Skip to main content

Producing Stock

Lesson 45 from: The Outdoor Enthusiast's Guide to Photography & Motion

Ian Shive

buy this class


Sale Ends Soon!

starting under


Unlock this classplus 2200+ more >

Lesson Info

45. Producing Stock


Class Trailer

Bootcamp Introduction


Storytelling with Stills and Motion Overview


Elements of a Well-told Story


Storytelling in Motion


Choosing the Best Gear for Your Outdoor Project


Gear for Drones


Gear for Motion


Inside Ian's Gear Bag


General Advice for Preparation


Virtual Scouting




Permits and Permission


Model and Property Releases


Health and Fitness




Location Scouting Overview


Location Scouting in the North Cascades


Drone Introduction


Drone Safety


What Kind of Drone Should I Buy?


FAA Part 107 Test: How to Prepare


Telling a Story With a Drone


Drone Camera, Lenses and Movements


Selling Drone Footage


Why Does a Photographer Need Motion?


Establish the End User


Identify Your Audience


Build a Production Plan


Create the Story Structure


The Shooting Script


Production Quality


Composition for Stills


Composition for Stills: Landscape


Composition for Stills: Telephoto Lens


Composition for Stills: Macro Lens


Techniques for Capturing Motion in the Field


Lenses and Filters for Outdoor Photography


Capturing Landscapes - Part 1


Capturing Landscapes - Part 2


Capturing Movement in Stills


Shooting Water, Sky and Panorama


Understanding Stock


Editorial vs Commerical


Pricing Stock


Producing Stock


Shooting for Social Media vs Stock


Choosing an Agency


Assignments and Capturing Stock


Stock Photography Market


Create A Style Guide


Stock Shoot Analysis


Workflow for Selecting Final Stills


Initial Editing in Adobe Bridge


Reviewing and Selecting Motion Footage


Keeping Track of Your Story Ideas


Script and Story Structure Evolution


Editing to the Content


Music as a Character


Business Diversification


Business Strategy


Pillars of Revenue




Partnerships and Brand Strategy


Galleries and Fine Art




The Future of Photography


Q&A And Critique


Lesson Info

Producing Stock

producing stock versus capturing it spontaneously. So in the other class of actually capturing stock, I'm going to show you produced set. We're going to an analysis on what it is to produce both a still in motion stock photography set. But there a lot of things that you really need to consider when thinking about stock photography and how you're going to go on build the library. One of the big questions I get Ah, and you might be thinking in your head is how many images do I need to make money? Well, that's tough. I've seen people upload one image exceptionally rare and sell it for a lot of money Not gonna happen. Don't count on that. If I've already told you that there are 33 billion images, I think there's actually closer to 40 now in the marketplace. One image among 40 billion to sell very well. It's like playing the lottery. The more tickets you buy, the more chance they're going to win. So think of it like that. The more images you have in the marketplace, the better the chance of...

