Finding the Unusual Subject

Common everyday subjects photographed in good light with the best technique are difficult to sell in today’s competitive marketplace. This is especially true for natural history subjects.

The key to success in marketing images comes down to either being extremely creative in portraying familiar subjects in a completely different way or by finding unusual subjects that have not been extensively photographed.

The following example illustrates my first point. In his book titled, “Celestial Nights” by Neil Folberg, the photographer shot a very common subject (landscapes) in the dead of night using only the moon and stars for lighting. The photographs in this book are intriguing to look at and are publishable because they are so unfamiliar to us.

Finding unusual subjects close to home that have not been widely photographed is a real challenge.  Recently, I was able to meet this challenge. While on a field trip to photograph wildlife, I found a Whip-poor-will perched on an old fence post in a farmers field.  The Whip-poor-will is  hard to find due to the fact it’s nocturnal (active only at night).  In addition, it’s a threatened species in many areas making it even more difficult to locate.  Given these facts, a good Whip-poor-will photograph should be very marketable.

When out in the field, try to keep the above points in mind. Make it your goal to create images that somehow might be a little different and thus stand out from the competition.

Whip-poor-will, (copyright) -Adam Turow

Nikon F-100, Nikkor 500mm f4, Fujichrome Provia 100F

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