How to: Shooting Lifestyle Stock Photography

As the landscape of stock photography changes, it’s important to be aware who is purchasing stock photos and what you, as the creator, can do to create a more successful stock portfolio. With sales transitioning from a single image to larger orders containing multiple images from a single set.

 Photo by: Master |  Maureen Im

Photo by: Master | Maureen Im

By following these five steps; Theme Selection, Talent and Location Acquisition, Choosing equipment, Engaging Direction and Cohesive editing, your stock photography sets are sure to rise to the tip in quality and value.

Theme Selection:

Choose a theme broad enough to grant you the ability to create multiple scenes from. For example, if you’re going to photograph Millennials and Technology, you should be looking at the photographing millennials using technology in school, millennials using technology in social settings, and millennials using technology in start-up settings.

If a buyer is looking for multiple images of technology and millennials, this will offer plenty of variety. The theme should allow for you to dive deeper, being transferrable to multiple locations and translate across a diverse cast of models. An additional tip is to be attentive to the world around you, photograph themes that are relevant in today’s society and predict what could come next.

 Photo by: ADVANCED |  Gavin Carter

Photo by: ADVANCED | Gavin Carter


Talent and Location Acquisition:

It’s 2018, your models need to be extremely diverse  - all themes can be relatable to any group of people. Sets of images containing multiple models hold a higher value. Prioritize scenes in your shoot where you can have 4-6 models in one frame. Buyers who are looking for sets of images, will look for consistency of models across the sets of images. The best way to find talent is through your friend circle, social media, and casting calls. Facebook is a great place to start and many regions have groups for model castings.

Choosing the Right Equipment:

Equipment isn’t the most important aspect but certain equipment will create more engaging images. 24-50mm is the sweet spot as wide angle lens allow you to get more information in the frame and when photographing activities, can make the viewer feel as if you’re right there and have a more organic feeling to them. 50mm lenses give you the option to isolate emotion and actions while adding a portrait element to the set. Choose lenses that are fast, shooting around F2.8 to F4 can highlight the actions, pulling the viewer in. Traditionally, lifestyle stock is not photographed with anything higher than 50mm as the depth compression gives the images more of a product/staged feeling. Remember that all lifestyle stock should be photographed with natural light. Artificial lighting can be used, but it should be used indirectly, bouncing a diffused light off a wall or ceiling.

Engaging Direction:

Block out your scenes before you start shooting, this will give you confidence in placing your models correctly in the scene and giving you grounds to begin. Once you’ve set your scene, let your models act it out while being you shoot. Be attentive to what each model is doing, you’ll want models to repeat certain actions and understand what sequence they should do to get your desired result. Having a variety of models will allow you to direct them to cycle throughout the scene, giving everyone a chance to be the centre of focus and play out different roles - this cycling will not only give you a large volume of images with variety but it will also boost fo the confidence of your models by giving them an opportunity to learn and try other roles. Actions should never be forced, what you might want is in the middle so run through the actions a few times, shooting from multiple angles. Tethering is a great way to help directing your models and blocking your scenes in real time.

Editing Process:

The first step in the editing process is to cull your images. Select the best 2-3 images from a burst, any more will saturate the set and cause the buyer to have difficulty selecting one. Once you’ve selected your images, begin editing out any logos visible in the shot (yes, that includes Apple’s little apple.) These images should feel bright and organic, and light contrast. Consistent saturation with no grain or noise will give you clean, cohesive look across a whole set. Batch editing can be more efficient, but make sure to spot check images as you go along!

 Photo by: MASTER |  Marjan Apostolovic

Photo by: MASTER | Marjan Apostolovic

Happy STOCK Shooting!

The Perfect Gifts for Photographers

December is here and that means the holidays are just around the snow frosted corner. Now I know we are older and don’t have time to cut toys out of the ads and glue them on a Christmas list to send to Granny, so I thought I would put together some gift ideas for the photographer in your life (or for you! treat yo self Santa’s little helper!)

