Photo Tripping America

Shooting Stock Photos Suggestions #5

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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.”


Tell A Story

In advertising a sure way to make a sale is to tell a story, and the mantra is the same when capturing images that will perform well for you at a stock photo agency.  Whether you are showing the stages of growth in a plant, from seed to seedling to bud to blooming, or creating several snapshots in the day of a child at play, your images can convey a sense of time, place and feeling.


There’s nothing better than making a perspective buyer experience emotions when they look at your pictures.  What do you feel when you look at the following image?

Lone Cow in the Snow - Photo Tripping America


I don’t know about you, but I feel a slight sense of hopelessness, as if the bovine has been left behind by her herd, and that the world of white that surrounds her is overwhelming.  She is deciding if she should continue forward or turn around in defeat…at least that’s the story I see happening.  Yours will most likely be different, and that is the beauty of images that encourage emotions.


Who doesn’t have their spirits lifted a bit when walking into a room meticulously decorated for Christmas?  What kind of stories would come from this image of a turn-of-the-century Christmas celebration, complete with a choo choo train, elaborate chandelier and doll house?

meticulously decorated r

Do you wonder what circumstances in life occurred to put this man on the streets, living out of a grocery cart?  Think of all the scenarios that could have taken place – those are stories.

Homeless Man with Shopping Cart - Photo Tripping America

The above examples are singular images that elicit strong emotions and conger up fabricated stories in our heads.  But what about a series of images that give you the “play by play” plot of a real story?  Well, it’s no secret that I’m a fan of cowboys, so on a recent visit to a rodeo, I decided to document a cowboy’s journey during the evening.  (It was a tough photo shoot, but somebody had to do it!)  Here are the results:

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So, let’s see what you can come up with this week’s homework.  (1) practice shooting several images that allow the viewer to see a possible story, and (2) shoot a series of images that tell a story from start to finish.


By now your image portfolio should be increasing in size if you’ve been doing your homework, so you’ll soon be ready to take the pictures you’ve been collecting and work with them in preparation for submission.  But for the time being you can keep on learning new subject matter to create even more images by moving on to Shooting Stock Photo Suggestions #6!


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