I love skiing and last weekend I enjoyed the slopes of the Italian Alps. As you probably already know, skiing is a really expensive hobby, so one more reason to combine it with my stock photography business. I trust that my pics from this short trip should recoup most of my expenses.
Going the extra mile
To capture the following shots meant that I had to leave my poles at home (so they wouldn’t get in the way) and kept my bulky Nikon firmly stuck to my chest/shoulders while enjoying myself at the slopes. While everybody else was taking selfies, I was capturing professional pics to be used in all sorts of media!
Over two days I captured just shy of 200 images (plus another 50 from the town of Aosta), aided by fantastic early spring weather. I’m happy to share with you some of my best shots and my stock strategy, in chronological order.
While waiting at the ski rental shop, I managed to sneak in some cool shots of the workers with the equipment and some of the rows.
Some fun at the bunny hill
While helping a friend out to ski, I captured some of the action at the beginners’ hill. Nothing spectacular but has some value since winter sports is a big business and has a strong chance to be featured in news pieces. Look at those amazing blue skies!
To include identifiable people or not
While searching for angles, on some occasions I was purposely looking to include identifiable people (editorial) and other opportunities where the scene was more empty (commercial), even if the scene was similar. All about giving the buyers choice and it’s already Royalty-Free so choice + flexibility, what the fuck more do they need?
Why not just make it all commercial you may ask? Well, I think there’s value in having identifiable people in the foreground to add a human element.
Here’s some examples to illustrate this concept (also think that the man skiing wearing jeans is unique):
However, including people in ski-shots is recommended to properly tell the story:
Especially if they’re having a good time!
Keep in mind that some agencies, such as iStock are a real pain to reject commercial images even if there’s tiny people in the background or even if they’re silhouetted.
I was really fortunate with the weather. At vantage point at 3,000 metres in Aosta, it’s possible to see both the Matterhorn (Swiss Alps) to the north and Mount Blanc (French Alps) to the west. Quite cool!
As usual for a pano, I combined 5 photos together shot at 24mm and stitched it together on Lightroom.
Since this is a great shot, took me a while to put together the caption and keywording so buyers can actually find among the millions.
Caption: Panoramic view of European Alps during winter, captured at Aosta in Italy facing north towards Switzerland, and West towards France
Keywords: ski resort, ski, alps, italy, panorama, alpine, aosta, background, beautiful, cervinia, chairlift, clouds, cold, copy space, downhill, environment, europe, european, french alps, glacier, groomed, high, ice, italian alps, landscape, matterhorn, mountain range, mountains, mt blanc, nature, outdoor, panoramic, peak, pila, piste, scenery, scenic, snow, snowboard, swiss alps, switzerland, top, tourism, travel, valley, view, winter, zermatt, winter sport, mount blanc
Make a wrong turn and you’ll end up in a different country!
For people living in the Americas this may sound strange. Since many of the resorts in the Alps share borders with other countries. In this case, I captured a shot of a skier looking at one of the signs pointing to different pistes, including one which is in France!
Fine Art Shots
I love fine art pics over and above stock, even if I’m struggling to sell them as POD.
Some shots lend themselves for being hung up on someone’s wall and I sure captured a few of these, such as the following, which is for sale on my Photo4me portfolio:
Last word on capturing strong concepts
To me stock is simple. It’s providing businesses with image solutions. They ask for it and you give it to them, on a plate. It’s all about three ingredients:
- Strong trending concepts
- Strong technicals, including copy space (important to keep your style consistent)
- Accurate metadata
Clients may search for “Italian Alps, skiing, one person” and you’ll probably see this image as one of the popular results and not by accident.
The fact that Shutterstock accepted it as commercial (after some work to clone logos and remove people) makes it even more special especially as we’re halfway through the winter Olympics…
Same with this one of a wider shot of the piste, which was accepted as commercial. I enhanced the light flares using Photoshop for more impact.
Winter is coming to an end
Don’t know about you but I’m quite happy that winter is close to an end and I’ll soon be able to get on my bike. I’ll of course keep you updated on my adventures.
Until next time!
P.S: Almost everything went through on the latest batch…wasn’t always this easy to get content approved on Shutter (they’re letting their QC guard down imo)
Thanks Alex – great information as usual! My only comment on the images – the one with the ITA skier seems very “static” (and even boring) to me. Did you capture any as he was starting to actually ski down the hill? Yes, I know, always critical!
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Thanks MS! Good point about that one, I did but then other people got in the way and got into a big mess…I think I’ll just end up submitting that one as editorial. Great tip :))