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Search for “Valentine’s Day” on pretty much any stock photo website, and you’ll likely be inundated with hearts, candy, red wine, and couples smiling at each other in a staged, cheesy sort of way.

Clicking through page after page of these types of photos gets monotonous. 

From a stock photo perspective, Valentine’s Day shouldn’t be ignored because there is big demand for images to represent this holiday every year.

However, if you can think beyond the common hearts and chocolate sort of photos, your shots are much more likely to get noticed by clients who are looking for something unique.

These days, stock photo buyers are generally looking for images that are believable and authentic. So, here are some ideas to keep in mind as you get out your camera to capture the concepts of love and togetherness“—to take real stock photos this Valentine’s Day.

Show genuine interaction. Since Valentine’s Day is all about the celebration of love, couples, and relationships, it makes sense that photos that show caring interactions between two subjects work great for communicating that message.

If you can find a real-life couple to model for you, it will likely be easier to capture genuine affection since your models will already have a natural rapport. Also, don’t feel limited to human models. The shots below certainly get the idea of relationship and caring across and could easily be used for Valentine’s Day projects.

Buyers no longer want cheesy, staged photos - here's how to take real photos that will sell well...

Don’t overdo it. There’s no need to go overboard when it comes to your set and styling. For example, your models don’t need to be wearing all red on a red background with hearts and roses to get the idea of Valentine’s Day across. When it comes to stock, simplicity sells best, so don’t be afraid to be subtle and low key with props and styling.

Capture relatable moments. Think about how people celebrate Valentine’s Day in real life. From a couple eating a nice dinner out to kids exchanging handmade cards at school, there is a real variety in ways to depict this occasion. However, for the most part, showing glimpses of small, sweet moments from the day will probably come across as more believable than staged, dramatic gestures.

Don’t forget to keyword. Last but not least, don’t forget the important step of adding Valentine’s Day related keywords when you upload your photos. It’s the main way that photo-buyers will find your images, so it’s crucial to include words such as “love,” “romantic,” “red,” “Valentine,” “couple,” and anything else that applies to your particular image.

I hope this inspires you to approach Valentine’s Day as a fun photo challenge. Try to go beyond the obvious, clichéd images to offer stock photo-buyers something creative and different to represent February 14.

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