empty two lane asphalt road with yellow line.  Taken by Spokane Photographer Alan Tower. www.alantowerphoto.com

This photo of an empty road can be very useful later in making a composite photo in Photoshop. Take folders of stock photos and shoot all the parts of your photographs.

There are many companies offering stock photos.  They are excellent and have enormous numbers of offerings.  However, when I produce a photograph, it is my own little quirk that I want to have taken all the parts of that photograph.  I don’t purchase pieces of the photo on line and then take it from there, but I certainly understand the reasons many people choose to take advantage of the high quality images available.

blue sky with covering of somewhat transparent cirrus clouds.  Taken by Spokane Photographer Alan Tower www.alantowerphoto.com

Capture a great variety of cloud and sky shots in vertical and horizontal and you’ll have the stock photo you need to make a composite or rescue a photograph.

So, how do I do this?  What really helps is to take photos that might be “boring” or missing a subject, but can be useful when you’re putting together a final image.  For example, make a folder of “sky” pictures and take photos of the sky with as many variations, clouds and lighting as possible.  One of the most common problems in a photo may be a blown out or flat, boring sky.  If you have a folder of alternatives, you may be able to rescue an otherwise fine shot.  Be sure to shoot some horizontal and some vertical shots.  See pretty clouds?  Then collect a few shots.  You won’t need thousands.  Usually you’ll want to capture the photo with the clouds and lighting all at once since nothing beats “real”.  But a folder of sky shots may save the day.

It can also be helpful to have a shot of a road, a field, the woods and so forth.  Just a folder or two of empty “background” stock shots.  Then you can put together an image that will incorporate the shots.  Often studio shots can be placed into amazing settings simply by using the various backgrounds.  A photo of some waves or an empty beach might not be thrilling, but it might be the perfect stock shot in which to situate a subject at some point down the road.

Bright yellow flowers of a large canola field with low mountains in the background and clouds.  Taken by Spokane Photographer Alan Tower  www.alantowrphoto.com

This canola field lacks a subject, but may be a great stock photo to have on hand to composite a studio shot at a later date.