Instant Camera - I know you love your photographer so much that you would buy them the Lieca M10 Digital Rangefinder if you had 7,000 dollars in your holiday budget, so why not opt for the a little more expense friendly with a Polaroid camera! Different sized prints, a variety of colors of cameras, takes artsy shots and selfie with friends, this is the perfect gift for any age photographer.

Massage Gift Certificate - Running around after bridesmaids, sitting in the dark hunched over your computer editing for hours, and climbing to the top of the lookout at sunrise is not easy on your artist brain and body. Relax at the spa and get those shoulders rubbed.

Subscriptions to editing tools such a Vsco, Heck Yeah, Dirty Boots and Messy Hair, or Priime. Editing can help define your style. With help from presets, photographer’s work can quickly look cohesive and stylized if a quick and customizable manner. Gift them an extra editing buddy this season.

Camera Strap - Support small businesses while supporting your camera. Etsy has an amazing amount of unique camera straps to keep your equipment safe and stylish.

Heath Insurance - Let’s be honest, most photographers now days work for themselves. While that is fun on editing days in your pijamas, when you get sick, no coverage can be as costly as a new lens. If you have the ability (I see you rich Auntie that likes to spoil!) I suggest you find a local basic insurance plan to keep your little artist healthy in the new year.

Camera Bag - Small to large, your photographer needs a place to hold their artist tools and damn there are some funky cool bags out there. I suggest ONA for the classy/sophisticated, Lowepro for the adventurer, and Gogroove for the stylish.


Hopefully that helps your holiday shopping go quick and easy! Want everything on this list, but afraid to buy it for yourself? Send it over to your family and a little hint that this year you might not want socks!

Ten U.S. Cities Spots To Take Your Holiday Cards This Year

For lots of families, taking a holiday photo to send out on snowflake marked cards is a cherished tradition. Pull out the matching plaid, Santa hats, and say cheese smiles. Whether you are a family photographer or a couple looking for a perfect spot, here are ten locations sure to make your holiday cards stand out:

 SHOOTER |  James Ngo

SHOOTER | James Ngo

  1. Maui, Hawaii - Haiku Mill

  2. Brooklyn, New York -  Dumbo view of The Manhattan Bridge

  3. Seattle, Washington - Creek Tree Farm

  4. San Francisco, California - Mount Davidson Park

  5. Los Angeles, California - Marvimon

  6. Salt Lake City, Utah - Pierpont Avenue

  7. Stonington, Connecticut - Saltwater Farm Vineyard

  8. Dolores, Colorado - Dunton Hot Springs

  9. North Yarmouth, Maine - Barn on Walnut Hill

  10. Morrow, Oregon - Boardman Tree Farm

I am thankful for...

Happy Thanksgiving! We are so thankful to have you as a part of community. Snapwire wouldn’t be anything without our amazingly talented creators and innovative buyers. Thank you choosing us share and create your stories.

 Photo by: MASTER |  Lelia Milaya

Photo by: MASTER | Lelia Milaya

Although most of our team is not American, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, The Snapwire Team all sat down and talked about what we were thankful for. Here are our answers:

“I'm thankful for my dedicated team who works tirelessly on executing the vision I've laid down for our amazing company.” - Chad

“My cats Wallace and Wasabi!” - Ryan

“i'd say i'm thankful the most for my incredible friends and family. having a constant supply of love and support means the most to me. i'm also insanely thankful to be working in a field i absolutely love and am so proud to be a part of.” - Brian

“My health!” - Sean

“Family! A very supportive husband and a great father to our children and of course my smart and well-disciplined kids. Plus working with a great team - never had issues nor misunderstanding, so it's stress-free!” - Ervinna

“I am thankful for learning from my mistakes. And the 1999 hit "Smooth" by Santana” - Justin

“I am thankful for friends, family, and the beautiful city that I live in.” - Alexis

“I'm thankful that not everything is under my control, but the vast majority of the time everything works out.” - Riley

“Sunsets and doggos” - Ricky

“I would not be anything without my family (born into & chosen) & am ever so thankful for their continuous support & our shared love of prosecco, good tunes, and tacos.” - Audrey

Happy Thanksgiving!

