A funny thing happened while crafting my fairy tale legacy post series. I decided I wanted a really great picture of each fairy tale heroine to accompany the post.
At first I was going to use a theme. I wanted to use Murad Osmann’s #followmeto series because those are some really evocative, beautiful pictures and I thought about how fun it would be to try to pair an image with a girl. But I also didn’t want to use the images without permission so I had to find a new route.
After much searching and exploring different options, I came around to an unexpected one…. creating the images myself.
The thing is, most people who take gorgeous pictures don’t just throw commercial licensing around casually. And since I’m an author who leverages my blog to possibly sell books – I figure operating on the commercial side of most everything is the safest bet. Anyway, the only images I could find that were really available to use were stock photos.
And there’s two categories of stock photos: the stills and things that work for an average blog post but aren’t usually dynamic and exciting. I wanted great images for these girls.
The other category are stock photos taken for the purpose of photo manipulation – the ones you’re not supposed to just repost with credit, they’re fodder for other artwork.
I’d done some photo manipulation in the past but mostly basic stuff for different websites. Then I created the cover for Tattered Heart which was some of the most sophisticated work I’d done. I figured that creating images for the fairy tale legacy posts would be more work for each post (and it was!) but it’d also be a great opportunity for practicing photo manipulation for future covers.
So, I fell down the deviantart rabbit hole. I found some amazing stock photographers. I found some unbelievable artists who do so much more interesting things with those stock photos than I could manage. I am such a novice but some of those artists were gracious enough to give me permission to use their photos on my blog. So the series actually became a blend of my work, other’s photo manipulations and straight up photography (where people were gracious enough to give me permission).
The interesting thing about exploring deviantart is that pinterest will never look the same to me. My cover board (now blended into other boards) started in order to collect the variations I saw on the same girls (I wish there was a way to move them and group the different collections together).
Now, I’ve totally found where most of those stock images came from. Half the really popular girls and poses on pinterest – I’m familiar with the stock more than the pinned manipulation. Because I spent way too much time exploring deviantart looking for images I liked and could work with (my skills are still fairly limited). And because I like that deviantart credits images and photographers in a way I really wish pinterest did better. It’s interesting, though, to see the layers and changes in the images on pinterest – the themes that are repeated. It also means that I search pinterest differently now.
I’m not just looking for inspiration or a pretty picture. If it’s photography, I just want to pin it because I know I can’t use it anywhere else. It’s inspirational and I like it and it’s great. But if it’s a photo manipulation – I totally pin it so I can trace the stock. Because that – I can do something with. I can play with it and see what I can create or how it fits in with a blog post or possibly a new cover. I can explore the photographer’s other stock and maybe find a great image that isn’t wildly used yet.
And that, I think, has been the best part of this ancillary part of the fairy tale series. I’ve learned all sorts of new things, found new pockets of the internet to get distracted by and expanded what I’m capable of.