How to make and render photos for stock sites?
Nowadays, the leading role on the photo market belongs to the image banks. Thousands of people daily ask them for photos. Image bank is able to meet any customer requirements. In stock you will find everything from landscapes taken in Africa and Antarctica, to the banal at first sight things - for example, photos of path and bench that are made in a nearby park. But here's the fun begins! It may be that only you have exactly these path and bench.
But in order to sell stock images, they should have high quality. What kind of demands makes image banks?
- Image Size
Most image banks accept 3 - 4 megapixels photos (1200 or 1600 pixels by the short side). Please note that in case of a strong windowing the photo size can be significantly reduced. That should not be forgotten when downloading images to the image bank's website.
- The digital speckle and artifacts
Stock sites are scrutinizing pictures for digital speckle. As is well-known speckle appears in the result of excess of ISO when taking photos in poor lighting conditions or as an artifact when pulling of underexposed photo.
Even before taking photos you have to remember this and make a picture with the minimum ISO (do not install it above 400 for budget cameras and more than 800 for the premium cameras). It is better to use the additional light sources.
Also, you have to keep in mind that exist another source of speckle. When you add the acutance to photos while rendering you have to keep an eye on how much forces you put in - the main is don't overdo. Otherwise, you will get“speckled” photo instead good ones.
Never resave photos from JPEG to JPEG. In result you will have “nice” artifacts - photo may be “broken”. And do not try to stretch the picture to a larger size – you will have the same “broken” areas.
Save source file with high resolution (300 dpi) in TIFF or PSD format, in RGB colour model. If something needs to be corrected, go back to the source file.
- Focus and depth of field
Naturally, important details on the photo must be in focus. It should be remembered about DOF for avoiding the case when important details are bounds of DOF. Question arose, which exactly DOF should be chosen? There does not exist cross functional advice. You just have to know for which purposes your photo will be used. For example, if it is needed for background or in role of backsheet, the DOF should be not big. In case when image will be used for collage (for example, in advertisement), it is better to make the photo in closed diaphragm (f8-f16), which will ensure high DOF.
- Chromatic aberration
If your picture has chromatic aberration (decreasing of the image acutance, color distortions – the appearance of colored outlines, veins or spots) so, the photo bank will not accept this. CA can be easily overcome in Lightroom or Photoshop.
In Lightroom you have to put a check mark “Remove Chromatic Aberrations” in the “Lens Corrections” tab. In Adobe Photoshop go to the “Filter” → “Lens Correction” and in the opened window put a tick in the front of chromatic aberration.
- Correct exposure
One of the requirements for stock photography, as well as any other, is the correct exposure. Not allowed very high and very low levels of light. Make photos in RAW, then while rendering you will be able to pull the underexposed or overexposed picture.
Do not think that stocks have only “over-photoshoped” pictures. Advertising agencies, for example, buy an image with which the designer will be working and making his own adjustments. We may say that it becomes as the source file for further work with it. That is why the photo editing should be on minimum level. Also, the picture should look neatly: no stains with a matrix, dirt on the clothes of the models and so on.
It should be remembered, for which purpose stock images are purchased. Most of them will be used for commercial purposes, for advertising. Such photos also are using in newspapers, magazines, Internet publications. Therefore, be sure to think what exactly you are going to film and who your intending purchaser is.
Have nice pictures!