Six Tips for Creating Best-Selling Studio Portraits

Header image by Anastasia Kazakova.

by Adobe Stock Team

posted on 03-27-2018

Anastasia Kazakova’s love for photography began serendipitously when she came across her first professional camera. “I fell in love with how different objects looked through it,” she recalls. Since her first camera, Anastasia’s passion and craft has only grown. Today, she is a successful stock photographer and video contributor. Anastasia’s background in advertising gives her an insightful edge on what kind of stock images are successful. Here, she shares her best practices for creating best-selling studio images for stock.

1. Have a clear concept and style

Styling is a big part of any shoot. It’s helpful to have a clear vision for what you want, and to convey those ideas clearly to your stylists before you go on set. Clear direction will ensure that the team comes prepared with exactly what’s needed to execute the production, so you can avoid mistakes and save time on set.

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2. Get creative with lighting

Anastasia advises starting with a main light source, then experiment with adding additional sources as necessary. Sometimes she even challenges herself to break away from her usual set up and find new lighting scheme. This way, she can keep things interesting on set, and also end up with images that are unique and different from her previous shoots.

3. Take time discovering your subject

One of the first things that Anastasia does with a model on set is to ask them to pose in their habitual ways. “In this moment, I’m discovering her manner of moving,” she explains. As the model is getting comfortable in front of the camera, Anastasia looks for the things that make the model unique. She can then spend the remainder of the shoot focusing on these unique characteristics to produce images that really make the model’s individuality shine.

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4. Fix mistakes as they happen

Pay close attention to the styling details as the shoot is progressing, as this will again save you time in the long run. “Retouching hair is one of the most complicated parts of post production, and it’s much easier to correct hair during the shooting, rather than in Photoshop,” says Anastasia.

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5. Find your retouching style

In her early days, Anastasia often retouched the same photo three or four times in different ways to get comfortable with the processes and find her style. Today she is an experienced retoucher, and goes in with a light touch. Heavily retouched images are becoming less and less believable and relatable, and Anastasia personally prefers the human element. “I love imperfection,” she says, “so do not try to change it too much with makeup or in postproduction.”

6. Last but not least – keyword accurately

After all the excitement shooting and editing your photos, indexing them for stock submissions may not seem all that exhilarating. But Anastasia understands that keywording plays a critical role in ensuring that her portfolio is successful. “I try to imagine who could use the image and for what kind of advertisement or article.” She also recommends saving a list of common keywords so you can refer back and quickly copy and paste, and add new ones when necessary.

The Adobe Stock Contributor Portal can also help you cut down on tedious indexing. Our auto-keywording tool will visually analyze your photos and generate suggested keywords, which you can review and edit as necessary.

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See more stunning studio images by Anastasia on Adobe Stock.

Topics: Digital Transformation

Products: Stock, Photoshop, Creative Cloud