Leveling Up on the Platform

Whether you have been on the platform for years or simply signed up an hour ago, I am sure you have noticed the different levels labeled on your profile. Level’s are our way of keeping the quality of imagery on Snapwire at it’s best. New levels unlock perks that give more exposure and the ability to work directly with buyers.

How leveling works:

Buyers nominate photos on Snapwire submitted to requests or challenges. Once you are marked as a Shooter or above, you'll earn points when your shots are nominated by buyers, licensed by buyers, or marked as Premium by the Snapwire team. Points unlock levels and the higher your level, the more you can submit.

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Let’s dive into what each level means and what you need to do as a creator to move up!

Maile Marie Photography_PRO_maile_marie_photos.jpg

Get to Know the Levels

Photo by: PRO | Maile Marie Photography

Explorer

This is the first level where all creators start! Submit your best shots to Challenges for a chance to get nominated. If your shot is nominated, you'll level up to Shooter and can submit to higher paying buyer Requests.

Shooter

You're in the game and can now submit shots to higher paid buyer Requests. Get a shot nominated to level up. From here on out, you'll earn points for every nomination or purchase!

Advanced

Once you have earned 1,000 points, you can now get invited by buyers to shoot their Requests and gain access to selected requests created by the Snapwire team.

Expert

You've now had a few shots nominated or sold earning you 5,000 points! It is clear that buyer’s are loving your work. Once you have hit this level, you are featured on our platform as a top creator!

Elite

15,000 points! Woohoo! Your work is exceptional, and your shots are nominated and purchased regularly. You can also be invited to Direct Requests from our high paying clients!

Pro

After earning 50,000 points it is clear you know what you are doing. Buyers can commission you directly to shoot their projects!

Master

Specially invited, this level is the best of the best of our creators. We have created a master list of our top photographers that have priority access to Buyer’s incoming projects.

Learn more about each individual level

Photo by: Shooter | Mike Yorke

A Little Slice of Pumpkin Pie

Is it really Thanksgiving without a little turkey and pumpkin pie?

PRO | Lelia Milaya EXPERT | Maryna Voronova ELITE | Steve Cukrov

The Perfect Pumpkin Pie Recipe

Photo by: EXPERT | Leslie Rodriguez

Snapwire's Basic Guide to Image Licensing

Snapwire makes it easy for you to sell your photos, but through industry jargon and special clauses it can be hard to tell exactly what happens when someone purchases your image. Don’t stress, we are here to sort all that out so you can feel confident about where your work is going and how you are compensated for your talents.

On Snapwire’s site, this is all listed out in detail and fancy lawyer language through our copyright and licensing tabs. For those of us who don’t understand legal talk, here are:

Eddie Rios_PRO_eddierios.jpg

8 Licensing Topics You Should Know

Photo by: PRO | Eddie Rios

Copyright & Copyright Buyout

The basic definition of copyright is: a form of protection given to the authors or creators of original works of authorship. What you create is yours! You own your work and what happens to it. Yay! We won’t sell your work unless you give us permission! (So make sure your settings in your content manager on your profile are up to date on all your uploaded images!)

I hate that I even have to say this, but as Snapwire respects the intellectual property of others, we ask our users to do the same. Do not upload photos that aren't yours. That is stealing.

So what does it mean for you when a buyer seeks copyright buyout? It seems threatening and a lot of photographers steer away from it purely cause it sounds like you are selling your soul and giving up your creative rights. This is not the case. When a client asks for a copyright buyout it means you no longer own that photo and can no longer sell it or make money from it.

To sum it up, you take a photo for a client and no one else can use it. Imagine you take a photo of your fluffy pup Snowflake for a company. If they buyout your copyright, only that company can use the photo for promotion. This means you cannot post it on multiple stock photo sites, let the random pet food instagram repost it, or even print it as a gift for your sister in law who owns a “wigs for pets” salon.

No one can buy your copyright without your permission and you should be compensated higher for full buyouts.

Marketplace vs. Challenge/Requests vs. Profile

Snapwire is multi-dimensional. This makes it fun and creates a variety of places to earn, but it can also get a little confusing about what it means when your photos are uploaded or selected for different areas.

