I recently outlined thoughts/direction on how to select stock photography for a project I’m working on. I thought these thoughts could come in handy for others looking for a good foundation for selecting stock photography (or critiquing it).
First off and obviously the most important thing to consider: the context of the image needs to tell the story that you want to tell. Make sure you fully understand the story before you get too far down the visual path. The second most important thing is make sure the image doesn’t look staged. Check the eyes, smile, body language, etc., and try to think about the people in the images. Are they really in the moment? After you’ve figured this out, go on to the following:
What to avoid visually:
Assessing the image:
Once you think you’ve found what you’re looking for, take a step back and look at the image, then close your eyes and imagine it in a magazine and/or layout. Does it work? How does it feel? Next, look at:
Color/tonal range: make sure the photos feel like they’re from the same family. You may need to break out Photoshop to make this happen.
Last thing: Take your time and try to enjoy image hunting. Slowing down helps a lot too.
If you have any thoughts or ideas to add on how you find the right image, please leave it in a comment below.