? Yes. All right go ahead. (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) (crow caws) All right, so, I just switched to wide angle lens. I mentioned before, I like just keeping that 17 to that I was scouting with on. I'm gonna shoot some wider stuff. So I'm gonna have her run these stairs again, kinda do a similar thing. But I'm gonna get up close and have her run right by with a wider angle lens, give you that feeling of, you know, like being there that maybe you're running with her. So I'm gonna go ahead and have her go up and down these stairs a couple times. I'm gonna start right in front of the stairs, see how that looks. And then I'll probably stand up, kind of off to the side of the stairs, and have her run past me for a couple. I'm gonna keep everything about the same, as far as aperture and exposure, shooting f4, five hundredth, eight hundredth of a second or so, I've got my ISO at 640. It's all just kinda safe and solid look. So Tatiana, go ahead and have you just go up, go around until you're gone, and then just wait a second and I'll say go, and then run back down. For this first take, don't look at camera, just kinda look down more at your feet. And have a little like determined look. Okay. Kind of like you're, yeah, into the run, you're really concentrating. So we'll go ahead and start that. Ready? Yeah, go ahead. (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) I'm gonna go ahead and take this one all the way up to 40 mm here, and then I'll probably zoom out as she gets right into camera. But right now, I'm just framing it with, I'm framing it with just the full stairs, actually about 35 mm. Okay go ahead. (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) That looks pretty good. I'm just gonna try one more thing. I'm gonna go ahead and stand off the trail over here on the other side. And have her come down, and I'm gonna shoot as she's passing me. So I'm gonna get a little more of, kinda, the back of her, side view. Sometimes having pictures of the back of people, sides of people, is really good for stock. People like to use stuff where you don't actually, necessarily see the person, or your focus on the person, it's more about being there, more about the environment. So just a little more, kind of generic in a good way, picture makes it a little more, more options for the client, whoever's using this, to put their own text, their own feel to it, and it not be so focused on that person in the picture. So shooting from behind, shooting from the side, not showing faces is something you need to do, and always think about doing too. So I'm gonna come up this way, and then Tatiana, do the exact same thing. Go ahead and run up to the top of this one, and then run right past me. Okay. (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) Yeah, um those are pretty cool. I'm gonna do that one more time. I really like this side view of her, right when she's passing, it's kind of a unique, cool picture, kinda feels like you are right there with her running, you're running side by side with her. So go ahead, and have her do the exact same thing. So, go. (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) Now we're gonna try to get more of a, little more lifestyle-type shoot. Tatiana's playing the part of a hip Millennial who's traveling, taking some pictures on her 35 mm black and white film. I'm going to try and just shoot mostly with the 50 mm. Just a normal lens gives you kind of a normal perspective here. I have a wide angle lens with me, in case I want to get some variation there. So I'm gonna go ahead and start right over here. I'm gonna have Tatiana go over here and, I'm actually gonna have her stand up on this bench and look out to the ocean. This one? Yep, you feel comfortable standing up on that? I think we're good. Okay. (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) Yeah, that's pretty cool. (shutter clicks) So let's have you pull this hair, your hair out from underneath the strap, and just let that wonderful hair just flow in the wind. And then turn this way, just your body a tiny bit more, there you go, yep. I'm taking a picture? Yep, go ahead and pretend you're taking a picture. (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) So these are pretty nice, the lights' nice here. (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) And then Tatiana, go ahead and push your hair back behind you again, the hair on both sides. Yeah, that one too. Perfect. (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) Good. (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) I'm just moving around a little bit (shutter clicks) just some slightly different framing. Go ahead and turn your body a little more to your left, yeah about there, there you go. And do the same thing (shutter clicks) yeah just kinda bring the camera up and then (shutter clicks) put it down (shutter clicks) look out there. (shutter clicks) The expression's good. So just going a little higher or lower, I'm able to change the horizon line, (shutter clicks) place it in different parts. (shutter clicks) The color in this one (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) is nice, it's a lot even color, so if somebody does want to lay text into this image, they'll have a nice flat, even area, it's not a lot of light and dark, it's all kind of midtones. (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) Okay, so I'm gonna go ahead and keep camera setting right where it is, and I'm gonna have her lose this cool vintage one and I'm gonna have her grab, you have your phone? Perfect. Excellent. I'm gonna have her kind of taking a, let's pretend you're doing a panorama. So hold it the other way, vertically. Oh, this way? Yeah, and then, yeah, perfect just like that, looking out there. (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) So this is the POV stuff. I'm going to right over (shutter clicks) her shoulder, (shutter clicks) some focus on the phone, (shutter clicks) on her. (shutter clicks) So for this one, got all this green area around and it'd be cool to have a helicopter or a drone or something, don't have that, so to have a tripod that travel with all the time, light stand, mono pot, anything works. I've got a wide angle lens, I'm just gonna go ahead and, I'm shooting f8, so I'll have more range in focus. So I'm just gonna kind of focus about where I'm gonna put it up in the air. Looks pretty good. I've got it on self timer. And I'm gonna go ahead and hit that self timer. And I'm gonna hold this out and up and above. (shutter clicks) So, it's trial and error. That's actually pretty good, pretty cool. I'm gonna take another one, I'm gonna come around this way a little more. I'm gonna hold it down just a little bit more. (shutter clicks) I'm gonna give it one more try. I need to hold it down just a little bit more. (shutter clicks) Yeah, there we go. So it's a cool overhead picture, a lot of negative space around her, and I didn't have to get in a helicopter, have my drone out here, I don't actually have a drone, or get on a ladder, so it's another technique from, for trying to get, you know, overhead shots. You know, just always be trying different things. So the overhead one is a really good workout, (laughs) holding the camera up like that, really feel it. So any questions there? Quick question from over here, just wanna sort of reiterate, we of course, because we're here at CreativeLive, we hired a professional model for you to work with, but really people can use family, use friends for these kind of things, to be very authentic, and you often use your lovely wife for images, right? Yeah. Use what's around you for sure. Tatiana is a part-time model, she's not a full-time model. And she just kinda picks up modeling gigs here and there. So she's someone that I would definitely reach out to in the future to use. She's not with an agency, so makes it a little easier. But yeah, use your family members, friends, whoever's around you for sure. What are some best practices when you're talking with models, to make them feel comfortable, especially if they're family members, if you feel like they're being a little bit too stiff or nonresponsive. That is one of the drawbacks for shooting family members, is that they sometimes are not very good in front of the camera. So if it's a family member, you know what they can and can't do usually, so you gotta kinda, you can help direct them, and try different things. I know sometimes I'll kinda goof around and have, you know, family member make a whole bunch of different facial expressions and kinda act goofy. And then sometimes you'll get moments out of that that are a little more naturally candid, cause a lot of times people just kind of freeze up. But pretty much anyone can do this. Anybody can turn around and take a good, kind of, behind picture. And then also, if you have a family member who's maybe not the best at posing, maybe they're really good at doing something like running, or some sort of activity. So go ahead and use them in a different area, something like that.

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