Five Tips for Taking Better Stock Photos

Selling stock photos is a great way to earn extra income from your photography hobby. However, with a bit of practice and some tips from the pros, you can elevate your stock photos to the next level and get your pictures and images featured in advertising, web, and print.

taking better stock photos

1. Maximize Your Camera’s Capabilities
Set the camera’s resolution to the highest setting your camera will allow. Higher resolutions allow you to take pictures with finer detail and more vibrant colors. It also makes your photos more usable by designers and producers who need your photos to look great in digital formats and HD. High resolution photos are easier to edit and crop. If your camera’s resolution are limited, consider upgrading to a new camera. High resolution photos take up more disk space, so get a nice sized memory card, and possibly an external hard drive to store your shots.

2. Compose Your Shots With The End User In Mind
Snapping photos haphazardly might give you a nice bump in quantity, but quality is what sells when it comes to stock photography. Keep your end user in mind when dreaming up shots. Think of how your photo might be used. Consider the angle that’s not only interesting to the eye, but pleasing and usable from a print or advertising perspective. Often times, you’ll need lots of negative space for copy.

Use classical photography techniques to frame your shot. Use the rule of thirds to space out primary interest and focal points. Imagine your final image split into even thirds, and your primary subjects should sit on those lines. Try to avoid splitting the image in half with horizons, solid lines, and people. Keep your backgrounds simple and clutter-free so that the audience can focus on your subject matter. But remember, every situation is different, and sometimes a great photo will break these rules of thumb.

3. Get Close
Unless it’s a scenic shot, fill the entire frame with your subject. Photos taken from a distance look amateurish and cluttered. Simplicity is better in stock photography, especially because end-users want the photos they purchase to portray a single theme or subject. Put on that high powered zoom lens, and get as close as possible. You can use high resolution settings if you don’t have a zoom lens, as you can always crop a bit later. And remember, focus, focus, focus. No one wants a blurry photo.

4. Don’t add borders or Instagram-like effects.
Just don’t. Make your photos look clean and clear. Let the designers and producers affect the photo later if they want. Frames and cartoonifying a shot makes your photo look cheap, and niche, limiting its usability.

5. Be Stingy With the Flash
Take photos in outdoor, natural lighting first. Using flash in poorly lit locations can cause ugly reflections and other undesirable shadows, not to mention red eyes and pale faces. You can avoid using a flash with a slower shutter speed (just be sure to keep it steady), or with a higher ISO speed. That doesn’t mean never use a flash. Flash is great for eliminating shadows, especially in bright light situations that leave shadows in unsightly places (like under eyes, or in corners).

Check out this great video on taking better photos — and remember, practice makes perfect!

Scary and Mysterious Stock Music Pick of the Week

With Halloween right around the corner, we put together a spooky little pick of the week featuring a royalty free stock music theme by Premium Trax combined with some haunting stock footage of a mountain sunrise along with a stock photo of a pile of skulls with some fancy vintage effects. We figure all that’s left is a few horror sound effects from the Productiontrax library, and you’ve got yourself a nice piece of media to scare the neighborhood children.

Scary and Mysterious Theme features deep and dark orchestral strings, an almost-cliché bell-like synth sound, big drum hits and scary sound effects. It dark, mysterious character makes it perfect for dramatic suspense movies and videos. We combined this track with stock footage clip 372369, an otherwise harmless video of a mountain sunrise, and immediately felt something sinister brewing. We recommend pairing the track with other clips of fog and shadows to achieve a similar fee.

For the stock photo, we chose a photo that’s disturbing on its own — photo ID 325152: a pile of skulls. We affected it with some aged film effects, and it added that horror picture feel right in. The beauty of this track is in its ability to creepify even the most mundane of images. We recomend taking some shots of a city street at night and affecting it the same way. You’ll see what we mean.

Photo Editor App for Android Features and Photo Filters

Aviary offers an improved application perfect tor editing stock photos on the go, with new filters, adjustments, and manipulation tools.

If you are an android user who loves snapping, tweaking and sharing photos from your Smartphone online, here’s some good news. Aviary, a photo editing service has already announced a major update to its Android photo editing application. The recently released version 3.0 of Aviary for Android features a redesigned interface. This can only mean one thing; things will look so much better than what we had previously witnessed. It also comes with some essential new features meant to beautify users’ photos. The improved Enhance tool is probably the most notable feature of the apps additions. The best part is the fact that Aviary is absolutely free to download, and it is made readily available in the Google Play Store. This means that users wont have to incur extra costs just to have photos that are extremely pleasing to the eye.

stock photo editor for mobile editing
Aviary 3.0 is an excellent on-the-go tool for editing your stock photos.

