Taking your own stock photos is pretty easy to do. You can also use this exercise as a way of improving your photography skills. You may also find yourself coming up with new ideas for content. Either way, you end up with photographs you own—and no worries about buying photos or using someone else’s image without permission.
Why Take Stock Photos?
For bloggers, images are essential to telling and sharing our content. We use images to illustrate our topic. We include pinnable images in our posts to help our pins go viral on Pinterest. The bigger the image, the better on Google+. Instagram is all about images. Even Twitter is including images!
Stock photos are basically generic images. More conceptual and vague stock photos can be tweaked to fit the topic of a blog post, if you don’t have the perfect photo already. They can help illustrate a point being made in the post visually.
When you own the stock photo, you can tweak it to your heart’s content. When you purchase a stock photo, you are limited by the restrictions placed by the photographer on the work.
Before you start, study other bloggers’ work. Find images that stick with you, and try to understand how the blogger composed the picture to capture your attention. Go outside your niche and study photo-rich topics like food, home decorating, and crafts.
Save yourself editing time by composing the image in your camera. If you’re doing a close-up of an object, crop as much as you can out of the picture. Take horizontal and vertical versions of the image. The horizontal version is good for blog posts, Instagram, Facebook, and Google+. Vertical images do better on Pinterest; plus, they lend themselves better to titles.
Become familiar with the rule of thirds. Imagine a photo being divided into thirds horizontally and vertically, like the example below. The most visually pleasing composition is when the subject is placed where the lines intersect. Looking at the photo below, I should have moved over to the right to shift the chairs over to the left.
Avoid centering your subject in the photo. Use leading lines to draw the eye to the subject. The best leading lines are diagonal ones; they will cross the photo, rather than going perfectly horizontal or vertical.
Stock Photo Images to Take
- Objects in your niche
- Colors: bright ones, and items with unusual colors
- Objects appearing as letters
- Action shots of your relatives (hands reaching, brushing teeth, dog-walking, etc)
- Close-up shots of everyday household objects (coffeemaker, bathtub, fireplace, comfy chair)
- Artsy things (craft corner, hobbies you’re working on, original paintings, sewing table, yarn collection)
- Computer keyboards
- Notebooks & pens
- Holding hands
- Kids playing
- Empty street
- Field of flowers
- Birds in sky
- Kids reading
- Kids crafting
- Kids cooking
- Signs: stop, one-way, caution, etc.—can be used in a lot of ways.
- Stairs, windows, doors
- Cars whizzing by
- People on phones
- Joggers, start lines and finish lines
- Birds in flight or in nests
- Vanity plates on cars
- Old cars
- Every time you see something and think, "Oh, that’s neat," take its picture.
- The four seasons: traditional and nontraditional activities for each one
- When you are vacation or traveling, look at architecture, and abstract items.
- You can do pictures of your kids; however, do it in a way so that the face isn’t in the picture. For example, if they’re in a group, do the backs of their heads. Or the details like the hands and feet.
- Money, coins, cash register
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