With the advent of social media and the unattainability of life expectations brought with it, we, photographers, are on the very forefront of having the opportunity to make a difference in re-shaping the visual world. We are the ones with the tools to push for diversity whenever we put our work out there to be sold and used worldwide!
As a social photographer, I know for a fact that my clients rarely fall in what is considered “social media worthy” not because there’s anything wrong with how they are or how they look but rather because they are real people with flaws. We have been inundated with unattainable ideals of how we should look, what we should wear, and how our lives should be presented to the wider world. Unfortunately, this is all down to merely companies and brands selling us items that promise this unachievable lifestyle, and we have often fallen for it.
However, if we look at the photography market itself, it’s oh-so-diverse. In fact, a simple look around you during your day-to-day activities will give you an idea of what the market actually consists of: real people. Real people with different personalities and characteristics, in all shapes, ages, sizes, and from different cultural backgrounds. And, this is exactly what stock photography market is looking for right now, so there's no better time than now to invest effort in to building up a solid stock library.
We enjoy seeing people that are similar to us, because it helps us connect to whatever the image is trying to say. In the case of weddings, couples would look at photographer’s portfolio and try to imagine themselves being the ones photographed, or in the case of a boudoir photographer, clients will feel more at ease if they see people that are of similar shapes and ages within the photographer’s work. In a very similar way, stock photography has a large empty gap waiting to be filled with diverse images representing people from all over the world to help fulfill the different needs of brands, companies, and individuals who are buying stock imagery.
Staying true to your style and personality but expanding your work to include different types of people will only help your business grow because people enjoy seeing diversity represented on different platforms they come across. Having that diversity displayed on your portfolio or website will help you get those extra bookings. Whether it is different ethnicities in your headshots business, or variety in ages of wedded couples you’ve worked with, or different shapes of men and women in a boudoir setting, you’re giving potential clients that extra confidence to get in touch with you.
Furthermore, you can keep benefiting from this by submitting your varied portfolio to sell online, such as on Adobe Stock. Businesses, just like our potential clients, are on a lookout for diversity and variety in images. The demand is out there for strong imagery that covers a wide range of people, cultures, and countries. There is a big difference between images that might gather a few likes on social media but translate into nothing tangible, and images that convey reality and are versatile enough to be used in different projects, campaigns, and artwork worldwide. The latter has great potential to earn you money.
The beauty of creating images for Adobe Stock is that you don't necessarily have to travel the world to create breath-taking shots. Just browse through the different collections on the Adobe Stock website and see if anything resonates with you and the type of work that you enjoy creating. The collections range from embracing fluid identity of one’s self to images of winter sports and games, and everything imaginable in-between.
Don't forget that you may not see your surroundings as something that's worthy of a stock image but for clients it may just be the perfect shot. Consider the guidelines of a stock shot submission and start shooting what's around you. Slowly step away from the perfectly styled imagery and introduce some reality in the work that you submit. The opportunities are endless because we are moving towards authenticity wherever we look, and although it’s a long time coming to fully represent each and every one of us, it’s a step that you yourself can take and make a difference (and earn some money from your portfolio along the way).
Will you consider sharing and selling your images?