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AOP seminar with Zoe Whishaw

Shooting for the Creative Marketplace is the preferred used term for shooting stock photography according to Commercial Photography Consultant Zoe Whishaw. Before I moved away from Leicester I attended a seminar led by Zoe at the AOP Gallery in London. I decided to attend the seminar as shooting for stock is something that Dave & I are interested in whilst we travel along & soak up what we see. I guess it’s a way that we can hopefully make some money back on the trip, but also a new challenge from a photography point of view…shooting with an idea in mind, perhaps thinking about how some of our imagery can be used in this “creative market place”.

Along with other AOP members & a few non-members I went with open ears & mind to see whether I could go away feeling inspired & with a fresh approach to shooting for stock. I knew the seminar wasn’t going to be focused on bland stock imagery, imagery sold in bulk from micro-stock agencies such as i-stock or Shutterstock because the introduction to the workshop described it as offering a more creative approach & thinking about more innovative ways of shooting stock. So in many ways my expectations were high.

Zoe introduced herself as a Commercial Photography Consultant, a title that belongs to very few & one she practically thought up for herself. Her previous 17 years with Getty as a senior creative & current profile of mentoring professional photographers & photo-agents certainly allowed for an insightful & imaginative approach to this workshop.

So what did I learn? To summarise, for Dave & I to be serious in our approach to shooting stock whilst on our travels we need to challenge ourselves creatively, have conceptual meaning behind our imagery, be playful with our subject matter, think more laterally about what we’re attempting to shoot & re-invent previous ways & concepts of shooting. These are just a few things for us to think about. We can place this in any part of the world as long as we look at the usability of the image. When it comes to travel stock photography the main thing we need to focus on is what draws us to a place i.e; the mood, the feel, the atmosphere, what is iconic about it, re-inventing old cliche’s & believe that there is real beauty or emotion within a place & the people that we encounter either constructed or un-constructed.

We will seek inspiration & advice from other well-known creative stock photographer’s & it would be great if our work was accepted for rights managed or royalty free usage by stock libraries. Photographer’s that stood out in Zoe’s seminar were Tim Flach, Susana Vera & Tim Macpherson because their work emphasises character, real-life moments, controversy & often imperfection. Photographer’s who not only sell their photography through macrostock channels, but also would use them in their portfolio. That is what we want to do, create imagery that we are proud of, have fun with & would include in our portfolio as well as see it distributed through a photo agent.

There are many areas to investigate further such as model & property release & also which agency we think would want to sell our work. So let the research begin because this is a venture that will inspire, re-form & challenge the way we shoot.

It was great to meet Zoe & be able to discuss options, think up keywords for usable imagery & brainstorm around how certain brands would use that type of imagery.

(Leica M9, Summicron-M 50mm f2.0, processed in Photoshop)

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