I've been mildly interested in stock photography for a year or two now. It first started when my Yahoo page would take a moment loading the picture and all I'd see was the title, things like "attractive couple looks at computer" or "concerned doctor and patient." It started me thinking about the photography work that we see all day, every day as part of nearly everything we do.
Everywhere we look, we see stock photos. Health article? Need a picture of an ethnically diverse doctor with elderly patient. Losing weight? Need a picture of a healthy and attractive model (who does not need to lose any weight) happily exercising. Ad for a daycare? Need a picture of happy children finger painting with bright colors.
This past week, I decided to look into it more seriously, by which I mean randomly selecting a site on the internet, applying with impulsive submissions, and getting turned down flat. I still plan to work on it, but with purpose and self-education this time. Even if I never gain anything monetarily from it, it's great discipline as a portrait photographer. For one thing, since they are for sale every picture must be technically perfect. For another, you have to get very good at composition, because you have to make ordinary actions and objects look vibrant and dynamic.
It also serves to prove a truth that anyone can be a model. Sure, there's more of a market for happy, pretty people, but there's a certain need for ordinary-looking people doing mundane jobs. As part of my 'research' into what sells, I've been going through some of the already-accepted stock photos. If you ever have an afternoon with absolutely nothing better to do, you can spend it in this fun and diverting manner:
Go to a stock photography website. You should be able to browse all the pictures.
Search for fun and random images like these:
Male Pattern Baldness
Be Creative! Come up with your own! And since most sites keep track of the most popular searches, there's the potential to re-shape the entire industry.