As an artist, it’s not hard to imagine that the work you create reflects the work that sociologists do. After all, you’re researching and creating content that captures the meaningful moments within society, culture, organizations, and social institutions. How often does your research lead you to concepts that explore the commonalities that resonate within our global community? The most successful artists in our industry are keenly aware of these relationships, drawing upon their ability to create content with concepts that blur territorial borders, race, and nationality.
This type of analytical research and approach to your work is a key component in reaching and selling through a global marketplace like Pond5. With that said, let’s examine a few primary categories. After all, there’s no better way to begin the New Year than by brushing up on the fundamentals and targeting important subjects.
Lifestyle content can easily look contrived. How you cast your talent is essential to the success of your shoot. It’s too easy to shoot stereotypes associated with concepts related to families, friends, couples, or individuals. Your talent should be chosen based on how naturally their actions translate on camera. Keep in mind that “real” body types will pay dividends as long as your talent is real but telegenic — this applies to all of the primary categories that utilize onscreen talent.
Shooting lifestyles is not restricted to where you live either — it’s a category that’s open to all contributors. Capturing people’s aspirations isn’t limited to one place, and more often than not, our clients are looking for a variety of global cultures to convey their message. One of the best ways to approach all of our primary categories is to produce a shoot that captures “a day in the life” of your subject. This concept is beneficial for clients who want to create a sequence from your work, and at the same time allows you to build a variety of themes into your shoot day.
Business shoots can cover a wide variety of themes, from telecommuting, small business, and startups to a corporate boardroom meeting. How, what, and where we conduct business is constantly in flux, so it’s crucial to be aware of new terms and trends that can assist you in applying the most contemporary vision to your work. In addition, the technology that you prop your shoots with and the clothing you choose for your talent to wear can also determine whether your work is short-lived or has the promise of a healthy shelf life. (A good shelf life is five years at the least.)
Similar to lifestyle or any other subject related to casting talent, business imagery always runs the risk of looking too contrived. Apply the same rules to your casting for business as you would for lifestyles. Demonstrate a diversity of race and age amongst your talent — casting a diverse group of talent for a scene without making it appear contrived can be challenging, but playing with a variety of combinations until you get the right mix is well worth the time before you start rolling. IBM’s new campaign is a great reference for tips on casting authentic and diverse talent, in addition to demonstrating strong business concepts and locations. The commercial clearly communicates a product that has a vast global network of users portrayed from a variety of businesses:
Meanwhile, those artists who create work with themes such as transportation, aerials, urban landscapes, and other subjects that don’t usually involve casting talent are encouraged to continue the great work. These content categories are just as important as the more specific themes, which is illustrated in another outstanding commercial from the same IBM campaign:
There’s no better or more attractive primary category than travel — assuming you’re fueling your own desires to get away in the process. There’s quite a bit of travel imagery out there, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t always need more. Choose a destination that you think would have wide a appeal, then look through Pond5’s collection to see what we already have and what might need updating or be another angle on the destination. A unique or newly discovered destination can potentially create a nice niche for you within this popular theme.
Travel is a subject that could easily be applied to your next business and lifestyle shoots, ultimately adding strength to the search. In addition, exotic destinations such as tropical beaches without people, can provide a powerful alternative for clients to use simply a location to support their message. Obtaining imagery that illustrates local culture and its people are highly recommended beyond your cast but only if you can secure a model and or property release. We highly suggest using the Easy Release app, which is especially handy if you’re traveling or shooting on the go.
There are over ten million colors that we’re capable of seeing, but the genesis of this vast color palette begins from the blending of the first three primary colors: red, yellow and blue. The same can be said about the primary content categories and the sub-categories that exist under them. There are endless combinations. It would be nearly impossible to to describe or illustrate each and every possible subject and theme combination related to our primary categories, but you can earn quite a bit of revenue by applying your own unique insight and voice with the same rules that govern color.
At first, it’s often better to hit a broader or more generic representation of the targeted category before you begin to mix your concepts. Eventually, if you decide to introduce more than one concept or primary idea into your shots, the greater potential exists for you to reach many more buyers from a variety of industries, which in turn can increase your viewership and sales.
With all of the above, keep in mind that it’s important to be original in your work. Even though we display our most popular media by sales with a dropdown filter, we stress that we don’t want you to copy the top selling images, but rather to interpret their concepts based on your own style and originality.
Throughout the year, we’ll continue to offer up insights on our industry’s primary categories, along with other creative anecdotes, informative articles, and shoot briefs to ensure that you’re fully prepared to tackle any subject or theme that you decide to take on. In the meantime, if you have any questions, just let us know in the comments!