Images are a means of communication. And just as spoken and written language adapts over time, visual language does too. Successful stock contributors keep their portfolios current and optimized to serve the needs of image buyers.
So where do you go to find trends and inspiration? Start with a paper notebook, a tablet computer, a smartphone, or any desktop, and keep an idea journal or mood board of what you find. Here are some places to get ideas for the imagery you create.
1. Social Media and Online Tools
What topics are trending? Who are the most influential people in news and culture? What causes do they believe in? What issues are controversial? How could they be illustrated conceptually and literally?
2. The Newsstand
Scan the latest headlines. Are there any common themes? What are the political issues that will carry into the next election? Are there any emerging or inspirational aesthetic or visual trends?
3. Home Furnishings and Fashion
What colors are most popular? What looks were popular in this year’s fashion shows? What styles are popular in home and garden magazines?
What are the coolest new gadget trends on the technology blogs? What types of products and technology make headlines at the electronics trade shows? How do popular products today, like cell phones or computers and tablets, differ from ones seen in previous years?
What is changing about ethnic and cultural diversity? How is your neighborhood changing?
6. The Calendar
What are the anticipated news, social, and cultural events that will be coming up in the next year or two?
7. Your Street, Your World
What’s different about your neighborhood? The local food? Local fashion? Architecture? Religion? Cultural events? There’s increasing demand for “local” and “authentic” images.
8. Holidays and Celebrations
What are the popular holidays and celebrations around the world or in your town?
9. Contemporary Art
You should never copy the work of other artists. But you should keep an eye on what’s interesting and new in the world of art, including photography. What problems, issues, or concepts are contemporary artists trying to explore? What new techniques are available? Take a look at gallery shows, as well as art blogs, books, and magazines.
10. Classical Art
Sometimes the old ways are the best. Museums and art shows that include traditional paintings are great sources of timeless inspiration.
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