Allison Hobbs has over 12 years of experience in the stock photography business as both an Editor and Art Director. She has considerable experience producing, casting, styling and art directing large budget stock shoots locally and abroad. Allison also has a Bachelor of Applied Arts degree in still photography from Ryerson Polytechnic University in Toronto (1998) and is a talented photographer. She contributes to several microstock agencies in her spare time – so she understands a photographer’s perspective very well.
Business is NOT boring…and you can take that to the bank!Posted: September 14, 2011
Imagine a world where money grows on trees. This is a world where financial freedom can be realized, and glass ceilings can be broken. Everything is possible in the world of stock photography.
But when it comes to selecting subject matter for your photos and illustrations, business scenarios can be unfairly judged as being too “boring” or “mundane”. Don’t allow visions of executives in stuffy suits, awkward boardroom meetings and stiff handshakes dissuade you from shooting business. In reality, there is unlimited potential for creative interpretations of common business themes, not to mention even greater sales opportunities. And what could be more exciting than making money?
Some of the most popular microstock images are those that take elements of a regular lifestyle shoot and combine them with clever prop styling to create a home office concept. You don’t always need a large boardroom or a cubicle farm to convey the idea of business. A bright and airy room with a simple desk, a modern laptop, and a telephone headset can create saleable images that say “working from home”. You can also maximize your variations through the use of creative cropping, by zeroing in on the details, and by photographing the workspace with and without people. It’s also advisable to shoot both candid moments as well as testimonial portraits.
Business meetings, e-commerce and stock market fluctuations are among the most popular searches we receive at Crestock. From tipping scales to dollar signs, these images all share the ability to say “finance”. Money makes the world go ‘round, so don’t overlook opportunities to incorporate financial elements into your shoots. For example, if you are shooting a tabletop scenario of a beautifully plated meal, try putting a check presenter beside the plate to make it a small business concept. If you are shooting a person using their laptop, put a credit card in their hand to represent on-line shopping.
Business images do not have to be as literal as a person carrying a briefcase and looking at a pie chart. The umbrella of “business” includes the depiction of all professions outside of the boardroom too. Occupations are strong conveyors of concepts and can be used by a variety of end-users. Firefighters represent a specific occupation, but they also represent courage, heroism, and safety. A doctor could be the face of a pharmaceutical product, or they could represent trust or wellness. Images of small business owners, such as florists or fashion designers, are favorites among financial institutions to illustrate business loans and insurance products.
Consultations – Groups of Three
Three is the magic number when it comes to grouping small business meetings. Using three models allows you to tell several stories within a single shoot. By placing one model opposite the other two models across a desk, you are illustrating a consultation. Combined with strategic keywording, the exact same image could represent financial planning, an interview, or a couple applying for a car loan. Three models poring over blueprints could be a meeting of the minds among a group of architects, but it could also be a realtor meeting with a couple who have just purchased a brand new home. This is the inherent versatility of working with groups of three models.
One of the cornerstones of any business shoot is technology. From laptops to cell phones, no business shoot is complete without these tools of the trade. In this fast-paced world, technology changes every day. As a result, the stock photo industry is always in need of updated imagery featuring the very latest tablets, phones, and computers. Just remember, product shots of these items are not appropriate for submission to the Crestock collection because they present copyright and trademark concerns. If you are photographing identifiable props, always make them one element of a greater scene. If you are an illustrator, this presents an opportunity to create images of your own unique technological tools without representing any one brand or product.