Professional Outdoor and Nature Photography 4: Capturing Adventure Stock Photos | Charlie Borland | Skillshare

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Professional Outdoor and Nature Photography 4: Capturing Adventure Stock Photos

teacher avatar Charlie Borland, Professional photographer for over 35 years

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

10 Lessons (1h 18m)
    • 1. Introduction to Adventure Photography

    • 2. Overview of Adventure Photography

    • 3. AreYou a Specialist or Generalist?

    • 4. Adventure Photography Markets

    • 5. Equipment & Props for Adventure Photography

    • 6. Concepts for Adventure Photography

    • 7. Composition and Lighting Techniques

    • 8. Advanced Techniques

    • 9. Finding Models

    • 10. Importance of Model Releases

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About This Class

Many outdoor photographers spend a lot of time in the outdoors hiking and camping and doing other outdoor activities and since there is a huge market for this type of imagery. This course explores adventure photography and various strategies to create adventure photography.

Meet Your Teacher

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Charlie Borland

Professional photographer for over 35 years


Charlie Borland has been a commercial and stock photographer for over 35 years. Based in Oregon, his clients include Xerox, NW Airlines, Fujitsu, Tektronix, Nike, Blue Cross, Nationsbank, Precision Castpart's Corp., Mentor Graphics, Texas Instruments, Pacificorp, Cellular One, Sequent Computer, Early Winters, Cascade Bancorp, and AGC. He has won numerous awards for his photography and received recognition for annual reports he has photographed.

His imagery has been used thousands of times worldwide, including National Geographic Adventure and Traveler, Outside, Women's Sport and Fitness, Newsweek, TV Guide, CIO, Sports Illustrated for Women, Time, Backpacker, Sunset, American Photo, Outdoor Photographer, Eco Traveler, Southern Bell, to name a few.

Charlie has been teaching... See full profile

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Photography Creative

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1. Introduction to Adventure Photography: I am Charlie Borland and welcome to my course on photographing your adventures. This short courses part of my Siris on how to be a professional outdoor in nature photographer. As outdoor photographers, many of us embark on various adventures like backpacking, rafting, climbing or simple camping trips, all to go somewhere to photograph beautiful landscapes and great adventures. But one thing I learned is that there is a good money, maybe even better money when selling photographs of the adventure itself and the people involved simply turning the camera from the basic landscape toe. The landscape with a tent or a hiker or a mountain biker can result in an image that has a much broader market appeal. So that's what this course is about. Understanding the markets for adventure images, how to photograph action and adventure, the importance of concepts, how to find models and so much more. So if you're looking for a new photographic adventure, let me tell you how easy it can be to capture dynamic storytelling images of your adventures. So let's get started 2. Overview of Adventure Photography: many years ago, my stock photo agency who loved my landscape photography told me if I really wanted to make even more money than I was, start photographing people since my stock photography at the time was all about the outdoors than it made sense to photograph outdoor activities. So I got busy doing exactly that. When you hear the term adventure travel photography, what comes to mind vast wilderness, dangerous activities, fear, risk or self challenge? A very good adventure photograph can be described with some of all of those keywords that I just mentioned. Those photographs, ideally drawn emotional response from the viewer who may wish to visualize themselves there or they may not. Great adventure photography is all about capturing that excitement, the grander and the emotional impact that the participants in the activity were experiencing when the photograph was shot occasionally for some photographers who returned home from the adventure of a lifetime and begin reviewing their photographs end up being disappointed because the images lacked the impact that they had witnessed when they work actually photographing. But the well trained adventure photographer knows how to transform what they witnessed or what they experienced into visually compelling images. Adventure travel means many things to many photographers. A great adventure could be trekking in Nepal or bicycling across China, climbing Mount Everest, trekking in the Himalayas, backpacking in the Rocky Mountains, sailing the South Pacific. It can also be something closer to home, like a casual weekend backpacking trip or a day canoeing on the lake or kayaking down the river or anything comparable. That's much more casual and easier to do. Adventure Travel photography can be anything you want it to be, and it can be based on your skill level or the skill level of others. Being successful in adventure photography does not require you to have the ability to, say climb Mount Everest or do that bicycling trip across China. Many of the best selling photographs may have been captured much closer to home and are very simple in concept for some photographers. They love to travel, and they enjoy recreational sports. So what's better than a course earning money for doing the activity that you love to do? Since most, if not all, photography is done in the outdoors, many photographers never need to learn the complex lighting of commercial photography or anything similar like that To compete in that category, there have been many river guides, rock climber's and general outdoor enthusiasts who decided to get a camera and document their adventures and then ended up with a very successful business with very little training whatsoever. Some have become extremely successful, and others have not. But in my opinion, the future belongs to the commercial outdoor and nature photography, the photographer who can capture not only great images of the outdoors but also of people, places and even products. So no matter what you shoot, the more you know, the more successful you will be to give you an idea about my adventure sports and recreation photography, I will start by saying that I've been a jack of all trades and master of none. Now you'll find in this course that I recommend against that. But at the same time, it's worked for me, and it might very well work for you. And what I mean by this is that I'm a photographer and, in my opinion, fairly accomplished. But I'm not a rock climber. I'm not a river guide, not a heavy mountain biker. Rather, I am just a photographer who enjoys all those activities and especially photographing him. So what I'm going to do in this lesson is show you how I shoot adventure imaging and give you ideas on how you can approach adventure, travel and also share some of my thoughts that go into creating marketable images, along with strategies for telling the adventure story. 3. AreYou a Specialist or Generalist?: I'm gonna talk again about being a specialist versus a generalist. You can be a specialist or a generalist with adventure photography, but there are some advantages to being a specialist. We've seen photographs of adventure sports in various magazines, and they made us Ooh and ah and wonder. How did they get that shot? Well, depending on how extreme the sport is depends on whether the photographer needs to be an extreme athlete as well or not. Many successful adventure photographers often live the adventure they photograph. Much of their best rock climbing photography is captured by climbers up on the rock wall, and this could be true for other adventures. These may require the photographer to be part of the action to get these shots. Sometimes these adventures take place in locations difficult to access, which requires the photographer to participate in the activity. What I mean by that is look at climbing Mount Everest. The photographer usually cannot photograph climbing Mount Everest without being on the climb itself and participating. Ah, photograph of a rock climber taken from the ground looking up does not have near the impact of an in your face shot taken by a photographer also on the rock wall and right next to the person who's doing the climbing. Other sports like hang gliding, scuba diving, skydiving, base jumping and other extreme sports are best illustrated with photography taken where the action is happening. If you want to see what I'm talking about, take a look at the work of veteran climbing photographer Greg Epperson. He is climbing on the wall for most of his dramatic climbing shots. Take a look at Cory Rich. Same thing. Cory is really well known for his adventure, sports and climbing photography, and travels the world photographing for a wide range of clients. If you happen to be active in any particular sport, you can quickly get marketable material by becoming a specialist in that particular activity and then marketing yourself as the photographer for that sport. And you do that by showing exceptional imagery. And when you do do that, you soon find yourself widely published and recognized throughout the industry as a niche specialised for your activity. But what if you're not an extreme athlete or participate in any action sports? Can you still photograph outdoor activities and get marketable images? Absolutely. There are many sports that are not extreme, and any outdoor photographer can photograph them because they're more passive and they still create very marketable images. For example, you can start simply by placing people in your landscape photos to add that human element and scale as well. You can photograph the kayaker going over the waterfall or shot from the Stream Bank. You can set up a fly fishing photo shoot very easily, take a rafting trip or photographed mountain biking, and all of these consult in great images. I consider myself an adventure recreation photographer with less extremes, less personal exposure for myself, and I have a lot of fun doing it. Other outdoor subjects that are more passive and what I call recreational sports are skiing , hiking, backpacking, snowshoeing, dog sledding, windsurfing, kayaking, canoeing, fishing, road biking, mountain biking, snowboarding, running, skateboarding, camping, sailing and one of my favorite people outdoors. There are also motorized sports that might be a little off subject as far as outdoor and recreation photography, but are still very worthy of consideration, like boating, jet skiing, motorcycling off road vehicles including dirt biking and a TV four by four off roading are being like motorhomes and travel trailers, waterskiing, wakeboarding and I could go on and on because there are so many more. So how you set yourself up to photograph adventure subjects is based on your personal interest, and I guess what I like to call your risk limitations. You can be a specialist or a generalist in any activity want. But I personally believe that being a specialist gets you more recognition quicker because you specialize in something. And then you become known for that, And another way to look at it is to consider the image taken by the photographer up on the rock wall next to the climber. There. Photographing this close in up high image says risk and Danger and will easily draw aim or enthusiastic response from the viewers. While the image taken from the ground might also look pretty good. But it may show a tiny climber on a rock wall. The result might be that the image looking up from the ground lacks the impact that the image taken up on the rock wall has, and thus it's going to sell less. Or maybe never. I should mention that I'm speaking here a little generically in that great images cell, no matter where they were taken from. So if anything, take what I'm discussing is a strategy toe. Look at how you plan to photograph adventures. Another thing to think about is that we are in a world of GoPro cameras, where it's easy to get extreme imagery with a camera strapped to the body. Like the guys who jump off cliffs with wing suits or kayakers going over a waterfall with a camera mounted to their helmet, the threshold has increased for dramatic storytelling imagery. Just a few years ago, this was not possible for the most part. But now we see incredible imagery every day, most of its being video. Now, before you think there's nothing suitable for your adventure spirit, hold on as we look at some other ideas. First, think about the fact that there's a niche magazine for just about every outdoor activity. Besides extreme sports, there are publications related to camping, hiking, backpacking, water, sports, equestrian activities, simple walking, fishing and many, many more. So first think about what interests you before settling in on choosing a subject. I love white water rafting and have photographed many trips throughout the Western U S and photographed three Grand Canyon rafting trips. I never rode the boat, so to speak, but I photographed everything. I was able to capture great point of view prospectus by sitting in the front of the boat and photographing everyone else in the boat. As we bashed through a lot of rapids, I was able to capture raps going through the rapids from the shore and later camp scenes, hiking and other activities. If you backpack or do winter camping, you can photograph all aspects of adventure from the hiking to the camp scenes as well as people amongst the scenery. You can also capture the tent, lit up a night and grab some nature subjects while you're at it as well. If you still prefer even simpler subjects that are plenty of options that do not require you to camp or take a trip, just a little planning to make it happen. A great idea used by many photographers is to go for a hike with friends and photograph them hiking, having lunch, sipping from the water bottle and enjoying nature. You can also buy a cheap and colorful dome tent and take it on your shooting adventures and then set it up amongst scenic surroundings and photograph it. One piece of advice, though, based on my experiences to make sure your camp set up looks believable. A tent by itself, without any props, like a backpack or camp chairs or even people, is not very believable. You can also go out for an afternoon with some mountain bikers to a popular location, where they ride and capture all the writing action and shoot other ideas like them putting on sandals or fording a creek with their bikes on their shoulder and all kinds of different ideas. Fishing is a huge market, and I emphasize huge, and it does not require the photographer to have any special adventure skills, both in close and tight shots of the fishermen in action. And the wider scenic with the fishermen have very broad appeal, of course. Don't forget holding the fish in the water, the close up of the fly on the fishing line frying a fish in the pan, even camp shots. If that's part of the adventure. There are so many markets out there for low risk and high risk adventure photography, and along with a little bit of ingenuity and planning, you can capture some very marketable imagery 4. Adventure Photography Markets: So, uh, if you decide to photograph adventure travel and recreation, you might be wondering, Who are you going to sell your pictures, too? In most cases, every adventure sport has a magazine representing that sport like snowboarding, for example, where there might be a dozen magazines or even more. In addition to the niche magazines, there's always a general interest publication that's dedicated to outdoor subjects like Outside Men's Journal and many more. And all of these would buy snowboarding at some point. To give you an idea, go do a search using outdoor adventure sports as your keyword and see what comes up in that search. The results might show a ton of magazines. Then there are calendars, books and travel publishers that also use adventure sports images like our example in this case, snowboarding. If you're shooting, for example, at a nearby ski area, know that the local visitor and convention association often buys photography of the sports there, and they use them to promote tourism. There is also occasional advertising and corporate clients looking for conceptual imagery to use in an ad or a brochure or an annual report. Then there are the manufacturers of outdoor related products. Once you've built up in inventory of incredible adventure images and hopefully made a name for yourself by getting published, start looking at product manufacturers who make products for outdoor enthusiasts. They might just buy photography, showing their products in use or even a sign a photographer to shoot their products in action. If you decide to pursue these manufacturers, go shoot some of their products in action as a way to get your foot in the door. Be sure to shoot their products with the identifiable markings, designs and logos showing and showing prominently. They want their markings to be visible and identifiable as their product. Later, you can put those images in your stock photo files to sell, but you will also have to head to the computer and remove those logos. So they appeal to the general stock photo buying public or magazines where they do not want any implied endorsement of any particular product. For example, I once photographed a nice boot detail with blur action of a hiker moving, and my stock photo agent rejected it because of the Nike swoosh showing on the side of the boot. I have done exactly as I'm suggesting here when it comes to working with manufacturers. Years ago, when I felt I had created a worthy portfolio of adventure images, I went toe one manufacturer and asked to borrow some clothing for an upcoming shoot. I then hired four models and put the company's clothing on them, and we headed into the mountains for four days while we camped in the mountains. We shot camping scenes, canoeing, mountain biking, hiking and backpacking, as well as some lifestyle images. The company used so many images in their next to catalogs. My invoice for stock photo usage was $18,000. Even better, it led to a long term relationship where I eventually was hired on assignment and photographed 12 catalogs for them, with each one a specific adventure theme like llama trekking or a photo shoot at a cabin in a ski area. We took a horseback trip, and we took a rafting trip, among many others. Eventually, the best part was that all the photography was returned to me that I shot for them on assignment, and then I could turn around and put it into my library of stock photo images, the biggest market for adventure photography is probably the magazines, and nowadays that includes the online versions being published in magazines won't bring you the most money, but we'll bring you the most recognition since many deal with the top photographers in their fields. If you want to break into the ski industry and shoot skiing, you will need to spend time building a fantastic portfolio and a big file of amazing ski photography. If you're just getting started and have a couple nice ski shots, the magazines very likely won't want to deal with you if you do not look big or shoot as good as the veteran photographer they use now unless they're publishing. One time a miraculous shot you captured. I once had a student in a workshop who asked me if he should contact the sailing magazines because he had taken one great sailing photograph. I told him that they deal with photographers who specialized in sailing, and they would probably not be interested unless it was an incredible one of a kind photo that occasionally is the lucky shot. No matter whom you choose to pursue as a client, you need to appear to them as a specialist in your subject field. Think about that. Scuba magazines by imagery from divers, not from ski photographers, ski magazines by from skiers and so on. So if you want to be a generalised, by all means, go for it and shoot whatever interest you, because that is so important. But when it comes to marketing, market yourself as a specialist and we're going to talk about more of that coming up. 5. Equipment & Props for Adventure Photography: so the type of equipment you use for adventure photography depends completely on the type of adventure you're photographing and also whether you are a specialist or a generalist. If you photograph only rock climbing as an example, you won't be taking much gear with you upon the rock wall, maybe a camera, one or two lenses and a flash. But you won't need that 500 millimeter lens or a heavy duty tripod or underwater housings. But if you are a generalised and shoot rock climbing, as well as a variety of other subjects, then you might want more gear that is specific for each of those subjects. Most outdoor photography of adventure and recreation is shot with 35 millimeter gear, and this is still widely accepted within the industry, especially with our high resolution digital cameras. I have three camera bodies, one full frame and two D X cropped sensors. These two bodies shoot at five frames a second and seven frames a second, which right now is pretty slow compared to some of the higher end cameras of 14 frames a second. But either way, it's critical for moving subjects like mountain biking, photography or similar I