Now that Christmas has passed for another year and the New Years festivities soon begin, you can start planning for 2011 by creating some marketable outdoor images with a Holiday theme.
Christmas lights, ornaments, and Holiday items are all on the clearance racks and make for some good deals. I often go in search for something new, such as a new style of Christmas lights that I can use for some outdoor related photo.
Buyers of Holiday images often search, review, and license images in spring and summer months so their products are available to product buyers in the fall who are purchasing for the Holidays. So producing them now make sense.
For myself, I like to add Holiday lights and ornaments to outdoor subjects or objects and the efforts have resulted in some good selling stock images. The following three examples are of images using Holiday props that have been licensed several times.
This image was planned in advance after I found red bulbs for $2.00 a box on sale. I loaded the bulbs and camera gear into a large backpack and put on the snow shoes heading off into the forest in search of just the right tree. I found this one and attached all the bulbs, then photographed it. The snowshoes left large pits around the tree so some Photoshop was required to fill in those holes, retouch out some shrubs in the background, and lighten the trees in the far back to give the feel of a cold, frosty winter day. This image has been licensed several times.
This image was not difficult and has also been licensed numerous times. I am fortunate to live in the mountains of Oregon so I set out with several strings of Christmas lights and placed them on the tree, then ran several hundred feet of extension cord over to my garage. I then waited several days for the next big snow storm and this is the result. What is important here is to start shooting as soon as the sun sets and keep shooting until it is too dark. The results will be a wide collection of various exposures where the lights are not bright enough and then to bright, but in the middle will be the perfect exposure for the lights and the perfect exposure for the ambient light.
This image was a bit more challenging to capture yet still sells after 10 years. Here I went to Oregon’s Mt. Hood and had a backpack full with the tent, camera gear, strobe and wireless triggers, Christmas lights, and two sets of cross country skis and poles. Arriving at the mountain in the afternoon, I set out on my skies to find the right spot and found this location a couple hours later. I set up the tent, attached the Christmas lights, stuck one set of skis and poles next to the tent, and then began testing the flash. It is best to establish the proper f/stop for the flash exposure in the tent first and then you leave the aperture the same throughout your shoot, just bracketing shutter speed. Then I waited for dusk and like the previous shot, started shooting when the sun had set and kept shooting until all I had was the Christmas lights and little exposure in the background. It turns out the alpenglow on the mountains made the mountain perfect and plenty of detail in the tent and lights.
I have tried numerous Holiday theme outdoor shots, but these three are the sellers. I hope this inspires you this Holiday season to get into the outdoors and create some marketable outdoor images with a Holiday theme.
If you plan to shoot some Holiday images like these, please drop us a note since we plan to run a post on readers image. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Books on Outdoor Photography: