Think of all the stereotypes that stock photography has produced over the years, from the smiling woman eating salad to the cliché business handshake. Now more than ever, businesses are looking for photos that authentically reflects the world we live in. Content that their customers can relate to.
Here's what makes an image look authentic and ultimately, credible:
Facial Expressions and Realism
Do the models really look like they are happy/laughing, or does it feel forced and ungenuine. This might sound simple, but pulling it off isn’t always as easy as it sounds. Regardless of the sentiment or message the model is trying to convey, the expression should look as natural as possible, same for the posture and body language.
Also, customers are often looking for 'real people' they can relate to and not only professional models that look like... professional models. It's also crucial that models are using props, tools or equipment, accurately.
Woman sitting at the table full of food happily talking to friends by garetsworkshop
A similar effect can be achieved with good artificial lighting, but as much as possible, we are looking for images that reflects life as we see it and therefore, natural looking lighting helps. Choosing the best time of day will produce better results. For example shooting early at sunrise or later at sunset will give colors a richer tone, while also producing softer shadows.
You can shoot inside on sunny days using indirect sunlight, or using reflectors to minimize the harshness of the shadows. In some cases, the shadows can even become part of the composition, as opposed to distract from the subject.
Close up of young father holding his newborn baby son by halfpoint
When reviewing images, we not only consider the previous aspects, but the composition also needs to be strong. Often less is more. You want to avoid clutterness and badly cropped elements. If there’s vertical lines in the composition, you need to ask yourself whether they are straight, slightly off, or do they have some distortion? Same with the horizon, is it perfectly level or is it just off by enough that it looks unintentional and distracting? All things that should be considered when taking the photo, but also during post-processing.
Room with communal table by bialasiewicz
Rarely will photographers upload photos directly from the camera without adding their personal touch to it (levels, contrast, exposure, color balance, etc) but it’s important to avoid overdoing it. We want images that feel true, so you want to avoid adding vintage filtering, yellow tints, artificial lens flares/sun effects, graphics, text, etc. Customers can always apply filters if need be, but removing them is often nearly impossible.
Painting toy ship with father by Pressmaster
We are also looking for content representing people of all origins, backgrounds, cultures and lifestyles. When we talk about diversity, this includes:
- Sexual orientation
- Non-traditional jobs
- People with disabilities (physical/mental)
Office colleagues laughing over pizza and beers after work by FlamingoImages
Woman Working in Garage by seventyfourimages
Doing physical exercise by Pressmaster
Muslim family relaxing and playing at home by Rawpixel
Thoughtful young asian woman drinking coffee in the terrace of a by nenetus
Newlywed Gay Couple Dancing on Wedding Celebration by Rawpixel
We live in a world of diversity and the content produced should reflect that. So, keep it real!