also have lenses ranging from 17 millimeter to 300 millimeters to cover all the perspectives I might want to capture. I also have a 15 millimeters fisheye and 100 millimeter macro, which I don't really use for adventure photography. As I mentioned previously, you should buy the best lenses you could afford. Because sharpness is critical. Adventure images can often be in large substantially when a client reproduces them and if they're captured with cheap lenses, that enlargement may not meet the clients quality needs. I also have a kid with five flash units in it and wireless triggers to fire them all, including light stands to put them on, if needed, a small lighting boom to extend a light above a subject. Numerous umbrellas, disc reflectors And as I mentioned earlier in the course, I love the Pelican waterproof cases when photographing anything wet like rafting. I do also have studio lighting gear because I've gone after some of the equipment manufacturers above outdoor products and they usually want studio photography done of those products, which I will show you how to do in a later lecture. I also have lighting gels for my flashes and my strobes to alter the color of the flash for effect. For example, you might add a C T o gel to convert your flash or your strobe to a warmer color balance, like turning your daylight flash into a warm colored light for a simulating sunset lighting . You can get these jails for flash units like those that are made by strobe ist, and you can find those online the major camera stores. You can also buy larger sheets of the same gels and add them to your strobe lights. As an example, I might convert a flash to very warm amber light and use it to fake camp fire lighting. All this equipment is nice toe have and carry with you when an idea suddenly hits you in the moment and you weren't anticipating that. So it's nice to have that gear available. But of course it depends on what activity you plan to photograph and whether that activity allows you to have lots of gear or a little bit of gear. As an example, what I'm rafting, the amount of gear I take can be limited, so I will include two cameras by 17 to 35 by 28 to 80 and my 72 200 lenses. I include one flash with trigger polarizing filter, my tripod and a wireless trigger for the camera, along with extra batteries and all of these air packed into two waterproof pelican cases. Since you will probably be shooting all digital images, downloading them in the field can be an issue. When you're in a very remote location, I will say that on my three Grand Canyon rafting trips are shot all film. But with a trip planned in the near future, I will be shooting all digital and video, and I will need to download those files while I'm on the trip. I've researched this some, and it looks like the best option will be digital storage device in a solar charging set up that will charge all the devices every day. I do take adventure trips to photograph them like rafting again, but I also stage adventure set ups like camping and mountain biking so that I can photograph them, and as a result, I have accrued a lot of props. I have seven tense from a large dome style toe mountaineering style and in different colors have six sleeping bags. A red canoe, five backpacks, which range from small day packs to large packs. Sleeping pads, three backpacks sides, camp stoves and then, of course, one large camping stove, two pairs of snowshoes, three pairs of cross country skis, two lanterns, three headlamps to mountain bikes, lots of different color and different size fleece. Parker's shorts and so on. All so that I can plan an adventure photo shoot where I might go out for a day or for a weekend or even a couple weeks specifically to photograph adventure type subjects. There are things that are required for shooting adventure sports when I'm staging a set up , and I want it to look, really. I have the equipment to shoot everything from backpacking, toe, large family, camp outs and many other setups. So if I hire a model for a photo shoot and she doesn't have the attire that I want in the scene, I need to have it myself. I also purchased all this gear through my business, so it's tax deductible. Certainly you do not need to go out and purchase these items when you're starting out, or if you have no interest in doing this type of photography. But if you do, make sure your models are wearing the latest and greatest or your efforts may be wasted. I have added all this equipment I own over many years and often because I had to keep up with the changing trends in outdoor gear, like clothing, changing colors and things like yellow tents, arm or salable than green tents. Here are two examples of good selling stock photos I carried the red jacket and day packed with me when I took this model on a hike. We stumbled on a spot where I had him climb up Iraq because it was a big thunderhead behind and he appears to be on top of the world. He was not really very high up, but I created the illusion that he is. There's lots of room for copy and headlines, and so this was a very marketable photo that my stock photo agent was thrilled with. So by only the camera gear you need for the activities you plan to shoot and don't go out and buy a fortune in props when you're getting started. But he'd my suggestion that your gear, both tents and packs and clothing all needs to be fairly current for the adventure images that you are about to photograph or they might not ever sell. 6. Concepts for Adventure Photography: I'm going to take a moment and revisit the idea of shooting concepts because this is still a very important idea and maybe even more important, because it's easier to apply concepts to adventure photography. If you're going to take an adventure like again a rafting trip where you're going to make an adventure, which is set up a camping seen as an example, you should keep concepts in mind because it really increases the chances of producing very marketable imagery. Photo buyers are often looking for images that have strong conceptual ideas behind the image so that they fit a specific need for their design and publishing projects for outdoor adventure photography concepts could include risk, challenge, success, danger and many other different ideas. And they can all be applied toe plenty of subjects that you might choose to go out and photograph to develop ballistic concepts for your next photo shoot. Keep in mind your current markets, but also keep in mind potential markets that you'd like to go after and those that might use your conceptual adventure imagery. When I plan to go shoot, I go through my idea file, I make a shot list and then I review it many times prior to shooting so that I can refine those ideas. This keeps me constantly thinking about different shots, and it motivates me to explore new ideas that I might not have considered. For example, I saw a photo of a person in a camp reading by flashlight. So I added that to my list. And when I rafted the Grand Canyon, I asked one of my fellow rafters if they would pose for me and this is the result. So here are some ideas that are very strong on concept. So this first image of a kayaker basically says one or risk danger. This guy on the rock with his arms raised says more about success and victory, but same here with this bicycling shot. I purposely had these guys separate themselves with the one man being in front, raising his arms like it was a bike race. And again it says, winning and victory. This mountain biker is streaking by. This is more about speed. This has been a popular image here from the Grand Canyon, where I had everybody stretch armed arm and touch fingertips, and this says community and companionship and similar concepts. This family kayaking was actually an assignment shot for an advertisement, but it says family basically family out together. This rafting shot from Alaska could say risk danger Arctic cold regions, glaciers. You know, that sort of thing. This climber on an ice wall with a heavy processing for effect could also say solitude, One alone danger. And then this woman with the waterfall behind could say reflection, inflection. Also solitude. One single woman like woman by herself. This mountain biker crashing basically says danger, injury, pain accident. So this is the type of thing that might be used by a law firm or medical practice. Something like that. It actually my biggest sale for this was for a sports injury clinic, then the guy holding the bicycle up. This is so easy to shoot, but this also says victory and winning. And that's type of concept than this night photo with these people. Wear in reflective clothing could say safety. The guy between the rock wall cracks with arms up says something more like again winning victory. I did it. Success. This one here from Sequoia National Park could be more related to the size difference and the scale between the small person and the giant trees could say, Giant old, long term, the couple in the canoe. Here is more about relax ation enjoying the outdoors, maybe love companionship. The sunset photo from Crater Lake in the winter could same or about exploring exploration. That's why have the arm kind of pointed out. The kayaker going over the waterfall certainly says risk and danger. This tent, decorated with Christmas lights, says one thing. Holidays. And then the climber on the rock wall, which is one of my first attempts at shooting conceptual stock photography, again says Victory success. Winning this woman climber with an effect could say struggle Challenge. The couple crossing the creek says more about love, companionship, helping the parent and child kayaking basically definitely, says parenting family. This couple here is in their fifties and senior