16 Nov, 2011 | Posted by: st


A Memorable Photo

-- using three

important "E"lements

Most editorial photographers approach their stock photography with a mission.

They have a point of view or a story to tell. They want to change people's minds or offer new insights about the environment, preservation, pets, religion, politics, alcoholism, civil rights, schools, and so on.

In a sense, they want to educate the public.

But educating the public to your way of thinking is a lost cause if you approach your mission solely with logic. As the saying goes, "Don't clutter this argument with the facts."

Plain logic very often does not win arguments. Psychologists tell us that how you say something (your body language, tone of voice, your facial expression, etc.) is much more convincing than what you say (the words).

With that in mind, when youíre ready to click your shutter, be ready to incorporate these three important "E's":


How does this apply to your stock photography? As a stock photographer, you don't "take" pictures, you "make" pictures.

In order to be convincing, your images must go beyond the visual representation of what you are depicting. In order to reach and to appeal to the widest possible audience, your pictures should evoke a mood.
A portrait of a cat, yes, evokes a mood, but a picture of a cat with a sore paw being attended to by a young teenager evokes a much stronger mood; i.e. conveys emotion.

They say the Super Bowl enjoys a TV viewing audience of 250 million. The Academy Awards presentation attracts an amazing ten times that amount. The broadcasts of the funerals of Mother Teresa, Princess Diana, and Michael Jackson drew even more.

And why is this information important to you? It reminds you that your photos not only have to be of top photographic quality, they must have emotion or entertaining value, to appeal to viewers.

Your viewers are interested in not only what information you can impart, but how you make them feel. Photo editors recognize this and will always choose a photo that allows readers to "read into a photo" over one that simply documents a landscape, a dramatic event, or disaster. Emotion, then, is an important element in each of your stock photos.


The world loves an entertainer, be it a sports figure, singer, movie star, author, politician, or daredevil.

As a creative stock photographer, you have the opportunity to weave an entertainment value into your pictures. There are plenty of ways to entertain your viewers through the use of color, humor, style, innuendo, and graphics.

I once talked with Richard Steedman, founder and director of what was one of New York's largest stock photo agencies, THE STOCK MARKET. When we discussed the "Information Age" we live in, he said, "No, it's not the Information Age, it's the 'Entertainment Age.'" What he meant by that, I think, is that we all value entertainment; it has a high priority in our lives; and today's world has more sophisticated sources of entertainment available to broader numbers of people than ever before.

Entertainment can be an escape from the woes of the world or from the doldrums, offers a break from routine, a light counterpoint to oneís responsibilities, an antidote. If your stock photography is entertaining, it increases its effectiveness and eventually its market value.


The final "E" is Excellence. Without excellent technical quality, composition, and design, your stock photos will be shut out from sales. Study photos that appeal to you in your area(s) of specialization. Figure out how the photographer achieved his/her excellent results. Use top-quality optics to evoke mood and entertain, and you'll produce winning stock photography.

As an editorial stock photographer you are going to find much more enjoyment when you are photographing subject matter that you like to take. Learn more about how to sell those pictures at PhotoSource International and the PhotoSourceBANK, Pine Lake Farm, 1910 35th Road, Osceola, WI 54020 USA. Rohn Engh is director of and publisher of PhotoStockNotes. E-mail: info[at]photosource[dot]com Fax: 1 715 248 3800; www.photosource.com



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