Avoid Image Rejections Part III - Snow Day

Posted Wednesday, 17 November 2010 by Ellen Boughn in Ellen Boughn, Photography
What is the best way to avoid rejection of your work? Quick answer? TAKE GREAT PHOTOS and make certain that you follow all submission and technical requirements to the letter.

Another important step is creating a shot list, even when you are simply wandering around town with your camera for a day. You might walk out the door and into an instant masterpiece capable of being downloaded again and again but the odds are against it. Follow along as I suggest the most basic of planning tools for a spur of the moment foray that apply to any last minute shoot. I've picked a winter day but the advice is good anytime, any location.

It's winter: early morning. You wake to see the results of a heavy, overnight snowfall and can't wait to rush out with your camera to capture the excitement and beauty outside.

Expression

© pressmaster/Crestock

Red accent color brightens the monochromatic tone of a snowy scene.

OK. That'll do but remember everyone else with a camera is choking down a cup of hot coffee, eager to do the same. Wait a minute. Sit down and stay inside. Why would you want to waste precious shooting time? Answer: To ensure that you are prepared for the maximum shot opportunities.

Tire in Deep Snow

© fjs/Crestock

A grab shot of snow chains on tires could be used in pieces about winter driving safety. This is a shot that you might miss, if you go out without jotting down ideas first.

Ask yourself, "What photos 'say' heavy snowstorm?" What images do people want that involve fresh snow? How would these photos be used and by whom? Is there a frozen lake around? How about the local sledding hill? Make that shot list! As you free associate, new fresh ideas will come to mind.

Sledding is fun

© ginaellen/Crestock

It's temping to avoid asking for a signed release by shooting people only from the back but its rare that the photo is very successful. This one works because the child is walking away with what could be anticipation. Remember it isn't always the case that a release is not necessary when shooting the back of someone.

What props do you have around the house that could add to any ideas on your list? Ski goggles? Bring them along. Maybe you can fake a ski shot. Sled? Bring along a couple of red scarves and hats. Red against the snow will pop and bring more energy to the photos. Packet of model releases? Absolutely.

Winter fun

© Maridav/Crestock

Here's that all-important red scarf.

Here's my shot list with ideas about how snowy day photos might be used.

  • Shoveling snow (model release). Health care and hardware store websites
  • Children sledding or ice skating (model release). Textbooks.
  • Family snowball fight (model release again). Winter resort websites, cold and flu medications.
  • Cars stuck in the snow or slid into a ditch. Insurance company ads.
  • Beautiful snow scenic … remember scenics/landscapes have to shout out "I'M THE BEST SNOW SCENIC THERE IS!" because they are so widely available. Holiday cards and calendars.
  • Cross country skiing. Is there a park nearby where you might come upon this scene? Calendars, travel sites.
  • In Wisconsin where I spent a winter and other places with equally nutty people: ice fishing. I can't think who would use this shot but at least there aren't many available so yours will win.
  • Older couple walking in the snow. Retirement funds, warm weather retirement centers.
  • Snow angel. Can you think of a NEW way to shoot this popular icon?
  • Family building a snow man...or snow woman. Only one photo of snowman construction in the Crestock Collection! Room for lots more.
Portrait of a young couple on a snow sledge and sliding

© Yuri_Arcurs/Crestock

These are professional models and a lot of prep went into the shot. The secret is making the couple appear as natural as if the photographer simply happened upon them out in the snow in his neighborhood and snapped a few shots.

  • Is it still nasty outside? Shoot headlights in the driving snow.
  • Finally. If you live in a rural area where there are cabins or small winter vacation type homes, wait until twilight for the interior lights to come on. If you can catch that shot, I promise you a great number of downloads. I'm so certain of it that I recommend that you don't wait for it to unfold in front of you but take great pains to set it up with a property release. It'll be a winner. I promise.
  • It's stopped snowing but you wish it hadn't? Buy a big bag of instant mashed potatoes and toss handfuls into the air. Instant snow.

Remember that shooting on a bright day with light reflecting off a world of white poses special technical problems. Refresh your understanding of how to deal with the challenge.

Technical information about shooting in the snow: www.digicamhelp.com/how-to/nature/snow/
Ellen Boughn

Ellen has over thirty years of experience in the stock business gained at such organizations as Dreamstime, UpperCut Images, Workbookstock, Corbis, Getty (Stone), The Image Bank (Artville) and the creative agency, After-Image, she started in Los Angeles at the beginning of her career. Having been directly involved in the creation of four major stock photography collections, Ellen offers her decades of experience to assist photographers seeking success in stock photography.

Twitter @ellenboughn Facebook ellenboughn www.ellenboughn.com/blog

Ellen Boughn's best-selling book, Microstock Money Shots, is filled with insights, tips and advice on how to create commercial images and improve your work flow to profit from photography whether you're a hobbyist or a professional photographer.
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