First of all, always ask yourself, What would this picture be used for? and again, more importantly, Will this image make money? This is answered in part by the image‘s conceptual value and ability to be used for multiple purposes. An image of a warehouse, even if fully PR'd, probably has minimal marketplace value. A close-up image of two gears clicking together will sell forever. "Beautiful" works only in the context of commercial possibilities. A pretty picture isn't necessarily a marketable picture. That doesn't mean "Don't shoot it"—rather, make sure you can maximize what you've got. (If in doubt, shoot it!) A good example is the above photograph of a highway. It is picturesque, but a road can be conceptual as well. It could sell for obvious reasons (transportation), but it can also signify "On the Road", The Future, The Open Road, Direction, The Great Unknown, etc. You get the idea.
Here are some other tips to help you maximize your shots:
1) Take both a Vertical and Horizontal of the same subject. This allows the potential buyer more crop options, and sometimes creates a different "flow" to the image.
Vertical and horizontal
2) 80% of our images selected are SMILING. There is always a place for serious expressions, but "warm and fuzzy" will always outsell serious.
Serious and smiling
3) Take a wide shot and then… move in CLOSE! This one is self-explanatory.
Wide and close-up!
4) Help Models feel comfortable and have fun! We always try to keep a professional but relaxed atmosphere so models enjoy themselves. Those are when the best pictures happen!
Jumping for Joy and a Jig!
5) Go with the FLOW! We usually create a shoot storyboard to maximize time, but sometimes shoots take on a life of their own, which is part of the beauty. Life doesn't always follow a storyboard, so why should a shoot? Some great examples are the photos of the family. This little fellah just got tuckered out, so we incorporated his sleepiness into the shoot. They turned out to be some of the most special images of the shoot!
Awake, then NAP time
6) Play with different types of lighting - you can get a completely different feel!
Natural Light and Flash
7) Always have the model hold objects slightly away from the face, so the face and object don't "run" into each other. This makes the expression more powerful.
Flower in front vs. away from face
8) Likewise, subtle movements of the model can create a whole new feel:
Just the eyes are different
9) EXPAND your concepts: Ask yourself, After doing the base shots, how can I add value by adding others elements?
Take these pencils for example. What a simplistic subject, right? Wrong! There are so many ways to photograph them, and each one can become a concept within itself, in addition to the obvious "Education" concept.
Finally… when the shoot is over, have fun with your props! After shooting numerous "normal" jack-o-lantern shots, the photographer decided to have fun with the last shot!
Happy Pumpkin, Sad Pumpkin
You can view iofoto‘s gallery iofoto here.