citizens and mature adults is really the more politically correct name. Enjoying the outdoors is a very good concept, and that's exactly what this says. The guy on the Rock could say again, one success. Something like You could do it by yourself. Climb to the top. This couple on the Rock was actually used by Backpacker magazine as a story basically about couples enjoying the outdoors that Aaron couples in love that are enjoying the outdoors. This single person on a far ridge could also say remote risk, Danger, solitude one The guy holding the frog on a hiking trail, says Maura, about interaction with nature, one with nature, that type of thing. This guy rowing is a great photo struggle. Challenge. Give it your all. The single guy running down the road was a pretty popular stock photo of mine and again, one challenge single running the long road ahead and similar conceptual ideas. The walk, like an Egyptian shadows, is very good from playful or maybe being silly again. That's kind of a tough one you just don't know. And here the person on the Rock, which is actually me doing a self portrait on a backpacking trip, has been used as an ad. The ad was titled Number one, so again it was used for a software company, and they said they are number one in a specific software segment, and that's why they chose this photo. This back country cabin or cabin tent in the winter says warm, But it also says cold says, cozy comfort, security. And then this woman on the rock silhouette also says single one remote and so on. So hopefully these give you an idea about how you can set up conceptual stock photography, which is not very difficult to do. And hopefully it also shows you that it's pretty easy to create this stuff and how clients might use them in a conceptual manner. 7. Composition and Lighting Techniques: So, uh, when you head out to photograph people where they're on an adventure trip, were photographing someone closer to home the same compositional guidelines that exist for nature and landscape photography apply here is well. You could strategically place your subjects using all the compositional guidelines previously mentioned. Make sure that your subjects are large in the photo to show the action but also back off and make them a small element of a bigger scene. This is effective in showing scale in the photograph by having this vastly beautiful scene and the tiny person providing the human element. This also helps the viewer to connect better with the photograph, and that can create an emotion like them wishing they were in the photograph themselves. It's this emotional response that we wish to achieve with our photography, because this is what can motivate people to buy, whether it's your photo print or the magazine or product that you're photo is in. And that is the ultimate reason to sell photography. Here are a few images showing how the compositional guidelines have been applied. The woman hiking in the flowers is centered. Imagine if this was a tree trump this composition would not work, but she's the star of the photo, and being centred makes for a nice, strong image. The backpacker in the forest uses the trees as a frame, while the canoe here sits in the 1/3 hot spot. These sand dunes are a great example of a receding line drawn you into the picture. The horseback image use is the leading line of the group for creating drama, leading from the foreground to the background. This barbecue image from a rafting trip also leads your eye through the scene to the cook himself. This is a great storytelling image. Now we're gonna take a look at lighting. The rules for lighting remained the same for adventure subjects as they do for landscape in nature. So ask yourself what's the best possible lighting situation for the subject you're photographing? Flat contrast E side, front backlight, early light or late like Obviously, we cannot control outdoor light in every single situation were photographing in because in some cases the action is happening when it's happening, and we have no control in other situations, especially photo shoots that you are planning to set up. You can often pick and choose went to photograph based on the outdoor lighting conditions, and this is a big advantage. There's also the option of using supplemental lighting like flash, which is covered a little later on. We already know that good lighting can make or break and images marketability. If, for example, you're in the desert or an open area, shooting some action shots earlier. Late light works very well for most subjects, however, if you're photographing a backpacker in the forest or an area where the light is very contrast E. This can create problems due to that contrast. In some cases, when you're working with people and convict eight where they perform that action, then you can search for a location where the lighting will complement the subject, as well as the action they're performing like, for example, moved from the sun to the shape. This won't work with every subject, but it can be an option. These images represent two different light qualities. The lighting around this woman in the slot canyon is very flat and works better than direct sun due to the contrast that full sun would have created a slot. Canyon does not get full sun inside for very long, if at all, because the top is so narrow. But you can get fabulous bounce lighting from the sun, hitting the walls at the very top and filtering down. The woman at the waterfall is also flat lighting and works very well here. And I'll say again, if the sun was hitting her, the contrast would make it very difficult and especially because it's a waterfall which often just don't look that great. This guy in the rock is taking full advantage of the wonderful warm morning light while the rafting advertisement is setting sun in the Grand Canyon. This light hits the rafters but not the background and allows them to really pop out in the scene. This fisherman was photographed probably about an hour to an hour and 1/2 maybe even two hours after sunrise, and there's light is coming from the right side and creating kind of on edge light on him, And the advantage here is look at the fishing line against the darker background really stands out and edge lining is a fabulous lighting strategy. By getting the light coming from behind and to the side a little bit, it's not so bad that it makes him look bad from the contrast that ISS. So again, a nice approach light coming from about two o'clock creates an edge light. Then these guys in Alaska are out there as the sun's about to set, and you could kind of see the golden warm light shining on them. And it's just fabulous. This is from the same trip, maybe even within the same time period where both of these guys are the river guides and they're preparing dinner and there's a nice, soft golden light hitting them, and it works pretty well. It works better for the guy on the left because it's hitting more of his face. The guy on the right is sort of getting back lit a little bit, and I could have turned him a little bit. But it was more of a grab shots, so I didn't really set this up. I was documenting the trip. Then these bicyclists are photographed in the shade. I don't think it was overcast, but I think the sun had set behind a ridge line, and the soft light is always a good way toe light because you just don't have contrast problems and it worked pretty well here. And then we got a bicycle, er writing right towards the camera, and this was photographed for Camelback on assignment, and it's right after sunrise. The road was specifically scouted ahead of time to use at sunrise so we could get a nice sidelight hitting our athletes who were going to be in the photo shoot. Then we got a couple of a bunch of friends here getting ready to do a little bit of canoeing again. This was a production shoot that I staged. When the light is harsh and contrast it, one thing you can do is use it in a backlighting situation, which keeps the front side of the subjects fairly, even and low. In contrast, now you're gonna have blown out highlights in their hair and that sort of thing. But that can still work pretty well. So think about that. When you're photographing people outside and you have a dark background, let them be backlit. Turn them around if you have to, and use that backlighting to keep the front of them from getting to contrast. E. This image here of the bicyclists is what it looks like when shooting at midday. If you look at his face and under his chest, it's pretty dark, and I was going for some blur action. This is probably still okay of a shot. I don't really know if it's sold. It's hard to track things anymore with photography selling on the Internet. But again, this is what mid day light looks like. And here it doesn't work very well. This fisherman eyes down in a canyon in front of this waterfall in California, and the sun has not hit inside the canyon yet. It did a little bit later, and we had to quit shooting. He happened to be there fishing, and I just went up and asked if I could photograph him, and he said, Yeah, no problem. So it's a sunny day. It's just that the sun hasn't hit him, and that's what really makes this work. Another fisherman here was photographed when the sun was getting ready to set, and I had taken this guy out specifically to shoot a photograph of fly fishing for a specific photo request I had from a client. And fortunately with the sun setting, the background was very dark, and this worked very well and he really stands out. The photo is all about him, and I've talked before about waterfalls and son, and this is in the Grand Canyon and this guy's taking a soak in the falls. And fortunately, the sun doesn't get in here very often because it's a pretty