How to Purchase Stock Photography for Commercial Use

Stock photographs are one of the most lucrative markets in the field of commercial photography. Stock photographs can be bought from agencies, or from individual freelancers, but it is possible to become lost in the complicated field of stock commercial photography, and not know what is the best kind of stock photography for your purpose. In order to better understand how to purchase stock photography for use in commerce, there are a few simple rules that you should follow.

Step 1 - Find the Photographs

Finding the right kind of stock photographs from a commercial photography professional is more complicated than it seems. Searching online for visual images can take forever, as there will be many of the same kind of photographs that you need. The first thing that will help to keep those photograph choices to a minimum is an understanding of what the photograph will be used for: do you want it for an advert or brochure (in which case you will need something more focused on commercial photography needs), or do you want it to illustrate a blog (in which case it might be possible to buy cheaper images)? Deciding what you need is the key.

Step 2 - Use Keywords

Keyword searches are vital to the finding of a good stock commercial photography dealer. Once you are clear about what you need the photograph for, and what it will be illustrating, you can type in a clear series of keywords that should help you find what you need at once. However, recently, commercial photography agents have begun to offer stock images which are found, not through keywords, but through visual searches based on image categories. They believe that stock photographs are found more easily using this method.

Step 3 - Use the Rule of Three

The Rule of Three, although it sounds like a comedy sketch, is the rule which dictates how the photograph is framed, and how objects in that photograph are positioned. Used in stock photographs for commercial photography purposes, the Rule of Three divides the photograph into three portions. The Rule of Three can be used to create an attractive and proportionate photograph, and it can also be used to create more abstract pictures, where one third of the photograph is 'overbalanced'. A large skyline with a boat and a horizon in the bottom third, for example, draws the viewer into the picture. Examine your chosen stock photographs to ensure that they abide by the rule of three.

Step 4 - Consider Your Use of the Photograph

Before buying a photograph, consider whether you will need to crop or trim the picture in order to be able to use it in the right context. Will you have to cut away part of the photograph's proportions, and thereby ruin the effect of the picture. If you wish to enlarge the stock photograph, will this make it more grainy, and will that affect the appearance of the picture? Consider how you will use the photograph before making any purchase.

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