"Ever seen a whippet wearing a gold necklace?" Over the last decade it’s been difficult not to notice the increasing number of stock photo libraries, and likewise the growing numbers of stock photos themselves.
Until recently I was perhaps unfairly negative in my view of the stock industry: Maybe I’ve just seen one too many ‘Goldfish Jumping out of Bowl’ or come across more than my fair share of slightly too happy ‘Woman in a Naturally Lit Kitchen Eating a Salad’, but either way you could rely on me to be the first to despair at the news that a certain image library has reached 10 million images … or that another image library has now got 100,000 contributors.
Now it is 2012 (almost twelve years since the creation of iStockphoto) and I have been forced to reassess my old fashioned view of the Microstock Industry. In searching my way through the collections of a few websites I’ve discovered that Microstock doesn’t have to be ‘stocky’, businesspeople don’t always have to be shaking hands, and money banks don’t always have to be ‘cute pig’ shaped.
An Overdue Apology
I like to refer to this category as ‘Premium Microstock’, and there is, I’ve recently discovered, an image library which has no shortage of it. To pay my respects to an industry that in the past I may have been unfairly rude about – I’ve assembled twenty photographs (courtesy of ingimage.com) which I feel excellently represent this category. I hope you like them.
Exceptionally Creative Stock Photos
The Glamourous Whippet
Now this certainly isn't your average stock image of an animal ... for starters there's no white background here. I can only imagine this was shot at a carefully chosen location, possibly with some kind of casting session involved.
Ice Cream Mohican
Well, to be honest I literally have no idea who might have a use for this image. Nonetheless it does look cool.
The Other Ring?
What we can learn from this is that either somebody: 1. Splashed out on a massive gold ring, 2. Found a tiny naked women, or 3. Knows how to free transform in Photoshop.
Insensitve Placement of Toys
I can see a potential use for this image in an Animal Rights Campaign
Senior Man Using Computer
Most stock images on this topic tend to be overtly patronising. This one however, is just excellent.
A Convincingly Realistic Staged Race
There's some almost competent acting invloved here, and an unusally high level of attention to detail.
Unusual Encounter on a Tree
Now we're talking creative - 10 points to anybody who can think of a potential use for this image!
Woman Playing Enthusiastically with a Sieve
A refreshing take on a saturated field here. This woman is having a great time.
X-ray of a Crab
Not something you see everyday. Potentially a use here to promote a specialist Marine Veterinary Practice?
Aerial View of a Pool
Subject-wise this one is perhaps less creative than the others, but the composition is exceptional.
Lady Gaga gets her hands on some Lightning
In an unexpected twist Lady Gaga turns her career towards modeling for Royalty Free images.
It must have taken A LOT of work to get this image looking THIS good. Let's hope there are some people out there who want to download it!
Original Take on a Punch
The floating hat is a lovely touch!
A Rare Breed of Dachshund
Watch out for the speed bumps!
If this selection of images is representative of the next generation of microstock, I think their fate is in very safe (albeit less useful) hands. It seems to me that stock photography has evolved to the point where it can be as much a source of inspiration, as anything else.
To browse more images of this caliber, I'd suggest checking out ingimage.com, one of the forerunners of 'Premium Stock' (who happen to be giving away high res images with a free trial subscription!). So if you ever have a need for an X-ray of a crustacean, or an understated photo of a superhero you know where to go!
We'd love to hear any ideas you have about where these obscure creative photos might find a use!