narrow canyon. And it worked really well here at allowed along shutter speed to get the water to blur. And he's posing perfectly for me. This guy. We were hiking up this canyon and in the Grand Canyon, and when we were coming back down, he was in this little spot where the sun was kind of peeking through this sort of slot canyon almost. He's backlit and the sun is bouncing off the wall, and it worked perfectly. It's the brightest area, the photographs, what really draws the eye in there. And here's a bicyclist crossing a creek and I took a bunch of mountain bikers out to shoot adventure photography, and this was one of my ideas having him crossing the creek because they can't ride their bike through it. So they brought sandals and they would change and put him on. And then I want him to splash and really create something. And the idea is that the golden, warm setting sun behind them is backlighting him, and this worked so well. So I'm really experimenting with lighting, and that's when I want to encourage you to do. Here's to bicyclists on a country road. I was on assignment for America West Airlines to photograph this island, and these guys happen to you riding by when I was shooting the wheat fields and I asked him to pose and they said, Sure, and I got releases and everything, and the setting sun again is putting a nice sidelight on him. And it worked pretty well, and I shot at the time this was filmed, so I shot quite a few roles. This image is sunrise lighting coming directly from the left, right after the sun rose. The golden part of the sunrise light is gone, but the lights still works on them. Their faces air lit their backsides. Aaron Shadow. This is perfect lighting, and this is very similar to one that I had a cover photograph of. Then the sun was out full blast the day that I was shooting some models that had taken to California, and I wanted to do this shot sitting in the forest, leaning against a tree, writing in your journal concept, wise reflection, solitude, that sort of thing. And we looked for a spot that had thick enough trees where it was all gonna be in shadow with just a little bit of light in the background. And it worked very well. And then this final image is a foggy day in Yellowstone, and I was there photographing landscape in nature. And I spotted this guy in the Yellowstone River fishing and I hit the skids. Pull over, get out! And I shot a whole bunch of photographs before he noticed I was there. And this is one of them. And then, of course, I walked up to him and told him what I was doing, and he gave me a model release, which I then later sent him a print. So anyway, that gives you an idea. Look for lighting that comes from all sides and all angle, but it must be complimentary to your subject. 8. Advanced Techniques: way to add impact. Your adventure photography is toe add motion, and you could basically do it two ways. The first is let your subject blur while the background stay sharp, and the second is to pan with your subject, which blurs the background and keep your subject sharp. Both approaches can provide a lot of drama to your photographs and give the viewer an impression that the subject is really moving. If you're not familiar with panning, it's a technique of intentionally using a slower shutter speed to add blur to the background while keeping your subject as sharp as possible. The best way to do this is to place your camera up to your eye and lock your elbows against your rib cage and then rotated the hips as your subject moves by from side to side. I always try to use one auto focus point in my viewfinder and position that auto focus point on the same spot of the subject and leave it there. And then as I pan, I watch that auto focus point, making sure it stays in the same spot. This usually results in a very sharp subject and a wonderfully blurred background But if your camera is moving faster or slower than the subject than the subject blurs as well, how much the background blurs totally depends on the speed of the subject. A person walking on a trail will require a longer shutter speed to get the background to blur compared to a person running at a faster speed, which would require a faster shutter speed for the same amount of blur. I usually start at about 1/30 of a second with a runner and also a biker, and then adjust as needed to get the effect I want. Slower subjects might need 1/8 1 quarter or even 1/2 a second to get just the right amount of blur. You do need to be careful not to choose to slow of a shutter speed because your subject ends up being, ah, big blob of blur. And that doesn't create marketable images. If only one spots going to be sharp on a subject, it needs to be the face because the arms and legs blurring is what gives the effect but not the face here. Her face is sharp and the rest of her body is blurred, and this is due to those areas moving faster, and that gives a great feeling of motion. In the photograph. I should mention that I always shoot test shots to check the amount of blur that I happen to be getting based on the speed of the subject. And then I make adjustments from there. This windsurfing images uses panning from right to left at 1/8 of a second and provides a wonderful sense of speed. You will notice that the sale board is blurring just a little bit, but it doesn't really affect how good the images. It still says story that it's trying to say Here it was an overcast day on a rafting trip, so I thought a slow shutter speed and panning would add some drama. And while I like this, it's pretty much blurry throughout. So a faster shutter speed, combined with a better job of placing that auto focus point on the raft, would lessen the blur. The camera was moving a little too much, and I used to slow of a shutter speed, and it just isn't quite as effective as a blur Action photo for the snow. Sure, here, I wanted to add blur for drama, just like everything else. But I also wanted to make sure she was sharp in the face. So I chose 1/30 of a shutter speed and put the autofocus point on the top shoulder and then had her go running by. It worked perfectly, even though there's a tiny bit of movement in her face. It's a great shot and very marketable. This is a couple people I shot on an adventure themed outdoor shoot for the local tourism agency. They wanted some bike riding, so why not get some blur action as well as some sharp photos? And that's what I ended up doing here. The shutter speed is 1/20 of a second, and the auto focus point is just locked on them, and they are very sharp and the background is nicely blurred. One thing I did ask them to do is as they're writing by when they reached a specific point to quit pedaling the bike, and that gave me a few sharper ones. And then I had them peddling in a few other ones so that there is a good selection for the client to choose from, with legs blurring in some and legs not blurring in others. The Blur action technique can even work for horses. And this was shot on assignment, shooting a clothing catalogue where we went to a guest ranch. Most of the time the horses just walk and we get the usual. But this model decided to kick the horse into high gear because he knew how to ride, and I grabbed a few frames of action at 1/30 of a second. This was an experiment, and it ended up working pretty well. You should understand that when you were shooting motion, and especially if you experiment that you might shoot 100 images to get one photo that actually worked perfectly. You need to ask the runner or the bicyclist to do what they're doing over and over until you are confident that you have one great movement, good sharpness where it's needed and a good pose because the pose is will be different every time on my outdoor shoots, I often take the step ladder if we're gonna be working out of my truck and here on a multi day shoot. I was looking for alternative perspectives, so I climbed up on the ladder, and I panned as the runner went by. There's some interesting blurring in the background, and I was fortunate enough to keep her face sharp, so it worked pretty well. I also noticed that the sun is out and it's pretty bright. So to get the Blur, I set my aperture F 22 that gave me a shutter speed of 1/30. And for the speed she was running, that was perfect. If I cannot get a long enough shutter speed, I will attach my polarizing filter, which cuts two stops a light, making the shutter speed even longer. And that provides more blur. Here's a creek that was overflowing from melting snow one year, and normally there's just not much water here. But it was running right along the edge of a gravel road, so I hadn't mountain bikers right through this and create a bunch of splash and blurring, and I panned along with the out of focus point on her head to keep her sharp. But I got some great blur as she went through the creek, and the background looks very effective. The other way to get blur is to keep the camera stationary, not panning, and let the subject go by and create some blur. When I shoot this way, I set the camera on a tripod, and then I choose a shutter speed that lets the subject blur to the right amount. You have to be very careful about too much blurring, and this is the reason I always shoot test shots to make sure that I choose just the right amount of blurring. And I do that on every one of them because I don't want to end up with a collection of really blurry blobs and get images that are sharp enough to be useful. In this case, it was 1/30 of a second. This is another image from the same shoot, and here I have a moving slower for less blur, but just enough to indicate that he's moving in another approach to movement. This guy standing in the waterfall and the water is blurring, and I asked him to