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.
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.