Marketplace:

The Snapwire Marketplace is a selection of the best shots submitted to Snapwire offered to buyers through a subscription. Shots chosen for the Marketplace are flagged as Select or Premium and are only made available for download for buyers who subscribe. It is an easy way to not only sell your photos (Creators earn 50% when shots are downloaded from buyers in the Marketplace,) but for buyers to accumulate specific unique shots within their subscription period.

If you would like to remove any shots from the Marketplace Subscription, you can simply change the licensing status on your file or delete them from the Content Manager section of your account.

Challenges & Requests

You are all signed up on the platform! Now what… Challenges and Requests are ways to work directly with brands and push your creativity to produce work through specific concepts.

Challenges are hosted “competitions” that focus on a specific theme with one winning photo selected at the end of the allotted time. Challenges are open to any level and a great way to earn points through nominations and submissions.

Once you've reached the Advanced level, you'll be eligible to be invited to Requests by buyers. These are higher paying and give you the access to work with some of our top clients. They are handled the same way through nominations and final selections.

Profile

You can submit shots to your profile and build a great portfolio at anytime. All shots uploaded directly to your Portfolio are available for buyers to purchase a license. Remember, you can control whether or not your images can be purchased or selected to the marketplace through your content manager on your profile.

Upload your best shots to your profile to give Snapwire Creative Recruiters and Buyers a chance to see what you can do. Think clean, commercial, bright, and diverse.


Premium Content

Premium shots are curated to the top of search results due to their commercial potential. This provides more opportunities for your shots to be sold. AKA you shot a rad image and we want to promote to our buyers!

Exclusivity

Exclusivity guarantees the buyer that no one else can purchase the image during a pre agreed period of time. On average, our buyers ask for a two year exclusivity. You will be compensated extra for any exclusivity purchase.

 Photo by: MASTER |  Israel González

Photo by: MASTER | Israel González

Royalty Free

On Snapwire, you will only find royalty free imagery purchases through our Marketplace. But what does that mean exactly? A buyer will pay a one-time fee for a royalty-free image license and can then use the image as many times and in as many places as he chooses. The "free" in royalty-free does not mean there is no cost for the license, but instead refers to being able to freely use the image without paying additional royalties. A small-business owner, for example, may opt to pay a one-time fee for RF images for his website, but can also use it for social and promotional value. Being royalty free does not mean you cannot sell your photo to another buyer - there needs to be exclusivity contract involve to pull it completely off the market.

Permission Releases

Releases are important because they protect you from potential lawsuits where people claim invasion of privacy or defamation after you’ve photographed them.

Model Releases:

In order to submit a shot to Snapwire, you agree you have the permission from any identifiable people in the submitted shot in order to sell it. Imagine you sell a photo to a major brand featuring a recognizable person, but the model didn’t sign a release. If that person sees their face on a huge billboard and becomes upset, they can sue because you never got written permission to use or sell the photo. There have been a number of high profile cases like this, and they can get messy and expensive. You can use our model release app; Releases.

Public spaces

Do you need a property release? If your shots contain recognizable trademarks or personally owned property (like a identifiable store sign, branded product, logo, or other identifiable private property) it is best to have a property release as most buyers look to license shots for commercial use. As this is not always possible, be sure to capture shots that mitigate this issue.

 Photo by: ELITE |  Andrii Sarymsakov

Photo by: ELITE | Andrii Sarymsakov

Have some questions that you didn’t find the answers to?

Read more on our FAQ page and always feel free to reach out to the Snapwire Team.

As always, Happy Shooting!

At the Cafe

At the Cafe, a recently closed request, brought to life the aroma and cozy atmosphere of your favorite coffee shop and cafe. Here are a few of our favorite submissions:

 MASTER |  Lou Baker Smith
 ELITE |  Froi Rivera

ELITE | Froi Rivera

 ADVANCED |  Asta S

ADVANCED | Asta S

 ELITE |  Diane Modafferi
 EXPERT |  Maile Pollock

EXPERT | Maile Pollock