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

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.


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.


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 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!

How to Shoot Like A Pro On Your iPhone.

Hey photographers looking for tips on how to shoot on your iPhone like a pro? Apple has got you covered. On you can find tutorials that can help turn any iPhone user into a photographer. 

Here are just a few of their photographer tutorials on their website. 

How To Shoot During Golden Hour 

How to Edit with Portrait Lighting Effects on iPhone  

How to Shoot a Group Portrait on iPhone

Apple also offers effects specifically for the iPhone X for you to check out. 

How to Shoot Slo-Mo on the iPhone X 

How to Shoot Using Backlight on iPhone X 

How to Edit a Portrait Selfie on iPhone X

Check out all of their tips and techniques for your photos and videos at


What's Selling - Insight On Getting Your Photos Purchased

We often get asked: "What kind of photos are selling on Snapwire?" While we have various blog posts written on the subject, it is always helpful to take a look at specific photos to understand what buyers are choosing. To check out what has been recently purchased you can take a look at the recently purchased page to see what buyers are looking for and to get future inspiration! 

Congratulations to photographers: Ksenya Lim, Randi Mooney, Eddie Rios, and Rolf Alafo for their recently purchased photos. Here are their captivating shots: 


Household Chores

 Photo by: Ksenya Lim

Photo by: Ksenya Lim

Ksenya's photo won the "Household Chores" challenge because it wonderfully captures the struggles of a young boy in his attempt to help out with chores. The boy's small size is a stark contrast with the drying machine. Additionally, the photo is bright, crisp, and features a visually-pleasing composition of all of the elements. 

All About Love

 Photo by: Randi Mooney

Photo by: Randi Mooney

The "All About Love" Request sought photos of anything related to love, whether it be family members, friends, partners, or even pets. With precious floral dresses and authentic emotion, Randi's photo perfectly fits the theme. The genuine love between the group of girl's, evokes a sense of nostalgia for simpler times and childhood friendships. 

Under the Sheets

 Photo by: Eddie Rios

Photo by: Eddie Rios

Everyone loves lazy days and nights spent lounging in their beds. The "Under the Sheets" challenge garnered a wide variety of photos of babies, adults, and pets doing just that. From the submissions, Eddie's dreamy photo was chosen for its simple composition, perfect lighting, and identifiable content. Many people have memories of staying up past their bedtime to read the last few pages of their favorite book. 

 Romantic Couples

 Photo by: Rolf Alafo

Photo by: Rolf Alafo

The "Romantic Couples" challenge had so many amazing submissions of couples that it was difficult to choose a winner. However, Rolf's photo stands out from the rest because for the us, the viewer, it seems like we are catching something we aren't supposed to see. With the man facing away from the camera there is a sense that we just happened to walk into their special moment. Furthermore, the natural emotion on the woman's face emphasizes the pure love she feels for him.  

A giant takeaway from this post, is that photo buyers are looking for visuals that tell stories. Each image has its own unique story to tell. Buyers are seeking out photos like these because they evoke certain relatable feelings such as love, companionship, childhood memories, and dreams for the future.

Now let's get back to shooting! Submit your best shots of Spring to our new challenge:  Spring Around the World