I came across Nora from The Photo Forest recently. She had a wonderful idea to take the world of stock photography where we spend so much time searching for images, and instead, allow members to actually REQUEST specific images that she will then send one of her photographers out to capture.
This creates a very unique stock photography website full of images that have been requested by business owners like us.
Nora was kind enough to share THREE FREE STOCK PHOTOS with us in addition to the free photos you can grab on her website when you sign up for their email list.
I also got a chance to chat with Nora to find out more about The Photo Forest.
How did you get the idea to start the Photo Forest?
I am a visual designer by trade (some call it a graphic designer but I find that term boring!) and I work with female entrepreneurs around the world to build their brands and their websites.
I end up using stock photos the majority of time in my clients websites and I got sick of having to spend my time looking for stock photos that just didn’t fit their brand, or finding that one great image on a free stock photo platform only to see it being used over and over again (hey it’s free right? must be 100’s of people using that image!).
I also have a passion for photography – when I lived in India I used to do real-life situational photoshoots for traveling yoga teachers and I really loved that – but that was location dependent and I have since moved to Cape Town – so for the last year I have been trying to come up with a way to still be a photographer but be able to work from anywhere. Yep a total #digitalnomad ?
I then came up with the idea to start selling stock photos via my design website norawendel.com – I made some photo packs and did some market research into what type of photos people were looking for and couldn’t find.
I called it #RealLifePhotography as that was my style – shooting situations as they were in life. – When I started to get more and more feedback from my market research about the struggles people were having finding niche photos or photos that represented diversity like colored women, women over 50, or photos of plus size people – I knew I was onto something.
From there the idea of a stock photography platform for real-life photos was born. The name The Photo Forest came about a month ago – I had been agonizing over what to call this new idea of mine and at the time I thought all good names had already been taken or were overused (in.sight, pixelpantry, photolr were some name ideas I had).
I was brainstorming with my friends, my family – actually anybody I happened to meet. A friend of mine was the one who suggested The Photo Forest and I just loved how I could picture a beautiful luscious forest filled with amazing photos of course.
How often are photos going to be added to the site for members?
The whole idea of the platform is that members get to request the themes of the photos they really need and can’t find anywhere else.
Since this has never been done before I can’t say exactly how long it will take from request to download of the photo to your computer. However, I am estimating that it can take anywhere between a week to three weeks, it really depends on the photographers and how many photographers pick up the request!
Each photographer can choose which request they want to go out and photograph and every photograph is reviewed before it is released to the members.
As much as possible will be automated but we will still be reviewing each photo submission from the photographers to make sure they align with what we represent – reality and diversity!
Keep in mind though that there will already be more than 1000 photos ready to be downloaded when we do launch in October, and this number will be increasing as the requests come in and the photos get taken.
It will be a continuous cycle of new content on a monthly basis, likely even a weekly basis depending on the number of requests that come in and the number of photographs our carefully selected photographers submit to the platform.
Overall it’s going to be one juicy platform!
Any tips for searching for stock images that rock?
I have found that the number one problem that people have when they tend to search for stock photos is that they use generic search terms like ‘women working’ or ‘happiness’.
Searching with those terms is going to give you generic cliché stock photos, that in reality, no one finds attractive.
My number one tip for finding more creative stock photos is to use a mind map to plan out different keyword search terms that you can use when you do need an image from a big-name stock photo site.
Think about the type of image you may need, write down the emotional qualities you want your audience to feel when they see your image, think about the tones, colors, and mood of the image, and think about the setting, the location, the style of the photos!
Write all of that down in a spider structure of a mind map and save it for later reference! Then when you go to search you should have at least 20-30 words that you can use and combine to hopefully find better stock photos that align with your brand!