your performance. I'm gonna talk about that in the sense of diversity but that's something that you want to remember. But first you have to figure out How do I get those numbers to begin with? And the question is whether you should produce and go out and shoot images for the purpose of selling in the stock. Or should you just be spontaneous and walk around with your camera around your shoulder and wait for something to strike you personally, walking around waiting for something to strike you, I think is a little more fun. I love going into a city and looking for that opportunity. The thing is, the amount of time you invest, you have to understand you're going to get a lot less return. But that doesn't matter. If you're enjoying yourself and that's your style, then that's fine. But if you produce stock and you say over the next 48 hours, one of these three models will be in this camp site, we've already got everybody permanent and everybody model released and everything's done and you're gonna crank out two or 300 images. It's not a bad way to go. I'm gonna show you how we did that and what our approach was on that and how we could improve on it, too. Um, so you have to decide which is more for you. It's definitely different than shooting for yourself to produce the shoot. Spahn stain. Spontaneous stock has other pros, which I will mention, which is the authenticity factor. Chances are if you're walking somewhere and you see people, you have that chance of authenticity. The downside is, or you can feel to get them to sign a model release. So you need to think of how that fits into things. Producing stock has its pros and cons, but if done right, obviously could yield the best results most consistently. Obviously, of course, everything's released, paperwork is done, and you could just go shoot liberally and never worry about whether you're gonna have to worry again. Oh, excuse me, sir. Would you mind signing this legal document? I mean, that's no fun Who wants to do that, But that's what it takes. So what sells? I hear that all the time. Yeah, answer is authenticity cells. When people say, What do you need? I'm going toe Washington. I'm going to Seattle. What do you need? If well, I need authenticity and the rest is up to you. Take a look at what's going on in the marketplace to know the answer to that. But authenticity is key because it it's what people relate. Teoh, when you see a fake stock shot somewhere, like these horrible ones I saw somewhere I was out and I remember walking around town, I saw something. A window like that is so staged and it just takes you out of it. People want Teoh use images that represent their brand or tell a story because the rial so you really want to be authentic. Spontaneous shoots also yield great results for that very reason. That's why some of the best stock shoots about getting your friends together. You're doing outdoor photography. Go camping. Have everyone sign releases before you go and then just shoot while you're out. And then when everybody's out having fun and making dinner and doing whatever going for a hike, you're gonna be getting the real action. That's kind of environment you want to set yourself up for. Crowded marketplace means you've got to set yourself apart. Um, a crowded marketplace mean you have to set yourself apart. Uh, you have to. I mean, you have to separate yourself out. As I said, billions of images out there you got to figure out to do it. Authenticity is the way to do it very hard to find authentic images, hard to find people who know what it is they're shooting. Know your subject matter, right? This is a big one. Item number three. Use people who actually do what it is you're asking them to do. Don't have somebody who has never gone on a run before. I go on a run and photograph them and expected to look good. Don't don't have somebody to go do a downward dog yoga pose in a park who's never done yoga before, right? You wouldn't ask back from people and expect it to be authentic. It sounds a common sense. We get images all the time like this all the time, and they all get rejected because you can tell that person has never been on an outdoor trail in their life. Don't have someone who has never gone on a run before doing wrong shit, right? I've rarely produced most shoots, but these days I'm considering is a better, stronger path forward. I will tell you. Why? Why I like producing right now is not just the free and clear. It's getting more and more complicated because of litigation and legal wrangling to produce safe images, liability, safe images, whether you're in a national park or out on a location, you want to have both the property and the model, and it gets very, very complicated. Is even things called trade dress were like a certain style of something Will be that brands protected. Trademark. Um, you know, there's there certain arches that are trademarked. There are things like the Hollywood sign that you cannot have in an image and sell it without getting prior written permission and paying a fee. There are a lot of different protected elements, and so you want to really make sure you understand what those are producing. A shoot lousy to control the environment has the amount lower, largest amount of protection. Is it outdoor photographer? For the most part, you know you're working on trails, you're in the back country, you're doing that kind of thing. Or maybe and, you know, somewhere in a campground and drove right up. You have an RV and you own it. You're gonna be pretty good things. You want to work, Watch out for logos and that kind of stuff. We'll keep talking about that in a second. Things to keep in mind create authentic moments, set up environments that are conducive to shooting, such as going out with a group of friends, right. Find new ways to tell the same stories. And this is people often say, Oh, you already have everything. What am I gonna shoot? You know what am I gonna dio? Um, you know, I don't know who needs the Eiffel Tower again. Okay, Have any pictures of the Eiffel Tower, the Golden Gate Bridge? Going a bridge might be an exception to this rule of about to say, but because there are so many pictures. But how many pictures of the Golden Gate Bridge do you see in print? How many dcm in ads? Huns. Everybody who writes about a trip to San Francisco runs a photo of the Golden Gate Bridge. It wouldn't be an article with it, which means the demand is also higher. And people don't want to keep buying the same image over and over and over. Yet I've seen companies by the same location, the same lake were overpass or whatever scenic viewpoint repeatedly because it's just not the same frame they bought last time. So just because something's been done doesn't mean you shouldn't do it again. But you should try and push yourself to go a little further, a little different, little deeper. Try and find new ways to tell the same stories. That's key. Real world, right? Riel worlds. That's really mean. Keep it. Really? Don't fake it if you can avoid it. Don't have fake models. Don't have fake locations, you know? I mean, if you're gonna produce it, just be open to the fact that it might come off as being canned. And so you want to try and be really careful of that. But, you know, inevitably, there's still a market for the fake stuff, too. I won't like. Buyers are sophisticated. They want it fast and they want it right. Um, sophistication is really out of the fact that most places like our agency being specialized. Our special I, especially in print magazines, you know, we work with a lot of magazines, like even like sunset, like they know exactly what their style is, what look, they're going for who their audience is. You know, they want to go to pull the images, license them and move on. They're very, very busy. You know, lots of publications these days have relatively small teams working very, very hard to put those things together. Ease of use, not having a hassle. And finding with any quickly and having it be authentic is very important. Avoid posing people. Um, you know, you want to try and guide them to do something like, Oh, what was that over there versus saying, Hey, can you look over there, Try and work through that a little bit? Income is going to be derived on the diversity of your subject matter. So what I mean by that is you want to be specialized, but you want to break up and have your subject matter be diverse, too. So you start with 100 images of Let's call it a national park. What's called Zion National Park. You start with 100 images there, the Onley sales opportunities you're gonna make our when stories of Zion National Park are written. That's it. That's good. And if you have a really good body of work would say, You have 500 images design, you've covered every trail, every scenic view and all. I think they have basically three seasons there, Right, four seasons. I would say That's where you're at you as comprehensive as possible for that one place. Then you need to think about how to diversify. That means you need another location, go to Yellowstone or go to another park or go to another location and do the same thing there. Now, every time somebody writes about that, you have a second opportunity. An archive of 100 images that are each from 100 different destinations will do better than an archive, more than likely of 100 images from the same location. Because you have 100 chances that those stories will be written versus one chance that a story will be written now, that's not a hard and fast rule. There's always exceptions, but generally speaking, that's what I've seen. And that's why my archive of images does well for me is because they're basically from 3000 different places. I have very little redundancy in my archive. I've been very selective to pick no more than maybe a dozen images from a single location. Unless maybe I've been photographing the channel. Lines have been going for 20 years. Almost. I might have a lot of images from there, Um, but that's why my archive does very well for me. It performs very well for that reason, so diversity in his amount of subject matters very important. There's other kinds of diversity. It's not just location, but social diversity. Ethnicity, gender, age, right. There's a lot of social diversity in there. I can tell you we're not seeing these things at our agency, and a lot of other agencies aren't either. They're not seeing ethnic diversity. They're not seeing gender diversity. They're not seeing social diversity, right? I mean, there's a lot of different ways of not seeing senior citizens. Oh, they're all doors wide open in the outdoor marketplace. I would love to see a great body of work that shows that kind of diversity. So that's the stuff that'll set you apart. And there's a great opportunities. I'm telling everyone right now. So your question, when you're licensing for commercial creative, are you also licensing the right to modify and make derivatives and have at agencies at your work and do their own filter process. Yes, you are. How do you feel about that? How do I feel about that? Um, I've deer there. No, um, you know, I'm selling my work and it's so competitive. I mean, they can't modify your work in a defamatory way. Stand arised family, you know, defamed those subjects that matter in at whatever. But look at my fan of it. No, I prepped my images to go out to marketplace the way I want them. I don't want them crop modified, filtered at the same time. There styles, there's changes. There's layouts that need to be fit in. There's a lot of other considerations in a at the end of the day, you know, I'm not looking at if I if I'm so concerned about art than I should be only hanging in a gallery and say, Take it as it is. But I'm also looking at it from a business perspective, and the truth is, it's a hard business to make money in, and so I'm grateful that they're willing to select my image. I'm loose, but it's a personal decision that everybody has to make. Um, so I'm a little more open to it, but it's a good question. But when you go with the stock agency, I mean, I don't want to say all are like this, but I would be very surprised to find an agency that does not have a clause that says they your image can be modified provided it's not, Of course, you know, reflecting poorly on the subject matter. Um, the style of images is constantly evolving. Um, you must be an observer, not just as a photographer, but as a business person. You shouldn't be an observer. I would go even further than to say, as a business person, but also has as a photo editor. You yourself is a photographer. Almost have to be like a photo editor. I don't consider myself a good photographer. I get so myself, a great editor. I think I can curate my own work very, very well. I can get, go out and shoot 400 images that are not the best and come back and still come up with maybe one or two, and those were the only two you ever see. You have to be brutally honest on that and so you have to be honest about that, but also to look at the style. And editor looks at the style which trending what kind of magazines are picking up traction. There's a lot of specialized magazines out there these days to that are like they produced 500 Onley 4000 and they're like little pieces of art. There's a lot of really interesting opportunities out there. Um, you really want to pay attention to that kind of stuff? Lifestyle imagery is more important than ever before. We do better selling images of people putting on their running shoes, and we do of them running. That's lifestyle. We sell more images of people having a beer after going skiing. Then we do of them skiing, sitting in the lodge, all those things, life style. Everything that surrounds the activity does better often than the activity itself. So lifestyle injuries important make it generic. I'll talk about that. Post production techniques are important. Sales will be careful not to chase fleeting trends. You mentioned the filters thing. Avoid over processing toe look like some cheesy filter. Just go with it as a normal process. But if you're gonna go with some other style really own it. I mean, build an entire library that looks like it. Um, I definitely see a shift in color balance. And the way people are processing images, I don't hate it. We're seeing a shift in the agency. Our own images that were more vibrant, color based are becoming a little more stylized. It's a big commitment to do that, because six months from now, I can go away. You won't avoid things, you know, Um, that could be a little too to filtered.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase


Ratings and Reviews


Ian was an amazing instructor.; very fun, enthusiastic, encouraging, and comprehensive. I hope to be able to return as an audience member for another of his classes. It is a privilege and a gift to have access via Creative Live to such a wealth of expertise. Thank you!

Cindee Still

Ian Shive is a dynamic speaker with a wealth of knowledge he is willing to share. He has had a magical path that led to his success. He touches on so many aspects of making, selling and creating images as well as how to market them and make an income from your work. It is so much fun to be part of the studio audience. The Creative Live staff are always so warm and friendly and they feed you like your on a cruise ship! Wonderful experience.


What a great class this has been. Thank you Ian Shive and Creative Live! Recently retired, I have set out to learn everything I can about photography and pursue this passion to capture the beauty in the outdoors. Creative Live has served as an amazing educational platform to help me learn everything from how to use my camera, the fundamental technicals, and learn about software and tools. This class brought it all together. At the end of this class my approach to photography and my images are different. Ian shares so much valuable knowledge that will change the way you go about taking a picture; from scouting a location, to thinking through the story and adding elements to an image to evoke an emotional response. My personal growth has been significant and I have changed to the way I approach creating an image from an Outdoor Landscape to an Outdoor Experience. Loved every minute of it, sad the class is over.

Student Work