The editorial team had a meeting the other day in which we discussed scouting new faces for magazine photoshoots. The comment was made that we should find more models who aren’t the stereotypical 18-25. It’s true that there is a power in finding representation in media, whether it is seeing a diversity of races or a variety of ages.
It makes sense. Who controls the money and makes family purchasing decisions? In my experience, it is the mother managing the budget, shopping for groceries, buying the kids back to school clothes and supplies, carrying the checkbook, etc. And she isn’t necessarily 25. I share this desire to photograph more mature men and women.
Of course, I am looking for interesting people to photograph of all ages, etc. From editorial to advertising to stock photography, it’s all about showing a blended variety of humanity.
In my 30 years as a professional photographer, I’ve photographed probably thousands of people. My interest in finding great faces to collaborate with is driven by…
A need to find the kinds of people who personify the lifestyle that drives aspirational messaging in the marketing of products consumers can buy to solve their problems.
Such messaging allows prospective customers to envision how a product or service can not only improve their lives in an immediate, problem-solving sense, but also how it can help them become the people they want to be – a powerfully persuasive technique.
As someone who has turned 50 and realized how scary and depressing it feels to start losing my eyesight and muscle mass, I keenly understand the aspirational desire that drives marketing campaigns built around products promising restored youth and stamina.
The images used to persuade shoppers to invest their hard-earned money suggest solutions to restore our energy, our prosperity, our desirability, and the hope that our best days are still ahead instead of growing smaller in the rear-view mirror of life.
While demographics have shifted and opened more opportunities for models over the age of 30 than ever before – particularly ones who appear to embody those youthful qualities – most psychographic visual messages are meant to appeal to the lucrative 18 to 35 demographic.
It’s called “lifestyle marketing.” It uses imagery to stimulate our unconscious desire to have it all, to achieve wealth when we are young, and to achieve youth and freedom when we find ourselves getting older.
Hence, my need to find great faces for these powerful aspirational campaigns. Ideally, photogenic models who are versatile enough to pull off a wide range of looks – for example, the model in her early 20s who can convincingly portray a teenage girl in, say, a cosmetics ad for a product that clears acme all the way to the other end of the spectrum, perhaps illustrating a young mom struggling with keeping her family happy and healthy. With the right wardrobe and makeup choices, it’s very possible to pull this off. How many actors in their 20s have played high school kids in movies?
The amount of commercial and marketing photography I’ve done over the last year has dropped significantly due to health issues in 2019 and a pandemic in 2020, but I am wanting to get back in there and do more of it.
I’ve focused on commercial/marketing photography because that’s where I’ve found the clients able and willing to pay for photography that is of consistent quality and photographers who can grasp how powerful our imagery can be in promoting their products and services.
A constant pursuit of possible stock photography sales
“Stock photography” is the term used to describe the generic images available for use on websites, in brochures, on point-of-purchase displays, on billboards, on flyers, to illustrate the topic of a blog or newspaper article, etc.
I write multiple blogs monthly, and part of that process involves going to what’s known as a stock photo agency website to do a keyword search for a still image or video that is high-quality enough to match the branding of whoever I’m uploading that blog for.
For example, I recently sought an image of a child being bullied by other kids for a blog post about how parents can deal with their kids being picked on at school. I write the monthly blogs for a pediatric urgent care facility in Chattanooga that needs this content to have something to put in the monthly eNewsletter or on its social media to drive traffic to its website and put their brand in front of parents to remember when their kid needs to go to the doctor.
These days, consumers tend to tune out overt advertising, but content marketing offers informational or entertainment value rather than just another sales pitch.
For stock photography sales, I need large quantities of still images available for uploading to these stock photo websites for people to download. In stock photoshoots, I may use a wider variety of looks and ages because the focus is less on aspirational desires than illustrating facets of everyday life.
Some keyword-targeted images are in greater demand than others. It’s really tough finding high-quality photos of very specialized things, like professionals in specific fields like roof construction, etc.
Creating images for stock photography typically involves having a set list of concepts and actions to capture on camera. My models sign a model release giving me permission to sell their likeness for the aforementioned uses. And then I go about the somewhat tedious process of attaching every possible keyword that’s applicable to the metadata of those photo sets so they show up when someone needing a stock photo performs a keyword search.
The biggest challenge with selling stock photography these days is the sheer volume of content that photographers submit and the downward market pressures to sell your images as cheaply as possible. Exclusivity usually brings a higher price, but those smaller and repeated sales over time can also generate a decent return.
Anyhow, I am looking for new and great faces to photograph. Let me know if you are interested or if you know someone who would make an outstanding model.