hold very, very still. This is an image we've already seen, and it's from the Grand Canyon, and it was dark down in there and ended up being about 1/2 a second shutter speed so as long as he held. Still, he'd be pretty sharp on the water would have this beautiful blur to it here, a kayakers in the river waiting for the rest of his party to paddle on by. So as he sat there on the side of the river, I chose 1/15 of a second and did my best to hold the camera pretty still. So I got some blur in the water, and this is very effective, as it shows good motion for both him and the water. Not all good action photography needs blur, and in some cases of frozen subject with nobler works better Or, as I call it, frees action. This is also a great way to show action subjects book for it to work best. It needs to be with a good subject. You might think that freezing a moving subject in place tells a better story, and it will, in some cases, like a skier going off a cornice in the air. You don't really want them to be blurry, so you freeze them in place. This runner was shot at F four at 11 thousands of a second to freezer. When you think about it with shot be better if she was all blurry. I don't think so. Back to a blurring subject. This is another runner and the camera's stationary, but I chose a long shutter speed of about 1/8 to get some blur. Is this better or more salable? I'm not sure, but it is kind of a cool effect and sometimes cool effects cell. And as always, when I'm out doing this type of thing, I shoot sharp. I shoot blurry. I change it up. I mix it up. I try all different types of shutter speeds and angles to make sure I got the best possible shot I could capture in this mountain biking shot. He's kind of frozen for the most part. There's a little bit of blur as he comes off the side of the hill on his mountain bike. He's flying for the most part over the road. In another example of a biker in the desert, he's frozen again, and this was accomplished again with a fast shutter speed. You could not really get a more effective image by showing him blurring when he's writing towards the camera so fast. Shutter speed is really best as it freezes him in place, making for a good action shot, maybe even a cover photo. Another example of drama is this. Bicyclists riding through the water, creating a big splash. And here again, I think in this case, the fast shutter speed and freezing him in place works better than if he looked more like that previous image we saw of the writer splashing through the creek. And everything's blurring now compared this image, where the angle is from the side and the bikers frozen and appears to not be moving. This is a perfectly fine image, but it does not show action or drama, and that's what makes some adventure images work really well. So the point is that freezing a subject is important, but so is the background. And this probably would have been a better image with a little bit of panning, causing a little bit of blur in the background from the right to the left. With the right snowshoes and fresh powder, you can get the snowshoes toe, flip snow in the air and create this sort of trail behind your subject. Like I did hear a fast shutter speed makes this image work very well. But I also think that trying a little bit of blurred could be fun as well. Windsurfing in the air is usually a subject that needs to be frozen. I just showed a blur image of windsurfing, and it was cool. But if he was in the air all blurry, it would not work so fast. Shutter speeds, important to the success of this photo, captures a sail board and the writer yelling, and he's frozen in the air, which really adds a lot of impact to this image. Fishing as well is a subject that requires a fast shutter speed, especially fly fishing. If you look at published images, most of them have the fishing line frozen in the air when they're casting. Some blur could work if it's done well, like a shutter speed just fast enough to add a little blur to the line. And experimenting is the best way to evaluate the best shutter speed. To do that as you've seen here, playing with your shutter speed can create all sorts of fun effects that add impact your adventure images. So I encourage you to get out there and try a few of these techniques and see what you can come up with. It could be your best selling image ever 9. Finding Models: So if you're going to photograph recreation and adventure travel, you're gonna need people. Something I mentioned earlier was You can take an adventure or you can make an adventure. And what I mean by that is taken. Adventure means go on a rafting trip where there's lots of other guests, and then when you're on the trip, ask if you can photograph him and get model releases and you'll send them prints as a trade . Or you could bacon adventure, which means you go to the bike shop and you find some mountain bikers or you go to the kayaking shop and you find some kayakers, and you figure out a way to compensate them to basically do there sport for you. I've often used a lot of friends, but at some point I was doing so much photography. All the friends said, you know, I really want to get paid, so I ended up paying people. But then I also thought, If I'm gonna pay people than I might as well get people who are true mountain bikers, like the guys who work in the mountain bike shop or the kayakers who will go over waterfalls and that sort of thing. So So this lectures all about models and how to find them. The most important thing, and I cannot emphasize this enough is your model should be able to do the sport you want them to do. I once asked a photogenic young lady if she mountain bike, and she said, Oh yeah, she mountains bike and she even had a bike. As a photographed her, it became obvious that she knew how to ride a bike. Most people do, but she was not a mountain biker in the pure sense, and that ended up making a huge difference. Experience bike writers know how to ride, and the shape of their legs often shows it. The photo editor at Mountain Bike magazine also knows the difference between a true writer and someone who just knows how to ride a bike. She did not sit on the bike the right way, nor did she have really the legs that showed that she wrote all the time. And as she was going over the bumps in the trail, she was very timid about some of the places I wanted her to ride. So that was a big learning lesson right there. If you're going to photograph cross country skiing, your model should know how to ski and even better know how to do the skating technique. Like this guy, this fly fisherman knows exactly how to properly cast a fly. A kayaker must know how to paddle through the Whitewater and do it very, very well, because the images that are going to sell best are the ones that really pushed the envelope and even have an extreme look to him. So everybody knows how to run as well. But a true runner, a true athlete who knows how to run and runs all the time. Their legs were going to show that shape, their arms, they're going to show the shape, and they know how to run and propel themselves forward. If you want to get the cover of Runners World, you need to use real runners. If you're going to photograph things like a family bike ride through the park or a couple on a day hike, that's different. But adventure sports require people who know how to do the activity, so this is important when you choose your models. They need to not only talk the talk, but walk the walk or your images just might not be successful. Here's an example where I took a couple to a state park and they were your average young couple. They were very outdoorsy. They knew how to hike, and they did a lot of it, and they also had the proper clothing. So we went for a day of shooting and on my shot list were things like being a couple birdwatching, hopping rocks around the river shore and general outdoor recreation. As the sun began to set, it created the silhouette opportunities, so I had them hike back and forth, do some high fives, hold hands and help each other just like this shot. And then again, you've already seen this before. But notice the copy. I zoomed in and out and placed them left and right, vertical and horizontal. And to get this silhouette exposure, I metered the background rocks. So how do you find models to do what you want to photograph? The best way is to start by taking friends out on a weekend for some simple activities and then practice all the techniques you've learned, and it's a great way to get started building a file of marketable images. One of the things I learned early on about models is that many people are flattered to be a model, and we'll post and do as you ask, and they'll even sign your model release. Assuming they're a good model and you decide to use them next weekend and again on another , you might start to hear back that there needs to be something in it for them. Toe have an interest in being in model for you. Once the coolness of modeling passes and they know you have every intention of making money , they will soon start asking to be paid. That's where you get creative, and there's a lot of ways to do that. Maybe you live near a lake or a river, and when you go there to photographs, landscapes and you see some kayakers and canoers assam, if you can shoot them paddling, see if they will trade a signed model release for a few eight by 10 prints printing on your home printer so that you don't have to spend much money. Then when you come back later to deliver the prince, ask for a model release and if you can have permission to sell the image, although I do believe it's much better to ask in the first place and not after you've made the prints and delivered them. If trading for prints is not good enough for