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Things To Avoid

While you can shoot a wide variety of topics, there are still many things you cannot shoot for commercial stock photography.

Logos and brand names are the biggest problem in almost all stock photo shoots. You are not allowed to include them in any of your pictures. We get around this in various ways.

If something is in the background and will be somewhat blurred in the final photo we use same colored tape to cover the logo. When the logo is on clothing, such as fitness shirts or tops, we position the model so we can’t see it or have them hold a prop that will cover it. If none of that will work and the shot is unique enough that we really want it, we will take the shot and just edit the logo out in Adobe Photoshop afterward.

stock photography guide
We Provided Logo Free Colorful Shirts For This Shoot

We try at all costs though to not take pictures that need to be edited individually in Photoshop. It really slows down the editing process and makes your post work much less efficient.

Focus Of The Picture

You are able to use most items in a picture, without the logo, as long as they aren’t the main focus of the picture. For instance, it is usually fine to take a picture of a woman cooking in the kitchen with a slightly blurred, logo free, microwave in the background. It would not be fine though to take just a picture of a microwave.

Some products can be so generic though that you can do product shot, like of a generic spoon, or fork, with food on a plate. This is fine. A product shot of an iPhone on a table will not be approved though. Our rule of thumb on this is: If you can tell what brand and specific product it is even without the logo, we don’t use it.

What We Tell Our Models

We tell all of our models to bring 4 or 5 outfits for each look we are doing and that they can’t have any logos or words on them. We often shoot on a green screen, so we also advise to not bring any green items. You’ll need to check over the clothes before the shoot. We also have a closet of items we’ve gathered over the years and we bring 1 or 2 shirts for every model just in case they bring absolutely nothing that will work. It happens.

Time Saved

It may not seem like a big deal to save some time editing, but it adds up. The more pictures you upload, the more you will sell. If you can save time up front it is worth the effort to do so.

Stock Photography Guide

This post is part of our Guide To Stock Photography. Read the rest to start selling your photos!

Rob Marmion

Rob is a commercial photographer with North Georgia Media. He has had over 650,000 pictures published in a variety of media. We sell many of our pictures at Shutterstock. You can earn money selling your pictures there too!

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