Welcome to the blog! twcdm.blogspot.com is all about sharing tips, tricks and tutorials all having to do with photography, Photoshop and getting into the stock photo industry.

Travis Manley

My bio is here.
My Stock Photography portfolio is here.
My personal blog is here.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Stock Photography: What sells? What Should You Upload?

If you are just getting into stock photography or thinking about getting into it the question your probably asking yourself (or should be asking) is what should I submit?

Unfortunately it not an easy question to answer. Not all stock photo sites are looking for the same thing. Here is what Dreamstime.com is looking for straight from their site:

"We are looking for well defined commercial concepts, marketable good compositions with creative insight, high technical level in terms of color, definition, lighting. We encourage digital processing and creativity, as long as it gives the image more appeal, but keeping in mind the generic essence of stock imagery. This is true for the main theme of the image, too. The subject should be as generic as possible, while composition clear, without elements that can distract the viewer from the main theme. We value intellectual creative process which makes the difference between concept and point-and-shoot. One good way to get a better image of what's hot in stock, is to browse through our best selling images. This way you'll get a visual, thus more effective help in understanding and achieving success as a stock photographer on Dreamstime."

Every site is a little different and they best way to figure out what a site wants and doesn't want is to just start submitting. This can be a little frustrating at first. One site might accept every photo out of a batch you submit and you can turn around, submit that same batch to another site and get half (or more) rejected. The thing is if your photos are good chances are they are going to get accepted anywhere you submit them.Here are some pretty safe subjects to shoot that will most likely get accepted and sell (assuming they are quality images).

  • Photos of people - I think a lot of new photographers are intimidated by working with models, but this is what can quickly separate you from the newbies.
  • Isolated objects - AKA: Images with the background completely removed in Photoshop or otherwise. Isolated objects are very valuable to buyers. A buyer can take your isolated image and throw it on a website or composite it into an image with any background they want hassle free.
  • Business & Technology Themes - Images of business people and objects. There is already a lot of this out there, but as business and technology changes there will be lots of room for new creative photos.
Well I hope this is enough to get you started. With a little research its not hard to see what is selling and what you should be uploading. *Hint: If you have an idea for a photo hop on a stock site and do a search for that subject and see what sites have already. There is no point in taking the time and effort to shoot something they already have a million of. It might give you an idea of how to do it in a different more original way.

If you have any comments or questions please email me.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Photoshop: From Snapshot to Stock Photo pt. 2

In part one I talked about taking the photo and isolating it. In part two im going to talk about getting the most out of your photos.

This photo took me hours so I want to make sure im going to get my moneys worth out of it. By changing the color of the body I can make this look like a totally different car. You never know what people are going to need so its good to give them options.

Here is what I did. In Photoshop I took my car layer and added a Hue/Saturation layer. I checked the Colorize box and bumped the saturation up too 75. From here all you have to do is move the Hue slider around until you get the color you want. The next step is painting out the areas I dont want to be Colorized. Add a layer mask (if you dont already have one) and start painting out those areas you dont want to be affected.

This little trick works for lots of things.

This photo was of three red cups.

You get the idea. Have fun.

If you have any questions about Photoshop or stock photography email me at

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Photoshop: From Snapshot to Stock Photo

Here is one of the latest photos I have been working on. I thought it might be interesting to post the before and after as an example of what I do in Photoshop my photos.

This is a lot more work than I typically do, but to be honest I have fun doing this meticulous stuff sometimes and I have a feeling that this has lots of sales potential.

So here is what I did.

I took this photo on a slightly foggy day so the light was nice and soft. I used a tripod to make sure the focus was sharp so when I went to isolated the photo I would have nice crisp edges to work with.

If I had a studio big enough and the right lights I would have taken this shot inside, but I dont. This is where Photoshop comes in. I converted the photo to black and white and painted out the areas I wanted to have color (the tires, lights, etc.) I also boosted the contrast a bit so the car looked newer and cleaner.

To reduce the amount of distracting reflections from my house and yard I tried to look at the car in three colors/shades, dark, medium and light. I took all the areas that were mostly dark and made them more solid by painting in the "spotty" areas. Then I did that to the mediums and lights.

I then used the pen tool to trace around the car and cut out the background.

That is the quick version of what took me roughly three hours of work.

Isolated photos are great for stock photography. A buyer can take this image and easily place it in an ad or on a website and add different backgrounds.

If you have any questions about Photoshop or stock photography email me at

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Macro Photography on the cheap

*Above photo from i-source-global.com

If you like shooting things up close you have to try out extension tubes.

Extension tubes are a great way to take great macro and extreme close up photos using the lenses you have already. They are also cheap because they have no glass in them, they are just hallow tubes.

I just found some generic no brand tubes for about $20 that work fine. The only downside is they are built pretty cheap and do not communicate with my camera so I have to do all the settings manually and there is a little guess work involved. For about $80 you can get a really nice one that is built a little more solid and will have some auto ability with your camera.

If you have any questions about extension tubes feel free to email me.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Make Lots of $$$ at Shutterstock.com!

Have a digital camera or camcorder and want to make lots of money?

Looking for some great stock photos or video?

Sign up at Shutterstock.com!

Shutterstock is great. If you are at all serious about making money selling stock photos getting your images on Shutterstock should be #1 on your list of sites to check out!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Great Photography Show!

I found out about this great show about nature/wildlife/travel photography called "Travels to the Edge with Art Wolfe."

You can get more info here http://www.usa.canon.com/dlc/travels/season1.jsp

The host (Art Wolfe) is an awesome photographer from Seattle and does a great job hosting the show. The show is almost more of a nature/travel show with a little bit of photography thrown in, but if you go to the Canon page (http://www.usa.canon.com/dlc/travels/season1.jsp) you can watch some more "in-depth" clips from each episode where Art gets really specific about what he is doing and what equipment he is using.

Check it out!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Get $500 for 500 pictures on Pixmac!

Cool new site I just heard about has this great promotion going on right now.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

twcdm.com Blog!

Hi all,

The twcdm.com blog is finally online!

Im not much of a blogger, but its time to take a crack at it. I have been working like crazy to give the site (twcdm.com) a much needed face lift and and some cool new features.

The new and improved twcdm.com now includes free stock photos from BigStockPhoto.com, information about the stock sites that I sell my photos on, a page where you can search for stock photos from different sites, and a page where I will be writing Tips, Tricks & Tutorials all having to do with photography and Photoshop.

Hope you enjoy!