LOCATION - HIDCOTE GARDENS
GEAR - LEICA SL (Typ 601) / Canon 24mm lens via Novoflex AF Adapter / Leica R 135mm via Novoflex adapter
TIME OF YEAR / DAY - Autumn / Afternoon
Very few travel / location stock photographers are 'on the road' 365 days of the year. Apart from anything else there's no need for it. When I first started libraries were based in one country and had to depend on their globetrotting photographers to get them images from around the world. These days libraries are world wide and get contributions from all countries. So there is little point in a British photographer organising a stock photography trip to Australia when they can't hope to compete with Australian photographers who can get images in the best light and under optimum circumstances. So to be efficient at stock shooting it's a good idea to make the most of where you live and places that you can get to and from in a day. And pretty much that's what I do.
In the late 80's through to the early 2000's I concentrated on photographing the country of France. It's the nearest other country to me and is also the most visited country in the world in terms of tourism. So a large part of my yearly output was from three or four very intense shooting trips, all around France, as I worked my way methodically around the various regions. This was all shot on film and I'd probably end up with a bill of around £1500 for film and processing. These days there is little point in me doing that since there are 10's of thousands of French photographers contributing to stock libraries. I should point out that I do still sell large numbers of those French travel shots, so none of that work was wasted.
So in the light of this, it was obviously a good idea for me to concentrate instead on getting good commercial images from my local area. Fortunately it's a scenic part of England with lots of twee little villages, thatched cottages, lush green agricultural landscape and stately homes. All the English cliches in fact. And that's pretty much what I do. I also take the opportunity to get as many generic shots as I can, which are not location specific and can be used for a variety of purposes. Finally I make sure that I have my subject matter in all seasons as publishing, both print and electronic, does require images to fit with the time of year in which they are published. Though with the nature of deadlines anything I do shoot may not be used until the following year.
This location is a world famous garden that I try to visit 3 or 4 times a year. I take some images that are specific to the place, but mostly I'm shooting generic 'lush English garden' images which have a much higher chance of being used. Oddly enough, there aren't that many people shooting this kind of subject so my images actually do very well. You might think libraries would have vast numbers of images like this, but it is, fortunately for me, not the case. I do make sure that my images look 'punchy' in a website gallery and strong saturated colours and good contrast help that along. And the Leica SL is ideal for that.
I chose to take along two primes, a wide-angle and telephoto as I know the place pretty well and generally have some kind of idea of what I want to get pictures of. If I'm shooting somewhere new I generally take a zoom lens since I have no idea of what I will encounter. Something that my Leica V-LUX (Typ 114) is ideal for.
So, in the gallery above you can see some of the images I came back with. I won't be visiting again until Spring, since gardens like this are pretty dismal in winter. As you might imagine I wait for a sunny day and since the place is around a 45 minute drive away, I can do that.
So if you are thinking of trying to build up a stock portfolio then don't ignore where you live. You don't need to book a flight to Paris, London or Bangkok to start shooting for travel /landscape / location stock and some of my best sellers have been taken with a few miles of where I live. It is, after all, a market for photography that appreciates the prosaic as much, if not more, as the spectacular.