Unlike the previous single-tap tool that was used for smart automatic adjustments, the Enhance tool now comes with three distinct settings including Illuminate, Color Fix and Hi-Def. Each of these three settings has a way of manipulating settings such as brightness, contrast and sharpness, and they are all collaborating to bring the most magnificent colors out of your photos. Another noteworthy aspect of this latest version is that it helps to save a little space on the devices since the app’s file size has been reduced by 10 percent.

Another feature that will be popular with Android users is the Woodland Effect Pack, which is a set of filters that is designed to enhance outdoor photos. This feature has been available for iOS for some time, and Android users can now have a glimpse of how it works. Aviary also made an addition of stickers that are installable through an in-app store, an advanced Focus tool, as well as a Color Splash to version 3.0. As far as the changes to the interface are concerned, users will be pleased to realize that the pages of tools have been removed, and a scrolling toolbar has been made available to take their place.

Aviary is undoubtedly the best option for photo editing for your website or app for a number of reasons. Most users commend it for its powerful and customizable nature. Its integration also takes a few minutes, making it quite efficient. aviary comes preloaded with a numerous intuitive features that users cant fail to love. In addition, the premium partners are usually eligible for revenue share through the optional in-app purchases, which can be automatically deployed within updating their apps. Another noteworthy aspect about aviary is that it allows users to customize the toolset, choose their preferred languages and match the look and feel of the editor to their apps for a completely flawless user experience. Premium partners also enjoy the benefit of choosing to utilize the custom icons and entirely removing the Aviary branding among many other things. Aviary also works hand in hand with all major platforms to ensure that users have the greatest photo editing experience in all the web and mobile apps they check.

The huge update featured a sleek and streamlined interface that is highly optimized to highlight photos by switching over to a darker theme as well as reducing padding throughout the photo editor. The company has also drastically improved the very popular enhance tool by adding up a new Hi-Def feature, which sharply defines and smartens an illuminate function. This illuminate function is ideal for improving photos that are poorly lit, as well as renaming Balance to Color Fix, which does incredible color correction to photos. In addition, the Text Tool now supports multiline text editing. Just like all SDK releases, Aviary 3.0 Android includes many under-the-hood tweaks as well improvements, including support for whopping 30 megapixels for premium partners, and a 10% reduction in SDK bundle size. The 10% reduction means that a smaller file size for Android app developers, and less precious hard disk space on the devices. If you are an Android user, you can take this opportunity to utilize this tool and get to enjoy all the benefits that are associated with this technology that has hit the Smartphone and tablet market.

Sell Stock Music and Sound Effects on Your Own Site

Now you can turn any webpage into your own personal royalty free stock media store, complete with production music, sound effects and audio, stock footage, and stock photos, thanks to our brand new remote store widgets. While setting up your own remote store widget it super simple, we’ve put together a short tutorial of how to get up and running in a matter of minutes.

admin menuStep 1: Log in to your Productiontrax contributor account, and click on the “Remote Store Widget” link in the main menu bar on the left side of the page. Don’t have an account? Create one — it’s simple and it’s free. From there, click the link to create a new widget, or select one from your widget list if you already have one set up.

Step 2: Once you’re in the widget editor, add a catchy title and tag line using the editor options on the right hand side, and select the contributor logo image you want to use on your widget. As soon as you make changes, your changes will save, and the widget will update automatically.

search filtersWe’ve added some display filters to the widgets that make them uber-useful for any contributor. First, you’ll notice a menu that allows you to either show media from just your account or show media from all of Productiontrax. The former will come in useful for those wanting to sell just their own stock audio files, while the latter option is great for leveraging the entire Productiontrax royalty free library, essentially creating a complete copy of the library on your site. You’ll also notice that you can specify which kinds of media to display in your widget – either royalty free music, sound effects, stock photos, or stock footage. You can select one, all, none, or any combination in between.

