Torture Chamber Stock Theme Walkthrough

Many of my shots that I submit to various agencies come from a 5-minute radius walk of where I live. Not only does this keep my costs down, but it saves me a considerable amount of time! In fact, the past few days I’ve been shooting time-lapses from outside of my balcony.

Anyway, in this short tutorial I’ll go through I shoot I did today at a basement! I’ll outline what was going on in my head and disclose all settings and lastly, where I’ll be submitting to and why.

Scary Dungeon = Photo Opportunity

On the basement of my apartment are rows upon rows of individually-locked storage rooms. I’ve been heading there a few times during the winter to pick up and drop stuff off and always kept a mental note to go back to do a fine artsy photo-shoot.

It was kinda cold and uncomfortable to head there during the winter, but with warmer weather today I decided to head downstairs and give it a go! I usually like to take Mondays off but I have to feed my photography obsession and pulling in a full day’s work…no rest for the wicked

Setting the scene

Who’s my audience and why?

Before I even pressed the first button I asked myself for which audience was I shooting for? Was I shooting for:

  • Microstock?;
  • Wall art prints?;
  • Book covers?
  • For fun (yea right lol).

I’ll reveal the answer at the end!

First Scene

I noticed some orange marks on the walls. Placing my tripod symmetrically down the stairs & corridor, I grabbed this shot. RAW version below:

first dungeon
RAW files always look blah! Look as it liven it up! 😀
After! Notice how I changed the hue of the orange paint to a more red-ish to mimic human blood muahah
Slightly off-centre version with plenty of copy space and contrast++ throughout

Down the corridor a kinda scary/freaky corner with locked doors. I cloned out all the logos on the padlocks, opting to leave the numbers on the doors to make it look more like a prison. Do you like it?

ISO 64, F10, 24 seconds

Second scene

I liked the look of that fluorescent light and focused on it. while giving it a really contrasty-look. It’s such a generic scene that could even be in a submarine, thus adding potential value. Here’s the before version:

This shot was more tricky since a normal exposure would have blown out the light, so I underexposed by 1.5 stops.
Some dodging and burning and voila!

Third and Last Scene

The last scene was focusing on the padlocks and doors.


Then my favourite from the padlock series:

ISO 50, F5, 30 seconds

Where will I be submitting these and why?

These will go to Arcangel Images, a boutique agency specialising in thriller/horror/suspense type book covers. You probably guessed it by my clever use of copy space and grain++ (at least in some images)! As for fake lens flares, not this time haha

I’ve been quite tough on them lately, since after three years I was getting frustrated at the lack of licenses. But it turns out this last week I had two! So this gave me some fresh motivation to work for them, in addition to such licenses being RM-exclusive and book covers…the royalties are certainly interesting.

One of my images on a book cover, licensed by Arcangel Images


The shoot took me about 30 minutes, then one hour of post-processing. Arcangel will then do the keywording in-house.

I’m quite happy with the results and let’s see if they’ll sell. Perhaps most importantly is that I didn’t have to travel anywhere to get these shots. So may this be a lesson to you when considering stock photography options to shoot. Venice? Paris? How about your basement!

Until next time – Alex

About Alex

I’m an eccentric guy on a quest to visit all corners of the world and capture stock images. I’m determined not to waste my life away as a corporate drone and have devoted five years to making it as a travel photographer and freelance writer. I hope to inspire others before it’s too late.

I’m proud to have written a book about my adventures which includes tips on making it as a stock travel photographer – Brutally Honest Guide to Microstock Photography

One comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.