Have you ever noticed when reading a magazine or flicking through a brochure, how many of the images are ‘lifestyle’ images? Photographs of people doing things, talking to each other, sitting in the gardens, exercising, eating and reading together etc. These kinds of photographs may seem contrived and a bit corny, but they have an important use in stock photography because they add something to the story.
For example, if a magazine is writing about exercising, they can search the stock libraries and find an image of someone of which their demographic can relate to doing some exercise. If it’s a specific kind of exercise, say yoga, it can be an image of that to demonstrate what it looks like.
Same goes for cooperate companies that look for images of people in suits or apparently in business meetings. It’s a good way to convey a professional image or to show what kind of team your company has (young, mature, professional work environment, relaxed) etc.
The benefit for companies is that it’s much cheaper to buy a stock image than it is to commission your own photographs. You get photogenic people and clean, well composed shots.
So if you are thinking of taking lifestyle shots to sell on a stock library what kind of things should you start with?
Well firstly think about the kind of images that people will want to buy – if you can make things a little specific, that’s great too because its more likely to be picked out by people who are working within a niche.
Some ideas include:
1. Healthy Living shots.
These are very popular since internationally, the issue of health, obesity and weight loss is a constant news source. So think about shots of people doing exercise – it could be jogging, weights, yoga, stretches. It could be something with a water bottle; it could be someone in gym wear. It could even be something eating healthy food like salads, or eating something unhealthier like a large burger. Imagine what kind of story that could work for – perhaps a piece of how people are struggling with healthy eating?
Remember when you do these kinds of shots, it’s not actually about getting your model jumping around getting red and sweaty – pose them as you would at a fashion shot, making sure they look polished and there’s no motion blur.
Couples lifestyle shots work well because there are always features and articles concerning marriage, dating and love. In this case you don’t need to actually find a couple, and of course since there are many pieces written on same gender relationships you can even get two people of the same sex together.
In these cases you need to consider a few things – are your models happy with the context of the shot and aware that if someone buys it they can use it for all kinds of uses and articles? Are they happy to pose as a couple with the other person? A professional model understands the score, but if you are borrowing a friend then you need to let them know.
Then look at the couple – do they fit. Be honest here – is one person a lot younger looking than the other?
You can do shots of them together, looking happy but lover’s tiff or argument images also work well – for example a couple together and the woman folding her arms to express annoyance. These work well with women’s magazine articles.