Creating a Numbers Series

Numbers are in constant demand for graphics, articles, blog posts, and even book covers. Take the time to start an interesting numbers series, and remain on the lookout as you shoot, for additions to the series. Interesting numbers shots will be amoungst the most popular of your stock images with writers, graphic designers, illustrators, and bloggers. Consider creating multiple series, depending on colors, or locations of numbers within your images. Include plenty of context, and let the designers crop as desired.

Number48-1

C. David Tobie

On the Look-Out for Color Relationships

Colors can add power and meaning to images. Color relationships are part of these effects. When an entire image is of one object, the color coordination was taken care of by the designer of that object. But when various elements in the real world form unintended color relationships, its a great chance for the photographer to step in, and manipulate color.

In the image below, the red, white, and blue motif of the trolley is a given. But the coincidence of it stopping at a traffic light behind the red and blue scooters was an opportunity not to be missed. The only question was whether there was enough time to pull out an iPhone, open the Photo app, and compose an image before the light changed. Once that was accomplished, a bit of color coordinating in Photoshop, to enhance the relationship between the various reds and blues in the image, completed the process.

OldPort

C. David Tobie

Going For the Dynamic Image

The shot below is a workmanlike architectural image of a beautiful set of doors.  Distracting elements surrounding the doorway have been cropped out, the perspective has been corrected within reason, and the exposure and shadow detail set to tell the whole story as clearly as possible.

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But is this the most interesting, and salable, image of this subject matter? Lets start with a decision to avoid the paper sign duct taped to the door. And to try to get a sense of the imposing scale of these doors, sized for a deity, not mere humans. Setting the exposure, color, and white balance to a moodier, less literal options could also add impact. And leaving the image as a part, not the whole, of the doorway creates a sense of mystery. The image below is based on these, and other, decisions. It is far more likely to sell, especially as stock, then the more straightforward image above. FullSizeRender-4C. David Tobie

Silhouettes to Frame and Foreground an Image

Layering is a powerful tool to add interest and dimension to images. When shots fall flat, it is useful to scout for interesting foreground elements that can be added to the composition. Foreground images which can be silhouetted can be particularly powerful in framing the shot.

The elegant hotel in this image had been shot in previous sessions, but without producing a sufficiently interesting result, even using the fountain as a foreground element. The old man sitting on the bench offered the perfect opportunity to layer a more interesting and dynamic image. And silhouetting eliminated issues with recognizable faces and image usage restrictions. ElephantHotelC. David Tobie

Pleasing Decay in Architectural Detail Shots

It is easy to miss the photographic potential of pleasing decay. Until framed and displayed as art, it has the habit of just looking messy. Keeping an eye out for locations where a shot can depict aging, and perhaps the layers of paint, masonry, or stucco applied over time can be rewarding.

In the shot below, an arch top window long ago infilled with bricks and stones of differing sizes and colors, then plastered and painted over at various times provides an interesting story, once isolated and focused on. It would have been all to easy to pass by the alley where this deteriorating wall was located, in a town full of architectural beauty.FilledArchC. David Tobie

Found Symbol Photography

One of the more amusing types of photography is found symbols; objects that have, at least from one angle, a resemblance to some other object or symbol. Hearts are the most common example, including heart shaped rocks, heart shaped leaves, and even heart shaped wine spills. The most practical use for such images is as stock photos for graphic and web design.

The example below is amusing because of the contrast between the utilitarian object being photographed (an asphalt road), and the romantic symbol accidentally formed (a heart). The fact that the heart is not quite perfect gives credence to it being an actual tar spot, not an intentionally formed heart.  If the designer desires a more perfect heart, a bit of Photoshop work can provide that. For some design projects just such a contrast between object and symbol would be perfect. Keywording is important for images of this type, so that they can be found by appropriate searches in the stock photo library where they are placed. Keywords for this image could include: #BlackHeart, #HardHearted, #LoveTheHighway, #AsphaltHeart, and #HeartOfStone.

TarHeart-1C. David Tobie

All About That Bass

Music Festivals offer photographers an increased level of access to shoot musicians. However, it is often in less than ideal locations, with cluttered stages and backgrounds. One solution to this is to use a long lens, focus on closeups of one or two musicians at a time, and to use a shallow depth of focus; all of which will assist in reducing the impact of the clutter. Another option is to shoot up, from just in front to the stage, to avoid much of the stage gear.

AllAboutThatBass-1

This bass player, at the American Folk Festival, was grooving to his own beat. Isolating him from the band focused on that beat, and shooting from below offered a unique angle as well as clutter reduction. The Prada sunglasses were a fringe benefit.

C. David Tobie