By now, I hope I have started you on the process of thinking like a stock photographer. You no longer look at the images used in advertising first, but, instead, you read the creative copywriting. You first pick out buzzwords and taglines and identify concepts. Only then do you look at the image used to support those written words. You now understand that the photographer’s role is to provide material that can add support and leverage to the text. Your job, quite frankly, is to get the viewer from turning the page while making the copywriter’s task that much easier. If you can accomplish just these two things, you should be well on your way to a career as a stock photographer.
However, it is not as easy as just that. It will most likely take years of practice to fine-tune your skills to stay ahead of the crowd. To reach the top you must be able to imagine what the trend or image style will be 12 to 18 months from now–today has already passed. You want your fresh material in the marketplace before that new look arrives.
With the huge infusion of material quickly getting into the marketplace today, I am not so sure a conservative strategy is one that will hold you in good stead. I believe you have to be a risk taker today to produce selling stock, and that is a frightening proposition when you are producing all of your work on a speculative basis.
So, in order to assist you in your quest as an independent stock photographer, I give you my list of the 50 top buzzwords and taglines collected from countless magazines and advertising watching.
There most certainly are more buzzwords that are used—many more, in fact—but from my non-scientific analysis I have found the above words appear most often in advertising. If you start making your own list, you should find it is an exercise that keeps your mind fresh and receptive.
A tagline is the phrase often used when a writer strings together a series of words, often in the form of a metaphor or simile, to set up the sell factor. Oftentimes the astute stock photographer knows this is the angle from which to proceed to create selling images. My top ten list of taglines are, in no particular order:
|Ahead of the pack||Reach for the top|
|Be part of a winning team||The key to success|
|Cutting edge of…||The pinnacle of success|
|Go the Distance||Safety in numbers|
|Lines of Communication||Striking the Right Balance|
By being very aware of and understanding the concepts listed above, you will be so much better prepared to forge ahead. It will still take time and practise, and the answers cannot be found in online chat forums. Stock photography is work, and it’s not work for the timid. Study, be diligent in your quest, and be relentless in your pursuit. Only then will you be able to go the distance.
Until next time…get to work.
Micro-Managing Your Stock Portfolio, Part I
Micro-Managing Your Stock Portfolio, Part II
Micro-Managing Your Stock Portfolio, Part III
Micro-Managing Your Stock Portfolio, Part IV
Micro-Managing Your Stock Portfolio, Part VI