Tips on How to Turn Abstract Concepts to Effective Stock Images

The stock image industry is filled to the brim with all kinds of images that cater to a global market. The intent is to cover the customers’ image needs. A lot of these are for straightforward images such as product shots but there is also a huge market for images that present an abstract concept, such as a visual representation of the concept of ‘business’ or ‘health’.  Oftentimes, these kinds of shots are harder to capture since you are trying to transform an idea into something more concrete, which is the image. The following are three popular abstract concepts with helpful tips on how you can create stock photos that represent them:

concept1 Tips on How to Turn Abstract Concepts to Effective Stock Images1. Love – put your own spin to cliché images that show the concept of love such as people hugging or kissing, red paper hearts, heart balloons, chocolate hearts and the like. Although your image may be perfectly exposed and composed, it could get buried under the thousands of similar images from other good photographers. Instead of a young couple kissing, why not make it an old couple instead. Instead of composing some chocolate hearts on a white background, why not have someone about to eat the chocolate heart instead. By going a step further, you are separating yourself from the pack. Keep in mind that the concept of ‘love’ has many levels, such as ‘familial love’ and ‘romantic love’. Try to compose shots which portray various kinds of love.  Examples of images that convey ‘love’ are a father holding his baby, a child and her pet, and a mother hugging her elderly parent.

concept2 Tips on How to Turn Abstract Concepts to Effective Stock Images2. Health and Fitness – nowadays, people of all ages are very health conscious and there are millions of products and services that offer the concept of a healthy lifestyle. The concept of good health is dear to our hearts and images that convey this are widely popular. When creating a shot, first imagine what you would consider as promoting health and fitness. Common topics would be diet and exercise so the next step is to use a subject or shoot a scene that shows this. People jogging, vitamin pills, gym equipment, and healthy looking people exercising are some examples. Again, the trick is to avoid shots similar to what others are offering. Play with your camera angle, the framing, the depth of field, etc. to further push your concept.

concept3 Tips on How to Turn Abstract Concepts to Effective Stock Images3. Work/Business – the most common stock images that show the concept of business are people in business attire, briefcases, office desks and handshakes.  There is nothing wrong with having a good quality stock image that shows any of these examples but you must remember that the competition has similar images of their own. To add your own creative touch, why not make use of workers that are less noticed and who normally do not wear business suits to work such as fishermen or construction workers.

Whatever concept you are trying to present, always keep in mind that these are for stock and as such, need to have commercial and resale value. Customers should be able to use them to promote their own products and services. Also the idea should be immediately clear to the customers and not make them wonder what is the message you are trying to get across.


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More Tips on How to Turn Abstract Concepts to Effective Stock Images

In the world of stock photography, it is ideal for buyers to have access to commercial images that represent their need, whether that is an image of a bicycle or one that represents a concept. As stock photographers we would find it easy to take photos of actual objects because they are visible, tangible and therefore we can take an actual image of them. Yet how about abstract ideas and concepts that we know exist but not in the physical sense? To portray them in an image would take skill and preparation because your image needs to send a message across to the viewer. In a previous article we wrote about three abstract concepts and how they can be manifested in a photograph. Let us look at more abstract ideas and find out how they can visually appear as well as the cliche shots to stay away from.

concept4 More Tips on How to Turn Abstract Concepts to Effective Stock Images1. Joy/happiness – an effective exercise is to visualize the concept. What images enter your head when you think of the word ‘happiness’? People smiling, laughing and celebrating are common visuals. Try to think further to imagine what they are celebrating or smiling about. You can have a photo of a person smiling, which would be fine but generic, and you can also have a person smiling while looking at a child playing. The second image includes the reason for her expression and gives you even more concepts that you can include in your keywords such as 'child' and 'play'.

concept5 More Tips on How to Turn Abstract Concepts to Effective Stock Images2. Peace/serenity – sometimes an image does not have to show an actual scene or subject to convey a certain concept or emotion. Abstract images can be very effective to represent abstract ideas. When we think of peacefulness, a calm sea or landscape might come to mind. But an image that shows only shapes and colors such as shades of blue can evoke a strong sense of tranquility in us. These abstract photos would be ideal for PC wall papers, magazine background design for text boxes and even actual prints for display.

concept6 More Tips on How to Turn Abstract Concepts to Effective Stock Images3. Wealth – money is the first thing we picture out when we think of wealth. Images that show coins and bills are a dime a dozen in the stockpile. For your image to have a edge over the millions of other photos that also show money, your composition must be more unique and should send a message across to the viewer. For example, you can have a straightforward shot of a pile of bills. You can also be more creative and have a hand sticking out from the pile of bills as if someone is drowning in money. You can also have a shot of a dollar bill with one end burning up in flames. For more impact, make that a hundred dollar bill if you can spare it. To play it safe you can add flames to the bill in Photoshop or other similar photo editing program.

Whatever stock image you plan to shoot, make sure it sends a strong message of the abstract concept, that it has your creative touch and that it displays great composition and proper lighting.

 

 


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