Tuesday, 11 December 2012

What on earth should I take photos of?

The short answer to this is that I don’t know. Sorry about that. However, I can have a good guess for you, having trawled through endless pages of best-selling images.

The most important thing is that you shoot what you know and what you feeling comfortable taking photos of. It’s all very well wanting to take artsy images of haute cuisine, but this will be very difficult if you can’t cook or know any kind chefs, for example. Plus, the chances are that if it’s a subject you know, you’ll have all the props for taking a wide variety of images – which is always a positive.

There are some key areas that you’re advised to avoid shooting – things like flowers, landscapes, pets, for example – and I’d say this is good advise in the most part. I’ve submitted a couple of landscapes and flowers before but these have had no more than five downloads across all sites; it can’t hurt to upload them if you have them or enjoy shooting them, but there’s no great potential for big earnings here.

If I were to advise one place to concentrate your time (if it’s limited), it would be business images. If you have friends or family around who are willing to model for free, then I’d advise doing this, as businesspeople are always in demand. Failing this, it’s very easy to create conceptual images on your tabletop (see previous post) using a few printed business documents and bits of stationery that you have lying around. It’s worth trying to be creative when doing this (though I am a culprit of not being as creative as I could/should be…), since the market is full of these already. That said, there’s a few bob to be made there.


If you’re a bit of a foody, then you may want to consider combining your passions and taking photos of your creations. I’d like to say that images of raw ingredients will sell well, but my experience suggests they probably won’t. However, if you’re willing to put in the time to cook and style pleasant looking meals, then you may be on to something. You’ll see this kind of image pop up all the time in menus around the world and they all have to come from somewhere. The only problem is that making and styling food can cost time and money – taking photos of meals you’d be making anyway is probably the best way to overcome this, though it means you may have to get used to eating cold meals! Oh and don’t think you can get away with taking a nice photo of an apple, it’s not going to happen…

The two other main areas, medical and lifestyle, seem a little out of reach of those of us who are shot on time and short on cash, but if you have friends who don’t mind signing a model release or a stethoscope lying around, you may be able to make this work for you. Chances are that the best place to start is business. Try and get people involved if you can, but don’t worry if not, just get creative with your still life!

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