So lately I've been trying my hand at shooting images specifically for stock photography. Doing this type of photography opens endless possibilities as to what you can shoot and I highly recommend any photographer uploading work to these sites as a small stream of income comes in handy.
Stock images are all around us every day and used by a lot of big companies like for the BBC news app on my phone for example. Companies like that probably have a lot of photographers on their books but sometimes when a story needs an image, more and more people today are turning to the stock images sites for an easily grab-able image that they may not have the time to compose and shoot themselves.
I like to try to use natural light as much as possible, so recently I decided to try to shoot some images with a gambling/poker theme. Luckily where I live has some amazing light coming through the rear doors that are south facing. So in a morning this time of year my kitchen is bathed in lovely spring morning sunshine and I'd be crazy not to use this to my advantage.
So out came the cards, the poker chips, dice and even a few tenners all on a little green foot stool that we have acing as the cloth for a poker table and of course the camera. I also invested in some thick art paper at around 240gsm which gives a really nice grain texture to the background from the paper to use on some images and my '4 Aces' shot is an example of that. (Below)
I set up the tripod and started experimenting with different angles. At around 45 degrees I could get some interesting DOF changes and focus only on specific parts of the image such as the Queens head on the money. I mostly used my 75-300mm lens as this allows an almost macro look to the shots but I also experimented with my 28-80mm lens to give some variation to the shots and the tripod down at a lower setting. There are some interesting combinations of shot that worked and the Queen of Hearts with the Queen on the £10 matched well. (also below)
Playing with partial shadow and full sunlight I managed to get around 60 images of all kinds of card/chip variations. Once in Lightroom I can then add many other styles and colour changes if I want to to mix it up a little but definitely check for dust spots and straightness or just use minimal editing as with the set up as I had it, the shot is pretty good as it gets into the camera anyway.
So if you are looking for a stock image to do with poker or gambling then look out for some of my images on Getty, iStock and Shutterstock now. You can link to them here.
ZY Productions explains what the little button is for on the side of your camera.
If like me you have found it difficult to get your signature watermark along the bottom of your prints by using one of the online print manufacturers then read this blog that will tell you how you can achieve it in Lightroom 5's develop module.
So I was contacting the main print manufacturers here in the UK about getting the watermark in the border surrounding my pictures. I assumed that some of the print companies would allow a photo to be uploaded, you choose a border size and add your logo all online and hey presto, a glossy print will be complete. Once I started looking into this I realised that its not possible, at least with the 2-3 companies that I spoke to recently. One guy suggested using the print module in Lightroom as a solution then upload the bordered/watermarked version to them then they print that.
After a bit YouTubing and experimenting with my version of Lightroom 5 in the print module I was still getting frustrated with the lack of exact customisation that I was looking for in my prints. I decided to see if there was an alternative. So I went back to the develop module and started to play around with the lens correction section and manual mode that I had used on a print I did recently when I was trying to make a geometric building bend..
In the lens correction section you will find a slider called scale. Pulling the slider to the left began to reveal a white border around the picture effectively reducing the scale of the main image within the screen size. Here it is exaggerated.
In conjunction with the crop tool, you can move the image around and pull in the border sizes to suit your particular image. Once you are happy with the border size that you are aiming for simply begin to export the picture and under the watermark section, tick the box and choose edit watermark from the menu. You will need a .png signature ideally which is transparent and resize-able and position this in the lower larger margin section you have created. Choose the size and opacity to suit.
Once this is set, save the watermark and continue to export the picture. You will now have a watermarked signature in a white border.
Hope you have found this useful and please follow me on Twitter @mikemolloyphoto