When designing your widget, remember that you can create as many widgets as you like, and put them on as many websites as you like. So, you might want to create a separate widget for your stock music and sound effects (or one for each), one for your stock footage, and a separate one for your stock photos. Figure out if multiple stores works best for your media, and if so, set your filters accordingly.

darkhive skinStep 3: Select your colors and theme out your widget to match your website. In most cases, you’ll need to use our color pickers or you’ll have to know the hex color codes to match your website’s look. Our editor allows for both, and we have some pre-styled buttons to match. Here’s where you can take a little shortcut, and use one of our pre-set themes (check out the dark hive theme at right). Using these themes are what we like to call inline style overrides — so any changes you make to your widget’s colors will be changed at launch time when a visitor happens on your your site. To use a style override, just scroll to the bottom of the editor, and pick the style you like.

checkoutStep 4: Get your code and paste it in to your website’s HTML. We provide the code you need to display your widget on your website seamlessly. And it’s a single line of simple HTML. Simply copy and paste from the code box at the top of the editor (or from the selected inline style override panel at the bottom, if you’re using one of those. Then launch your website, and bask in the glory that is your remote store widget.

Some features to note:

All credit card processing AND file downloading is done via SSL right in the widget. Your visitor never leave your site for any part of a transaction. The widget is a fully-featured track preview, shopping cart, checkout and download tool. We recommend strongly that you use HTTPS on your site, and an HTTPS connection is required in the widget’s src attribute.
• The widget is stretchy horizonatlly. It will expand to fill the space if you change the widget’s width attribute in the HTML code. The widget will not change height at this time.
• As of this writing, video playback may not work on all browsers due to a browser security restriction. We’re working on this, but the widget plays video on most browsers to a barebones extent.

Hexagon Metrology Uses Production Music for Industrial Video

Hexagon Metrology, the leading innovator and manufacturer of worldwide dimensional measuring equipment and software, produced an in-house video to introduce a new industrial product, the ROMER INFINITE 2.0. In the past, Hexagon used production music from Productiontrax.com for internal training videos as well as for customer use.

William Fetter, Director of Marketing and Communications, says, “We love tools like productiontrax.com, where we can get access to high quality media instantly, so we can complete our projects faster than ever before.” The video shows the enhanced usability and performance of the latest version over its predecessor. The portable CMMs are used to inspect stationary parts that are either impractical or impossible mobility in over 100 different industries the major segments being automotive, aerospace, defense and heavy machinery.  

The in-house video for ROMER took less than 2 weeks to complete. Hexagon Metrology used Pinnacle Studio for the production of the video, Swishmax for the animations, and Swishvideo to covert the video to a standalone projector for the web. They combined some of their own original digital footage with digital still photos, flash animation, stock photo and video. To help promote their product they turned to YouTube which made the video easily accessible to the public.

 “We were looking for something that was corporate feeling, yet unobtrusive—we had a complete narrative soundtrack, so the music had to support, but not intrude,“ says William Fetter. “We were looking for a modern soundtrack without being too edgy or aggressive. After listening to a lot of different tracks on Productiontrax.com, we found just what we were looking for. We love tools like productiontrax.com, where we can get access to high quality media instantly, so we can complete our projects faster than ever before.”

For more information about Hexagon Metrology please visit www.HexagonMetrology.us

Stock Photos and Pixlr: Editing Your Images for Free

Pixlr
Pixlr is an excellent online image editor for editing your stock photos.
If you’re like me, you’re on the go. A lot. I’m finding it increasingly more and more difficult to find time to edit media, let alone do my daily work! This is why I’ve been turning to more mobile services and making almost every aspect of business portable so that I can work wherever I am.

Enter Pixlr. Pixlr (http://www.pixlr.com) has been around for quite some time now, but has recently become one of my go-tos for image editing. Whether I’m cleaning up some stock photos, or working on graphics for the new Productiontrax design (unveiling very very soon!), Pixlr has become an invaluable tool, and I’m a huge fan.

Pixlr works exactly like Photoshop, minus a few higher end features and image exporting options (for example, it can’t add IPTC data or XMP tags, and you can only export to a handful of popular photo formats). Limitations aside, however, Pixlr is stable, solid, and well coded. It works brilliantly, and I can do just about anything I need to in order to create stunning images and stock photos, from gradients and fills, to transparency and high quality filter effects. And best of all, it’s free.

Don’t get me wrong, software developers deserve every penny they make from creating indespensable software, but after my 4th system update in as many months, and having to work in multiple platforms, I couldn’t justify another few hundred bucks to update Photoshop… again… or the extra licenses. Pixlr, on the other hand, is always there, right in my browser. And whether I’m at home on my computer, in the studio, or on the road with my laptop, Mac or PC, I always have an image editor.

No, Autodesk didn’t pay me for this review, it’s just that awesome.

Huh, huh, huh, fire, huh, huh.

New royalty free music on Productiontrax.com this week:
Be sure to check out our featured contributor of the day on Twitter for even more great tracks!

