I am writing this piece with writers or “online writers” like me in mind. Since writing for Associated Content, I wanted to use a couple of images to support my articles. And then one day, I got in the mood to write about travelling. It then dawned on me that this time, I can use my own photos and not worry about any form of copyright infringement.
Let’s face it, on this day and age people violate trademarks and copyrights on the Internet without even realizing it. Some ill-meaning folks do it deliberately, and unfortunately for the rightful IP owners, some get away with it. So when it comes to using photos for your articles, you either buy, use a professional’s help, or do it yourself to avoid any legal problem or any form of inconvenience caused by doing something wrong, like trusting the wrong websites. Now, how does an online writer do it — build a personal catalogue of stock images?
What camera do you need? One important point that I would like to raise is that you do not need a professional photographer’s camera to start building a library of images. You do not need a high MP (megapixel) unless you’re planning on getting really serious with photography. If you have a 5 megapixel camera, that is more than enough for images that you may use for your online articles Please follow this link to learn more about stock photos. Once you’re clear about the purpose of stock images, visualize how you can build your own catalogue of photos, and what you can do about these photos.
What are your possible subjects? Visualize by thinking of your life. You go out of town or out of the country every once in a while. You have pets. You have, or know some kids. You eat, you shop, you walk on the streets or ride public transportation. You have plants, or go to places where there are plants. You go to an office (or know some people who do). You use kitchen utensils. I am tempted to go on and on to list the things that you and I usually do or have. The bottom line is this: you can take photos of anything that you can write about. And you know that when you’re in a good mood, you can write about anything under the sun. Isn’t that awesome? Not only are you able to create something from anything that interests you, you can also create something else for what you have already created!
How do you make the most out of a trip? I like travelling, so I’m going to stay on that concept as I share with you some tips on building a decent catalogue of stock photos. When you go to a certain place and you want to write about it, you can focus on any of these elements in your trip: sights (landmarks and sceneries), people, food and drinks, and activities. If you want to write a little something about each element, then by all means do it and maximize your travel experience by coming up with different articles with different central themes. Right here, in the moment when you’re thinking on how to plan what to write, do you begin to think of what photos to take.
What are travel sub-categories? When you’re on a trip, take enough photos of yourselves, but take more photos of the scenes around you. Take candid photos of a crowd in public places, take photos of the exotic food and colorful drinks, take photos doing all sorts of things that most residents and tourists do in that place (swimming, surfing, etc.) and take photos of anything that is unique or special in that place; for instance, a very old and defunct railway or a public road sign.
Can you use photos of strangers? Here’s a little warning, it is not right to use photos of an individual to support your articles unless you are writing an editorial piece. Using an individual’s image without his or her permission is a quick road to privacy invasion or wrongful representation. We will start with the basics, so we will not use images of an individual. What we can use is an image of a crowd in public places, i.e. parks, streets, beaches. The farther you are from your subject (crowd), the less recognizable the faces of the individuals in a crowd, the better. The purpose of that image is to show your reader your surroundings. It may also be to show them a common clothing preference. Take note that you can use your crowd photos anywhere over and over because the photos are yours.
What do you do with food besides gulping them down? When I dine with family and friends, they don’t start digging in until I give them the signal that “it’s all good.” And by that, I mean I have taken decent photos. Everyone knows that I love taking photos of the food we eat. Now, unless you’re eating in a high profile restaurant where the high profile chef does not want a very close shot of his or her stunning and extraordinary food plating, your food photos are safe for publications anywhere. Shoot close, though. Close enough to exclude details of a restaurant’s interior design in your image, but not so close to miss the entire point of the plating. Take note that you can use your food photos anywhere over and over because the photos are yours.
What is a model release? What if you really, really want to take a stranger’s photo and you know you could use such a facial expression over and over in your future articles? If you’re thinking this, then you’re really getting the idea of stock photography. So then, have model releases and business cards ready in your bag all the time. A model release will indemnify you from any form of complaint if your subject or model allows you to use his or her photo for commercial purposes. Some will sign, some will not, some will ask for payment, others might run from you. That is why professional stock photographers get professional models to build their catalogue. Since you are probably thinking of writing articles about relationships, the workplace, or parenting, you should know that you don’t have to look far. Ask your friends and family to pose and sign model releases for you.
Congratulations, you have just learned a thing or two about stock photography. As you may have noticed by now, stock photography operates on certain rules and guidelines. The key is for you to start taking photos, saving it in organized folders labeled as “food,” “people,” etc. So you can easily pull an image you own when you need one (and hopefully you have it). And by the way, you should know that a lot of things do not need model releases — trees, sunset, sunrise, sky, your kitchen utensils, your pets, your plants, and a lot more. You get the idea. Take photos of these things, too. Label them appropriately; save them in properly named folders for easy access and retrieval later. You’ll never know when you’ll need an image of whatever.
In the spirit of doing the most with what you’ve got, do something more with your own stock photos than saving them into your computer for future use. Submit your photos to paying stock photo sites, some of which were mentioned in this link that I asked you to follow earlier.
Good luck. Live, write, take photos, enjoy!