Space and Simplicity

Sony a850 Tamron AF 28-200mm  F/3.8-5.6 XR
Sony a850 Tamron 28-200mm f/3.8-5.6 XR

One of the things that you have to get used to if you shoot for stock and library websites is that your pictures are often not viewed in their own right, but in terms of how they will function in somebody else's vision. Very often at commercial shoots, a lot of time will be spent getting the shape of the image right, often with the aim of adding text at a later date.


Shooting landscape on spec. its obviously impossible to anticipate every possible need of a graphic designer but it does pay to think about the possibility of an image being used in this way.

Sony a850 Tamron AF 28-200mm  F/3.8-5.6 XR
Sony a850 Tamron 28-200mm f/3.8-5.6 XR

Again with commercial work its often the case that you have some kind of idea of how and where images may be used and you can shoot accordingly. You may for example be required to group images together and therefore need to shoot simple graphic images that will stand out on a printed or web page.


This is easier to anticipate when shooting for stock, and when approaching a subject its always a good idea to shoot a subject from different points of view. Landscape photography can produce images with a sweeping view or a concentration on detail and its always a good idea to try both.

Sony a850 Tamron AF 28-200mm  F/3.8-5.6 XR
Sony a850 Tamron 28-200mm f/3.8-5.6 XR

Sony a850 Tamron AF 28-200mm  F/3.8-5.6 XR
Sony a850 Tamron 28-200mm f/3.8-5.6 XR

This may all sound somewhat calculating, and indeed it is. But then many of the worlds greatest photographs were created to a brief and many of the worlds best photographers plied their trade in the commercial world.

I've always found the idea of imagining the context in which an image may be used, is useful in its creation. Over the years I've tried to develop an unfussy, uncluttered style of picture taking, that hopefully has an immediate impact and doesn't need a second or third look to see what its depicting. Most of us encounter photography via its commercial applications. There may be some who only look at coffee table art books and who spend their time in galleries, but magazines, newspapers and the web are where the majority get their experience of photography, and much of it is illustrative and shot for a specific purpose.

Unless they concentrate exclusively on the fine art market, working photographers have to be aware of the uses their work is put to. However even in the most commercially rigid situations it is one of the few jobs where you are hired for your skill and craftsmanship plus your imagination. With all due respect, I'm not sure I'd want to hire a "creative" plumber, but when someone hires a photographer the general expectation is that they will bring something of themselves and their "artistic" instincts rather than just go through the motions.

I've always enjoyed shooting for stock and libraries, as it gives me the opportunity to both make a living and be able to control when, where and what I shoot. However that doesn't mean that I ignore commercial reality and don't attempt to anticipate the requirements of my unseen and unknown customers. The fact that my best selling image is a somewhat mundane picture of a conservatory and not a beautifully lit and composed landscape is often a little frustrating, but its not something that bothers me unduly, since it allows to carry on looking for those elusive special landscape images. This recent shoot with the Sony a850 was never going to produce a classic but was still thoroughly enjoyable and allowed me to get some useful photographs. It may not have been a day that produced anything that can be described as "art" but it produced a pretty high level of job satisfaction, and I count myself lucky that I can achieve that doing something that I love.

Sony a850 Tamron AF 28-200mm  F/3.8-5.6 XR
Sony a850 Tamron 28-200mm f/3.8-5.6 XR

Words - David
Images - David and Ann