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Ryan Longnecker on Creating Meaningful Stock Photography

May 4, 2017

By Jacquelyn Palumbo

Ryan Longnecker

A mountain lake at sunset, available for licensing in Ryan Longnecker's Adobe Stock portfolio.

“For me, the hope is always that my work will lead people toward wanting to take care of each other and the planet more,” says outdoor and travel photographer Ryan Longnecker. The Los Angeles-based shooter spends much of his time traveling to capture images, both abroad and around his childhood home in the Eastern Sierras, where he first developed his love for the natural world. Although he sells his images to clients ranging from outdoor gear companies to travel agencies, it’s Longnecker’s drive to inspire that fuels his work. “I think art has the ability to draw people into being hopeful that there are beautiful places, beautiful people and beautiful things happening, and that it can lead us toward being a more hopeful community of people,” he says.

 
All photos © Ryan Longnecker

Joining Adobe Stock has allowed him to bring his striking imagery to a whole new community of people. It has also given him an outlet for work he creates during his adventures that isn’t used for a specific commission. “I don't ever really have to go out and specifically shoot stock, because it's completely up to me how much I want to add to my Adobe Stock portfolio,” he explains. “But while I'm out taking pictures, I'm able to use the stock framework as a lens to shoot through. I shoot the kinds of things that I want to, and think about how I can do it in a way that might appeal to a stock photo audience.”

Longnecker’s experience in graphic design and creative direction helps give him insight into what stock photo buyers are looking for. He has had a varied career, having built a successful business as a wedding photographer before deciding to turn his photographic talents to the outdoors. Switching genres presented challenges, especially since the outdoor and travel photography markets offer less predictability than weddings. Assignments typically come up quickly and require him to travel at the drop of a hat. “As a wedding photographer I would be able to plan out my year,” he explains. “Doing outdoor work has required a lot more flexibility than I was anticipating.”

Being able to sell images on an ongoing basis through Adobe Stock has provided a valuable element of stability for Longnecker without creating an additional workload. He was initially hesitant about selling stock because he thought the process might be more onerous than it was worth, but his previous experiences with Adobe encouraged him to give it a try. “I've used Adobe's products my whole creative career, so I already really trusted the name and knew that they would never do anything halfway,” he says. And he’s been pleasantly surprised at how effortless the Adobe Stock process is. “I think the ways that my work has been seen and the rewards to me have been worth it,” he says.

Longnecker’s willingness to try new things has been essential to his quest to do meaningful work, and so far his calculated risks have paid off. “I'm happy,” he says, “because I feel my current work is leading me into a creative path of working with companies and organizations that care for the planet and really do quality work.” Taking an adventurous approach to crafting a career is something he recommends to photographers of all kinds. “I just think that we need to try different stuff,” he says. “Shooting stock is a really great way to encourage yourself to put out quality content. Stretch your arms, and embrace it as a valid opportunity to showcase your work in a new way.”

See Ryan’s portfolio on Adobe Stock. To get your own portfolio started with Adobe Stock, visit stock.adobe.com.

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