Photo Tripping America

Shooting Stock Photos Suggestions #4

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Once you understand the camera settings that most stock agencies require, you can jump into shooting images specifically created for those agencies. Today we’ll cover some more suggestions on what types of photos are popular with stock photography companies so that you can get more practice in “shooting stock.”



Many times I’ve found myself jealous of graphics artists who make a pretty good living just creating backgrounds to sell on stock photo agency websites.  Then it dawned on me that I can take pictures that can be used as interesting backgrounds for buyers, as well.  I particularly like finding patterns in nature, in architecture and elsewhere for my inspiration.


Patterns can easily be found in almost anything if you learn to look at landscapes, items and even cars a little differently.  Take your two index fingers and two thumbs, touch them together – right index to left thumb to left index to right thumb – to create a box.  Look through it at any item within your view range right now.  Congratulations!  You’ve just learned how to see parts of things.


Here’s a great example:  I went to a fly-in at an army base a few years ago.  It was a terrific opportunity to get close to aircraft we as civilians wouldn’t normally have access to, so I took lots of shots of airplanes, helicopters and tanks.  But guess what sold more than any of the other shots combined?  Rivets…


United States Army Background of Metal Siding with Rivets - Photo Tripping America

The Big Picture – not one sale

Background of Metal Siding with Rivets - Photo Tripping America

The Little Picture – everyone’s favorite!


Seems buyers wanted an interesting background with a recognizable pattern, not the side of a helicopter!


Patterns give us humans a sense of organization.  They draw our eye to something, and make us feel a little safer, knowing everything repeats itself, even if it’s interrupted somewhere along the line, like the wind blowing a few of these flags in a different direction:

Field Full of Waving American Flags - Photo Tripping America

We still think we know which way they will all blow eventually, and that’s comforting to our eyes and our intellect.  Below are several examples of patterns you will find all around you.


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Your homework for this week is to (1) shoot a series of images reflecting the patterns you find in nature, (2) shoot a series of images reflecting the patterns you find in man made items, and (3) shoot a series of images reflecting patterns that are interrupted.


As you continue to build your image portfolio, I think you’ll find that it will become easier and easier to shoot all of the suggestions I’ve made thus far.  Soon we’ll venture into the mechanics of preparing your images for submission to stock photo agencies.  But until then, let’s move on to Shooting Stock Photo Suggestions #5 for more ideas of subject matter to shoot!


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