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There are two types of stock photography – editorial and commercial. Most people think of stock images for their commercial use.  They think of pictures purchased by companies or designers for use in an advertisement, on a brochure, on a website or a billboard. But many of the big stock sites have started accepting and selling images for editorial use, too.  These photos can only be used for editorial purposes – in a magazine, textbook or website — where someone is writing about a product but not selling it. Does this mean that if you happen to shoot something with a logo on it you can upload it as “editorial” by not removing the logo?  No.  Because editorial photos need to be shot in a certain way.  The product becomes the focus of the image and the most important part.  It’s not something that’s simply in the background. As an example, here’s a group of images that, together, paid for my iPhone 4S… When I ordered my iPhone 4S, I knew I wanted to photograph it to help pay for the phone. So when it arrived, I took some shots of it even before I opened the package. Product shots with the packaging typically sell well as editorial because there are many people out there who like to use imagery like this when they talk about products in an editorial context. Once I installed the phone, I took some close-up images of icons on the device – an email icon and some social network app icons – showing the icons within context of the phone.  I took some other shots, too, including the password screen and a hand holding the phone. (Bringing in a human element – like hands holding the device, finger swiping, typing, etc. – can help to add value to an image.  I recommend doing this.) To get good shots of the images on my phone’s screen, I used a tripod and a long exposure.  Exposing both the screen and the device together required careful attention.  Editing, cloning, adding or removing the screen and editing individual areas of the image is not allowed in editorial.  You have to get it right in the camera. The only editing you’re really allowed to do on your computer is isolating the product on a white or black background. (Other colors sometimes work, too.) When you do this, you’re allowed to edit the background to make it seamless.  You’re also allowed to make minor overall adjustments (e.g., contrast and brightness) when minimally applied. Thousands of people around the world use product shots in their articles. Consumer products like packaged food, technology devices and toys are especially popular with photo buyers.  So if you buy a product that you want to pay for with your images, try shooting it before using it. Put your camera on a tripod, pay very close attention to your light, use a plain or solid background, consider adding a human element and shooting not just the item but also the packaging and the item being used. And be sure to get the image near-perfect in your camera.  Then edit your near-perfect image ever so slightly on your computer and upload it to the agency of your choice as “editorial.” That’s all there is to it. Good luck!

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