If you have been in the world of commercial photography for some time, you may know the story of “everywhere girl”, a model who posed for a photo film in the 1990s. In the following decades, his photos appeared in a variety of marketing projects-on posters and brochures, in books, on blogs and far beyond.
Although she has become a worldwide photo celebrity, and although there are millions of different photos available these days, this model, whose name is Jennifer Anderson, continues to find her photos, well, everywhere.
The story of “Everywhere girl” is more than just a funny anecdote; it also contains a powerful lesson about building a successful business licensing portfolio. Large stock photos don’t just sell once to buyers in an industry; they sell like buns, to all kinds of buyers, over many years. The everywhere girl photos were so versatile that one day they appeared in school textbooks and the next day on posters.
One of the biggest challenges of commercial photography is creating sets of images that have this kind of generalized appeal—but it’s also something you should keep in mind when expanding your licensing portfolio. Here are our tips for creating a timeless collection of images relevant to a range of different applications.
Tip # 1: Deduce
You might feel pressure to define your style or conform to a fixed aesthetic, but in creative licensing you want to target a wide range of potential customers. That means doing what you do best, but also experimenting with different styles and genres to see what works.
Current business trends range from the return to nature and the protection of our oceans, which can be depicted in landscapes and adventure photos, to remote work and the introduction of the on-demand economy, which can be illustrated in business /lifestyle photos. Even in a specific niche, such as the CBD wellness trend or the rise of minimalist grooming routines, you can cover a variety of genres, from product /beauty photos to conceptual flatlays to docu-style environmental portraits.
Creative stock photographers adapt and evolve over time, and often that means trying out new genres and keeping track of what’s being sold. For example, you may find that even if you started out as a simple landscape photographer, your hiking photo films with models end up selling better.
We recommend that you check the trend categories on 500px and Getty Images, such as food, travel, street, still life, fashion, etc., even if this is not your area of expertise. Do not be afraid to change it and venture into a new territory.
Tip # 2: Be inclusive
Commercial photography plays an important role in action stereotypes, eliminating prejudice and promoting acceptance. According to the research, 70% of millennials are more likely to choose one brand than another if the first shows the diversity and inclusion in their advertising.
Today’s customers and brands crave images that break the mold and celebrate diversity in all its forms, from inclusivity of size to inclusivity of genre and everything in between. Commercial photographers can maintain momentum by amplifying the voices of their communities. Work with friends of all ages, ethnicities, identities, etc., or find local talent on social media for your next photo film. Document the diverse cultural landscape of your hometown.
All too often, image buyers look for photos around a specific topic—family dinners, coworking spaces, eco-travel, etc.—but if you search for these terms and only find photos with a demographic group or group of people, you’re likely to ignore them. Photos that accurately represent real customers, on the other hand, sell again and again.
When working with templates to create inclusive images, remember to keep the communication lines open. Ask for comments: what types of photos would you like to see in ads and what topics do you still think are underrepresented? Capture a variety of group photos celebrating community and belonging, then take individual photos that highlight each model’s personality. Take part in any photo film with a positive, uplifting and collaborative attitude and keep your ears open for ideas.
Tip # 3: Expand your shot list
While we are about models, do not forget to get all sorts of combinations on the set; even if you plan to film a family dinner, you can also break it and do a couple session, solo portraits with the children, cooking photos, etc.You can also capture some hand washing details while you are at it.
Make a change of outfits and look for a place that has a number of different backgrounds; a city park, for example, could have lush paths, playgrounds and vibrant gardens in one place. A studio or a house offers even more freedom to bring things and move them. You only have one chance to have them all in one place, so enjoy it and capture as many different scenarios and perspectives as possible.
It can help to keep an ongoing list of commercial photography film Ideas. Many of these ideas could potentially be combined and executed in a single shot, saving you time and money and getting more high-quality photos for your licensing portfolio. Don’t forget to send your list of images to your models so they know what to expect and invite them to add them if they wish.
Tip # 4: leave room for improvisation
In photography, diversity is the name of the game, so it’s important to move between poses and try new things with your camera and models. Even when you’ve completed your formal plan list, you can keep searching and generating new ideas.
A simple context switch can expand the possibilities of a shot; approach for some portraits and then expand for some environmental shots that highlight your environment. Mix your point of view so that there are not all similar medium or wide shots. Capture different formats and orientations (portrait,landscape, etc.) so that different customers can use different cultures.
Use a variety of targets; open this aperture for a shallow depth of field to draw attention to your subject, or shift your attention to attract different types of customers. “Stay ready to move your models to capture different perspectives,” suggests the 500px content team.
When working with models, whether professional or not, it is important to capture real emotions (this means that not too happy a model laughs while eating salads). Improvising on set and having your models participate in activities you love can help create those natural and emotional expressions, so ask your models to forget they’re there and have fun with it.
Tip # 5: Make it universal
“While content with templates is sold more often, sometimes buyers are looking for content that doesn’t show anyone,” explains the content team. For this reason, it can be helpful to mix general landscapes or still lifes while photographing with models. Have your models in the frame and then take pictures without them.
A family photo film, for example, could include portraits of the family’s pet; a lifestyle film could include photos of food illuminated by windows, or a themed hiking session could include panoramic views of the wilderness. An outdoor fashion session could become an urban / urban landscape session. The more categories and genres you can cover, the more versatile the photos will be.