How to Shoot Commercial Photography

Commercial photography is an industry that can provide a lucrative and varied employment to keen photographers. Most commercial photographers are self-starters, beginning with amateur photography and then moving into the commercial realm. There are a number of ways you can make money by shooting commercial photographs, including taking stock photographs which can then be sold on to magazines and tourist attractions.

Shooting Stock Photographs 

Stock photography can help the budding commercial photography professional to make money from the outset. Stock photographs are images of everyday life, such as animals, commuters or families, and can be sold to magazines or advertising companies. A number of insurance, healthcare and pensions advertisements use stock lifestyle photographs to make the viewer see them as traditional and familiar. In order to get the best from your shoots, you should decide whether you would like to go for traditional images or more alternative or humorous photographs.

In order to appeal to stock photograph agencies, you should save a collection of around 100 to 500 photographs that you can send away in both digital and hard copy form. You should also regularly submit more photographs to your portfolio.

Shooting Traditional Photographs

Traditional commercial photographs should appeal to the basic elements of stock photography: plenty of pictures of people, good framing and nothing too outlandish. A good way to take a traditional photograph is to use the Rule of Three, the photograph is divided into three parts, like a beach, a sea line and the sky. These three pieces should be in an even proportion, although you can mix this up by giving one of the parts more room than the others.

Shooting Alternative Photographs

Commercial photography experts are always keen to take traditional themes and try to use them in a different way. Stock libraries are full of the same pictures: beach, park, sports. These images are the basics of their business, because they reflect happiness and fulfilment. However, don't be afraid to try new things, like by creating humorous alternatives to those images: you might show a dog bringing back an oversized stick, for example, or a cat snoozing on a table and slowly sliding off.

Shooting Outdoors

One of the more complex forms of commercial photography is the outside shoot. Outside pictures require that you take notice of the weather: forecasts are not always right, and your shoot might be disturbed by a sudden downpour. If you are caught in a shower, you could try taking some pictures of the rain: shoot detailed pictures of rain sliding down a leaf, or a long-range image of rain falling on roofs, streets, and people. A good image of commuters walking home on a rainy day complete with umbrellas, would be a good picture in times of financial crisis.

Whenever you are taking a commercial photography shot, try and shoot selectively, so that you miss out details which disrupt the harmony of a piece. One idea is to photograph the same place, but use different scale sizes to create scenes or details.

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