Still life images are very popular on stock libraries purely because they are useful for publishers. Still life images feature in books, magazines, websites and promotional materials.
You don’t need to go out and buy lots of expensive things nor do you need any special set ups to get some useful shots. You need to research and find out what kind of images are useful and saleable.
The types of things you can shoot include:
1. Every day objects
Why take pictures of everyday things like stationary, cutlery, books? Because when people are putting together articles, often they just need a simple photograph they can use to make the piece easier to read and look better on the page.
With very ordinary items if you can convert it into an existing image (i.e. Use color full paper backgrounds or play with the angles) this can make the image more saleable.
2. Topical Items
By topical, we mean items that link strongly to a certain type of article. So credit cards, money, anything to do with finance are very popular because these have to do with current affairs. You could also take photographs of items such as a wallet or a receipt to depict peoples spending habits.
Flick through your magazines and newspapers to see what kind of stock images sell. Women’s Magazines in particular, use stock images regularly so think about what they may want – pictures of make up or beauty items. For example, pictures of basic items like a mirror or a cotton bud, or even skincare products (but without brand names showing).
Another time people search for stock images is when they are looking for shots for seasonal pieces. Valentines Day, Easter, Christmas and so on. You don’t have to actually be in that time of year in order to take themed photographs; you can just buy the props to make things seem Christmassy – for example by using gift paper or decorations.
It’s a good idea to get seasonal shots up months before the time – this is because editors and picture researchers will find their images well in advance.
Props are very important when you are thinking about still life images. It’s easy to convey a feeling or image by using small props. Want to get a feeling of Asia? Are there any props that you can use that covey the sense of the exotic? Things that can be bought from the local supermarket?
Get a range of shots
It helps to be focused sometimes on a single topic or genre in order to get a range of shots. Move around so you have different angles to play with. This is because different buyers have different needs and whereas some people want a more conventional look, some people want something edgy. If you have taken the time to set up a shot then make sure that you do get lots of images together for maximum saleability.