them, tell them what you will give them a percentage of sales for a signed release. I've told countless people I want to make you a star and get you on the cover of a magazine . I can't guarantee it, but I'll try. I'm usually laughing a bit when I say that. But then I asked for the model release, and it's true. I am going to try to get him on a cover. The best way that I've ever found to get models is to go to the store where those people hang out. I'd go to the backpacking store to find outdoor people. I would go to the ski and snowboard shop. When I wanted to shoot snowboarding, I would go to the canoe and kayak store whenever I wanted to find boaters. Most of these retail employees at these stores don't make a whole lot of money, and modeling sounds cool to them. Tell him what you would like to do and ask if Prince would be a good trade if it's not a great offer in their eyes. Offer a percentage of sales I should mention, however, in this case, be very clear that you are breaking into the market. And that, of course, is if it's true and not sure if you'll sell anything. This helps avoid a call every month wondering why they've not made any money. The other advantage of going to specific stores to find people to model is that they often nowhere to ride. For example, if their mountain bikers they might be able to suggest a great place for some action photography of mountain biking. In the same with kayak shop, for example, they're going to know where the little waterfalls are, great white water and what they're capable of paddling in. And this makes it a great resource. In addition to models 10. Importance of Model Releases: Now I'm gonna talk about model releases. I say Get them, period. If you want to avoid expensive and disastrous consequences, get a model released for every picture you take of any person. No matter whether it's just their fingers, their feet, an unrecognizable view from behind or even silhouettes, you really have to get a model release. I have hired countless models from my adventures and had them sign a model release every time. And I paid them one way or another to do the photo shoot. Once I owned a photo agency and was in the business of marketing. Other photographers work and I have witnessed too many times photographers paying out thousands of dollars to someone who threatened to sue because they did not get a signed model release and the picture was published. One example is a former associate of mine, received a call from a model he used in a photo shoot, and he had paid her. The model had even signed his model release during that photo shoot years before, then later claimed that he had signed the release under duress, too, and was not of legal age. At the time of signing the problem for the photographer was that he had a signed model release, but the model didn't date it, and the photographer missed looking at that. The photographer spent considerable time digging up and presenting facts to counter these claims, and eventually the model abandoned the claim. So I'll say it again. Get model releases signed and dated every single time. I've included a model release here for you to download and use, but I recommend you have your attorney review it based on the laws in this state or country that you live in. I constantly see online the debate among photographers discussing whether they need a release for a photo they just took. The issue is often misunderstood, and I'll say it yet again. Get them. I've been in the business for over 30 years and have been represented by 10 different photo agencies during that time, and I have been accused of photographing people and not getting a release. In all cases, I was able to prove that I had a release for every person I photographed, but I had to spend considerable time proving that the person in the photo was not my accuser. I'm not talking about a model release whose face is clearly seen, but rather the type of photo of a fisherman on the river or a bicyclist down the road where the person is very small. But my photos prove who the people are. Without a doubt. That's where we are with this issue. If you're accused of not having a release, the burden is on you to prove it, not the accuser in the photograph. Over the years, I've had several photographer friends, some you might even know their names who have paid thousands to people that they photographed but didn't get a release as well as attorney fees to battle the claims. I've seen others being sued when they had a release because the model didn't like how the photo was used. I even had a model tell me she didn't like how photo was used, but she didn't threaten to sue me. Whether the photographer wins or loses, it costs so much in legal fees. In the end, it's so much easier to pull out of release and prove immediately who's in the photo, and that the images release. It is true that editorial photos do not need the releases But that does not mean you are protected from litigation. Numerous photographers have paid out here is, well, verbal okay is not sufficient. All they have to do is change their mind. If they saw the photo published once than published again, they're thinking there's money being made and the fact they didn't get paid. And you are If you want to be represented by a photo agency. Almost all of them require model releases for every single picture period. They deal with legitimate and false claims every year. And most, if not all, will not accept any image without a release, no matter how great the shot. And if you've signed a contract with the agency, you will be surprised to read the fine print and learn that you are basically responsible for any litigation for lack of a release. Those contracts state when you sign them that you agree toe, hold the agency harmless in case there's a lawsuit brought meaning you're gonna pay for everything and the contract that you signed for. An agency also says you will reimburse the agency for all the costs, losses and damage awards that they incur related to a model release issue for one of your images. Can you afford that? At Fahnestock, which is an agency I helped co founded, we require them and asked the photographer to provide them within 48 hours of our request. Many ad agencies designers who buy stock will often ask for the release in advance of purchasing the rights to use the photo. They don't want any hassles, either. I not only get a release from everybody, but I also have a photo shoot agreement that says they will receive no more compensation beyond what we agreed upon up front, and it's put in writing. I have also asked many strangers if I could photograph basically, I say, Hi, I'm a photographer and I'm shooting for blah, blah, blah, trying to get a story in a magazine or, you know, whatever I'm trying to do. And when I noticed that you were doing blah, blah, blah, I thought that would make a really great photo. But of course, I can't take your picture without your permission. And the magazine that I'm trying to get this published in won't publish the photo without your written permission. So if you'll sign my release, I will gladly send you an eight by 10 to show you how great you look and how great the photo came out. Here's my business card so you can contact me if you wanted more prints. I've done this many times, and I've only been turned down once. In addition, there are people who look at published photos that are anonymous, like silhouettes, hands, feet, etcetera. And they will claim that it's them and that they did not give permission to have their picture taken. And guess what they want Money. This has happened to me. I photographed a profile of a model that I had hired, and he was talking on the phone. I did a full face shot and then zoomed in on his mouth. My accuser saw the shot of the mouth and the phone and said it was him and he was going to sue me. We went back and forth until I provided a full face photo. Then I never heard from him again. There are people on the prowl for this type of stuff. They may see a photo of a hand doing something claim. It's their hand, and you have to prove it isn't that takes time and money, so I'll say it one more time. Get model releases. Its really, really worth it. Just like model releases. When you photographed private property, you need a release in the form of property release if you're gonna license those photos commercially. A property release is a written agreement between the property owner and the photographer, which the owner of the property has given their permission to you to use the photographs commercially and in perpetuity, Which means forever. A property release permits the use of the photographs for all purposes, but the owner may request exceptions for certain usages. Photographs of property without releases may still be sold for editorial purposes, such as images accompanying and newspaper a magazine story. Images used in advertising, a product or service are regarded as commercial usage, and they generally require that property release. So here's the bottom line. If you have a release, you are pretty safe, but you can still be sued. But since you have a release, their lawyer might suggest they do not sue. Another common discussion among photographers is if the published image is in an editorial format than no releases required, and generally it's true. Now I suggest that you Google using the key words like photographer, sued model, release or similar and see what comes up. I can tell you that photographers who have releases were sued anyway, and a some of them lost. So while these may not be 100% proof against lawsuits, it's vastly better than not having one at all. Finally, remember, anybody consume anybody for any reason at any time, so play it safe and get model releases.