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.

Royalty Free Production Music Pick of the Week – Sunny Side

Looking for something simple, fun, and modern? A royalty free music track that screams Apple or Google? Something personal, hip, and nostalgic? Look no further than Sunny Side by Toy Invention (Music ID 350610) this week’s Royalty Free Music Pick of the Week. This track is perfect for advertising campaings and is sure to appeal to the senses like a warm summer day.

We put together this video with a stock photo, ID 331081 and some nifty little filters to give you a little visual feedback as well.

License the full track here: http://www.productiontrax.com/royalty-free-music/350610

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.

Improved Camera and Windows OS Makes Nokia Smartphone Valuable Stock Photography Tool

Producing stock photos with a cameraphone? The drastically improved picture quality of the new Nokia Windows OS powered phone might be a great tool for amateur and pro photographers alike, an improvement that Nokia is betting on to improve sales.

Nokia Lumia as a Stock Photo Camera

Nokia as a phone company from Finland has been doing a lot to ensure that it able to keep up with the competition put in place by other companies. The unveiling of the Nokia Lumia which has a 41 megapixel camera that is great for stock photos is something that has caught the attention of many users. This is considering the high quality of pictures that users can be able to capture when they acquire this particular model of Nokia phone.

This is an aspect of this phone that Nokia as a company is hoping will boost its sales since there is stiff competition in the phone market. This is especially from the companies that make android phones which have gained a lot of use from users who love the flexibility of the android operating system. The high capability camera feature is something the other phone competitors have not been able to achieve and is something that can help the sales of Nokia.

Windows OS in Nokia Lumia

The use of Windows OS is something that is tricky for Nokia since; more people are now using android phones. Windows phones have not been appreciated as much but, with the improved features of the Nokia Lumia such as the 41 megapixel camera and added features, there is hope that sales will take a peak. This is because; with this phone users can be able to enjoy advanced picture quality as has never been seen before. For microstock photographers, having a powerful camera on their smartphone would also likely make the Nokia an invaluable tool for taking quick snapshots on the go. Combined with the new Windows OS, the phone would make an excellent addition to any photographer’s arsenal.

This will be courtesy of their Nokia Lumia which is now being sold for anyone who would like to enjoy this phone. The windows operating system in this phone is reliable and users do not expect any form of inconveniences. On the other hand, Nokia should expect some change in their sales since; they have been able to do something that no other phone company has accomplished in years. This is feature is also one that stands out on its own as critics have said that it is extraordinary.

Better camera components

The phone development business is one that requires a lot of innovation since; users expect a lot more from their company. Therefore, Nokia has been able to look into this matter through the incorporation of additional lens features in its Nokia Lumia such as the floating lens. This is a feature that allows the 41 megapixel camera to be able to maintain clarity in its pictures even when this camera is shaken. Sharper images are thus achieved with the use of the Lumia since it now has high resolution capabilities. At the same time, six lenses have also been included just to ensure that this camera attains high resolution as it is described.

This is all in an attempt by Nokia to better its sales considering that it faces a lot of competition which has been slowing down it sales over the years. With these features, there is a glimmer of hope that this company will once again get on its feet and compete will fellow mobile handset companies. This is a comeback that hopefully will help this company amid critics about whether this camera will help this company get out of its sales problem.

Need to penetrate the competitive phone market

It takes a lot in order to win users and in the case of the Lumia which is still a windows mobile phone, this still remains to be a challenge. This is because; there is the problem of accessing applications with a Windows mobile. However, Nokia still hopes that it will be able to get through the huddles of the turf mobile market. This is because it has been able to make a 41 megapixel camera on their windows phone considering that this is an achievement this company has attained.

There has been positive feedback about the issue of the 41 megapixel camera and from this, there still stands a chance for this company to get back on track. This company is still working its way out to ensure that, it is able to stabilize its sales which have been on the edge for some years now. In a positive light, there are chances that Nokia stands the chance to beat all the critics about its Windows phone and fair well in the phone development market.

Three Great Stock Photos for Print and Web

Looking for fresh new stock photos for your next web design gig? Need a still for one of your video projects? We’ve hand selected three great photos below, perfect for a range of projects from summer vacation, to the environment, to inner city issues and urbanization.

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Choosing Stock Photos That Sell

It has been said many times before, but in today’s age of visuals and multimedia, a picture is indeed worth a million words (and climbing). There is nothing more effective than the right photo at the right time optimized to be seen by the right customer. A smiling face can give the recommendation for a business that two pages of boring testimonials could never do (you do know that no one clicks on that testimonials page, don’t you?).

If you do not have the right photo, fear not. The right photo has already been taken for you; all that you have to do is find it. The right stock photos can easily serve as an introduction to your audience, and because it is professionally rendered, you can make sure that you do not miss even one wandering eye.

Imagine having professional models and the best cameramen in the world at the disposal of your company. Well, even if you don’t exactly have that contact list in your top right desk drawer, you can still access these types of assets for your company through the judicious use of stock photography.

You will be able to search an index for the appropriate model, scene and setting, background, etc. Nothing is left to chance with professional photos; there is always one that is perfect for your cause. Do not leave your website or your other marketing materials bare when you can easily have the most powerful weapon that a business can have to introduce itself: that perfect picture.

Productiontrax.com Celebrates 300,000th Royalty Free Production Music Upload

Phoenix, Ariz. (PRLeap) April 13, 2012 — Productiontrax.com (www.productiontrax.com), a leading provider of royalty free music, sound effects, stock footage and stock photos, today announced their 300,000th file upload. The milestone marks a doubling in size of the Productiontrax.com library since 2011.

Most of Productiontrax.com’s stock media comes from its user base of several thousand contributors like JH Kim, who added the 300,000th royalty free file this month. Kim’s contribution was a royalty free music track entitled Simple Pleasures Piano Loop 2, which sells for $12.95 for a commercial license.
“We’ve added several large libraries to our database over the past year, and continue to add content on a daily basis” says Productiontrax.com founder and CEO David Negron. “But our recent growth has been thanks to the work of our many individual contributors, who continue to show their creativity and talent, constantly adding fresh new content to Productiontrax.”

To account for the continued growth, Productiontrax.com is planning to roll out several new site features and an updated user interface later this month. “Having hundreds of thousands of files (as opposed to just thousands) requires changes in the way we present our library to the world,” Negron says. “We’ve put a lot of work into strengthening our platform from the ground up, and are working on a fresh new release that we think our customers and contributors will all appreciate.” Visitors to Productiontrax.com can expect to see changes early second quarter 2012.

Productiontrax.com, (www.productiontrax.com), a leader in online distribution and licensing of royalty free music and sound effects, enables customers to license superior-quality royalty free production music, sound effects, stock photos and stock video footage for use in film, television, and interactive media on an on-demand basis. As an innovator in online stock media, Productiontrax.com was the first site to allow creators of royalty free production music, sound effects, stock images and video to take an active role in licensing their work to the public. Productiontrax.com is dedicated to providing its customers with high-quality, yet affordable resources for multimedia productions. The music and images are 100% original, with new composers, new tracks and new images added everyday. Productiontrax.com is headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona and is a subsidiary of One Light Music Productions (www.onelightmusic.com).

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.