If you’re a photographer or designer who creates composite images and finds they are using the same elements over and over again, then this is an article for you. We will describe simple workflow management steps that will allow you to create higher quality images and increase productivity.
As a person who generates images for purposes of income, time is money. If you can reduce the time it takes to create an image, then you can increase productivity. This can be huge in the world of online stock photography. An individual must compete in a world dominated by image factories on the high end and hundreds of thousands of single contributors who, as a whole, form a giant portfolio against yours. Perhaps you’re a designer or digital artist who does one project at a time, by reducing your time per image frees up your time for more projects.
The first step is to realize what images or elements you reuse when creating images. When creating composite images, you may find yourself using the same backgrounds over and over. What you should do is create a directory structure on your hard drive for Standard Images. Sub-folders can arrange your images in a logical order so you can easily find them. Create folders for backgrounds, landscapes, buildings, people, flowers, etc.
Image via Dreamstime.com
This allows you to create a library of images where they can easily be retrieved. Some photographs can take hours to do the desired post editing. By saving images that can be repurposed for different concepts, you will save yourself a huge amount of time from having to reinvent the wheel. Over time your library will grow, and this will give you a greater range of images and concepts that you can create which will save you even more time.
Every photographer and artist are different, each with their own vision and skill level. If you work with people and live models, one thing you can do is photograph heads at different angles and then photo-edit the heads onto characters created with 3D software. While great strides have been made with 3D software, people and characters can still fall short of looking real, even with professional grade software used in Hollywood. If you’re an individual working in their basement, good, low-cost 3D software can be purchased which will give you a wide berth in the kinds of people you can create. By using the heads of real people on bodies and clothing, you will suddenly have no limits on the kinds of people you can create.
If you’ve ever done a model shoot using costumes, you may end up getting a small number of concepts. 3D software can provide unlimited costumes and using the head of your model will give you a more realistic character. One head can be put on many different costumes. Make sure to photograph the head with multiple angles and expressions.
Thanks to current technology, hundreds of thousands of images are now available in the public domain. The United States Library of Congress has images. NASA has images in the public domain. Many art museums are digitizing their collections and making them available for public and commercial use. There even are web sites where regular people put their images into the public domain. Personally, I would never give up rights to my work, but those images are available.
Because of public domain images, you now can find science fiction backgrounds, scenes of cities, historical sites, and more that you can incorporate into composites. If you use works from the public domain, make sure the images are truly public domain. Don’t use pictures of people. If you do not have a hard copy of a model release form, then avoid using pictures of people.
Image via Dreamstime.com
Again, you can create a library of public domain images that you know you can use more than once, and this also helps to save time. Because of images in the public domain, you can obtain pictures of the pyramids in Egypt, the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the surface of the moon, and virtually any other subject. Finding the perfect image may be a challenge but now you no longer need to fly to Egypt to obtain an image on your own for a desired concept.
If there is a catch to all of this, it’s that you will need the skill to create composite images. The tricks outlined in this blog won’t apply to everyone since we all generally focus on certain niches and genres. But if you’re in a world where you need to compete with image factories and outnumbered by the sheer numbers of others doing the same thing, then you need to increase your productivity and create images that only a few others can create.
Building a library of your own reusable images and storing them in a logical manner will save you time and increase your productivity. Discovering the benefits of 3D technology will allow you to create a wider range of concepts. And public domain images are another option to provide more a greater ability of what you can create. The ideas presented here are of course contingent on your skill for using photo editing software. However, if you’re serious about earning an income through photography or digital art, then the software is probably a tool you’re already using. And anyone can learn the software if they have the passion to grow their career with selling images as a professional.