Royalty Free Music
New Royalty Free Background Music
Need something energetic, yet unobtrusive to sit behind a narration on a podcast or business powerpoint presentation? Or maybe you need a music bed for your next advertisement? Check out these specially crafted background tracks.

Arabian/Middle-Eastern Tracks – More Affordable Than Gas
The turmoil in the Middle East is on everyone’s mind, so we’re making it easier for you to produce projects about out of control oil prices. Fill up your tank with fresh Arabian/ Middle-Eastern World grooves without having to give up a kidney.

Sound Effects
Royalty Free Comedy Sound Effects
If your jokes just aren’t as funny as our marketing people think they are, nothing says “laugh now” better than one of our thousands of comedy sound effects. From laugh tracks to boings and arruuuuuuugggaaahs, we’ve got your stand-up arsenal covered.

Stock Footage

Stock Footage: Fire

We’ve got a collection of fire video footage that will leave even Beavis and Butthead drooling. Huh, huh huh huh, huh. Add some heat to your next project with these shots in HD and SD. Fire video also makes for awesome background projections for concerts and happy hour.

Stock Photos
Get Outdoors with Naturescapes Stock Photos
Whether you’re working on a print project for nature activists, or designing a vacation activity website, these stunning hi-resolution stock photos from professional photographers around the globe will add that natural outdoorsy feel with ease. No credits, no hassles — the best stock photo deal on the planet!

DJ Elements
New DJ Elements: Loops & Beats
Keep those turntables turning with awesome new beats and loops in the Productiontrax.com DJ Elements section. Perfect for mash-ups, live events, and anything else you can think of.

In Like a Lion, Out Like a Monkey’s Uncle

New royalty free music on Productiontrax.com this week:

Royalty Free Music
New Film Score & Soundtrack Cuts
Looking for that special cue? Look no further. Our Film Score & Soundtrack category is jam packed with hundreds of new tracks that will provide the perfect underscore for your next big scene.

Only One More Week ’till Mardi Gras!
Only one more week until Mardi Gras, so put the finishing touches on your Fat Tuesday projects with dixieland and ragtime jazz tracks from PT. Be sure to check out our selection of authentic New Orleans & Second-Line cuts as well!

Sound Effects
Gear up for Spring with New Nature Ambience Sound Effects
Spring is finally here… well by our office, anyway. The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and the chipmunks are, well, you know… Add a little sunshine to your next project with some of these new nature sounds and ambience.

Stock Footage
Downtown Cityscape Stock Footage
Finalize your parade route with striking downtown skyline and city location stock footage. Available as instant download, quicktime format, in a variety of shapes and sizes. Find the perfect clip today!

Stock Photos
Get Fit with Exercise & Fitness Stock Photos
We confess, we miss-spelled “mind” last week. Maybe, had we been getting enough exercise, our brains would be functioning properly. Help us get motivated to get moving by downloading these professional exercise and fitness stock photos for your next project.

DJ Elements
New DJ Elements: Loops & Beats
Keep those turntables turning with awesome new beats and loops in the Productiontrax.com DJ Elements section. Perfect for mash-ups, live events, and anything else you can think of.

Animal Sound Effects, Corporate Stock Photos and more on Productiontrax.com!

The Productiontrax.com team has assembled a list of the latest royalty free music, sound effects, stock footage, and photos uploaded to the Productiontrax.com library. Click here to visit Productiontrax.com
Here is a sample of the newest royalty free media on Productiontrax.com:
Background Music for Film
Royalty Free Smooth Jazz Music
City Ambience Sound Effects
Corporate Stock Photography
Latest DJ Elements
For the latest Productiontrax news and information, or to leave us comments, visit us on Facebook, Myspace, Twitter or read our blog. And don’t forget to send information about your projects to yourproject@productiontrax.com.
Thank you for your continued support of Productiontrax.com. We look forward to providing media for all your upcoming projects.

Horror Film Moods, Sci-Fi Sound Effects and more on Productiontrax.com

The Productiontrax.com team has assembled a list of the latest royalty free music, sound effects, stock footage, and photos uploaded to the Productiontrax.com library. Click here to visit Productiontrax.com
Here is a sample of the newest royalty free media on Productiontrax.com:
Horror Film Moods
Royalty Free Orchestral Music
Sci-Fi Sound Effects
Artwork Stock Photography
Latest DJ Elements
For the latest Productiontrax news and information, or to leave us comments, visit us on Facebook, Myspace, Twitter or read our blog. And don’t forget to send information about your projects to yourproject@productiontrax.com.
Thank you for your continued support of Productiontrax.com. We look forward to providing media for all your upcoming projects.