One of our top contributors, Stefan Dahl, has ventured into stock photography with an impressive 12 year experience in the field. Like many photographers, Stefan started with a camera and a passion. He was photographing family members, dogs, plants and weddings. With a short break devoted to his family, he eventually started his own stock photography business with his wife Janni.
What is your creative process like?
We always start with a very clear concept! The whole set is built around our concept. Models are casted specifically for our concept and so on.
How do you choose the photographs that will be on the Depositphotos website?
I have a system where I choose all the images that I think are good right away and then I go through them two or three more times. I choose whatever makes me smile or what I believe in.
What is vital for a successful stock photograph?
A very clear concept and models you believe in!
How do you choose which themes to work with?
Sometimes we just choose something that could be fun to shoot, other times we choose a theme our portfolio is missing and since we live in Scandinavia, sometimes the weather chooses for us.
What tools and platforms do you use to promote your work?
We basically don’t promote our work. You can’t get a better promotion than making really great stock photographs. They end up on the first couple of pages out of maybe 180,000 pages. If that’s not good PR, I don’t know what is!
How does social media influence your work and your career?
Not much really! If I were to point out one thing, social media is helpful in getting in touch with models. We have quite a lot of models getting in touch with us via Instagram.
In your opinion, what are some important topics and themes that perhaps aren’t well represented in stock photography and need to be developed further?
Are there any left? Diversity in photographs is definitely an underrepresented subject.
What is your favourite photograph that you have taken and why?
I have so many! If I should choose one, I would say that it is this one where the subject is my son. He earned his first paycheck on the day by the way!
Many of your works document daily life, do you stage the scenes or do you capture real moments?
Nothing is real in our photographs. Everything is staged and planned many weeks in advance. That includes everything from renting a location, buying clothes and props, makeup, hair, models and so on.
How long do your photoshoots usually take?
That varies quite a bit. Some of the quickest ones were only about 2 hours of shooting and some of the longest ones were 8-10 hours of shooting. When everyone on the set is really exhausted and the energy is poor, we usually end the shoot. We believe that a big part of our success is because we create and maintain an awesome energy on set. I’m sure some of our models must have thought we we were maniacs the first time they worked with us. But it works because everyone is laughing all the time. I was curious as to what Stefan meant, and he kindly provided us with a behind-the-scenes video to his photoshoots. Curious what really goes on behind those beautiful photographs? Have a look: