Life is a bowl of cherries - photos of groups of things

Posted Wednesday, 16 March 2011 by Ellen Boughn in Ellen Boughn, Photography
Still life images of fruit and flowers were the mainstay of classical painting and in some ways, although to a much lesser degree, of the wall décor business today. There is something reassuring about the composition of bunches of fruits or even vegetables that is pleasing visually and also carries a message of health, abundance and color.
Fresh pea in the pod with green leaves

© yasonya/Crestock

The growing emphasis on healthy eating has led to many uses for images of fresh fruit and vegetables. These images are found in diet books and websites as well as in packaging for juices, in adverts for mainstream grocery stores and as prints on health food store walls.

Fresh fruit

© aguirre_mar/Crestock

A few tips:
  1. Buy the freshest fruit and flowers available. Concentrate on the color and shapes rather than how the fruit will taste... the ripest fruit isn't necessarily the prettiest!
  2. Polish the apples, citrus and plums with a soft cloth. Don't buy organic produce for props because it won't be waxed like those that make supermarket fruit look appetizing.
  3. Rather than a formal arrangement of flowers from a florist, go casual, concentrating on the blooms and the light to add mood to the shot.
Easter Yellow Easter eggs and tulips

© Brebca/Crestock

© ingridhs/Crestock

By the judicious placing of props, you can turn a flowery still life into a holiday symbol.

It's not only images of traditional still life objects that find some success but collections of almost anything. The desire to collect and to organize is a universal human trait and the results can make for great shots for wall décor as well as for many other uses depending upon the subject.

Pencils Colorful candies

© loskutnikov/Crestock

© dmstudio/Crestock

Rather than a collection of different objects, a grouping of the same item can create a colorful graphic that can be more visually appealing than a single object. A single coffee bean is difficult to photograph in an interesting fashion but a frame filled with luscious roasted beans is compelling.

Nautilus Split Half Nautilus Shells

© kasia75/Crestock

© kasia75/Crestock

When you photograph single objects that might have appeal as wall art, create a series that the user can gather into a group. A single image of shells framed together creates a group.

Clocks and time background Coffee

© clearviewstock/Crestock

© loskutnikov/Crestock

Not only are images with repeating themes visually compelling, they can be strong concept images, as the clocks above are for 'time'.

A popular image both as a vector and photo collage shows many representative but different items on the same theme. A hardware store or construction business would download such an image of hammers, nails, pliers and other similar tools to use on their web site.

Construction workers Growth And Success graph

© 5xinc/Crestock

© 5xinc/Crestock

Several of the images from the construction vector by 5xinc have been repurposed as part of a graph.

Either a single object or a mix of the images in a collage from the single download are then used by the buyer. Good themes to explore for these types of groupings are:

  1. Medical: stethoscope, first aid kit (Tip: don't use a red cross or red crescent; these symbols are trademarked)
  2. Construction trades
  3. Education
  4. Hardware store objects
  5. Retail signs: "Sale", "Half Off" etc
  6. Tools of any trade or profession
Cherry Bunch of red apples

© snokid/Crestock

© fuzzbone/Crestock

Adding a human element to a collection of fruit adds a dramatic and romantic flare to an image.

The best selling collections are of groups of people. Next week I'll write about what it takes to get great group shots of people without spending a lot of money.

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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