How to show involvement in your stock photos

In a recent post, Looking for stock photos? Here’s how to take your own, I listed the Four Basic Elements of Stock photography:

1 Background

2 People (Model/S)

3 Subject

4 Involvement


I covered Background in How to create the right stock photo background, People in How to put People in your Stock Photos
Subject in How to emphasis the subject in your stock photos

Now this is where you will learn how to show involvement in your stock photography.

So, what does “involvement” mean?
Well, there are many definitions but most mean being involved with or participating in something.

In the example of a product, this gives you the opportunity to show your subject being used by someone who is really involved.

They should be showing some emotion maybe enjoyment or surprise.

Some images can work better if there is more than one person.

show involvement in your stock photos

A reenactment at the Town square in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, USA

Remember it’s not a portrait you are after.
Even if you have a piece of clothing or Jewellery, much better to show people wearing it being active, even if it’s only reading a book.

There are 6 points that you may need to convey involvement.
These points are not necessary for every photo.
But if you have people in your stock photos it is best to use a least one or two of these to get your message across

Decide what story you really want to tell.

Answering this can mean answering these questions:

What am I trying to sell?

What will be the props?

Who are the characters?

What do I want them to do?


show involvement in your stock photos

Looking at the camera is a gesture that can bring authenticity

Gesture is all about body language.
After all with still photos the message can’t be verbal.
Sure, it can be text in the caption or on the image itself but that still needs to be supported by what’s
happening or not happening in the image itself.

So, you need to ask; does the gesture look authentic? Is it appropriate for your message?

Let’s say you want an image of someone who conveys power.
If you grab just anyone who has never been in a position of some power then unless they are a good actor and/or model then it may not appear authentic or real.

Likewise, if the message you want to convey is not about power then it’s not a good idea to have someone who looks like a powerful authority.


Often you may want to show a couple or multiple models interacting.
Lets say you have a kitchen product, one model could be using it and interacting with someone else, who looks amazed at the results or could be helping or also using the product.

show involvement in your stock photos

A couple walking in Saltwell Park in Gateshead near Newcastle in England

Passive involvement

Sometimes it’s not necessary to have models in action.
Maybe they are just looking on.
A view maybe of a scenic and beautiful tourist resort could have someone viewing it from a lookout is one example.

show involvement in your stock photos

The street art act, Dream State Circus at the Street arts festival in Fremantle, Western Australia. the festival attracts over 100,000 spectators over the Easter long weekend.

Anticipate behaviour.

Ideally, you’ll know the model/s, so directing them into position shouldn’t be too much of a challenge.
However, if they are not professional models then they will not necessarily follow orders exactly.
But that can be an advantage. If you watch them closely, sometimes it can lead to better poses than you initially wanted. So, watch carefully and see how things unfurl.

Get close.

Some of the best stock photographers get in close. That’s called “filling the frame”.

Filling the frame takes out distractions and makes a better emotional connection with the viewer.


In conclusion, these are the factors that need to be considered to show involvement in your stock photos:

1 Decide what story you want to tell.

What story are you trying to tell to get your future customers attention?

2 Gestures

Gestures by real people go a long way to helping you get your message across

3 Interaction

It’s best to show real interaction between your models and your main subject

4 Passive involvement

Not all involvement needs to be active. A model can be an onlooker

5 Anticipate behaviour

Sometimes you can ‘go with the flow’ and try to anticipate how your models will behave

6 Get close.

Fill the frame. Get in close to show expressions and movement.


Thanks for reading this. It means a lot to me. It would mean even more if you would like to post any comments below.

Feel free to share this on via any of the platform buttons to the left or at the bottom.

And while you are at it, keep scrolling down to subscribe to my newsletter.

You will get exclusive info and my guide “Eleven easy ways to help you take your own stock photography”


Categories: How to, Marketing and Photography, stockTags: , ,

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.

%d bloggers like this: