How to Avoid Stock Rejections

Your photos will get rejected from stock agencies if they contain visible brand names, trademarks or logos. It’s up to you to keep ‘em clean and logo-free.

That includes signs on buildings, titles on books, logos on shoes and clothing, and anything else that might be copyrighted, like a “Monopoly” game board or “Mickey Mouse” ears.

Sure, sometimes you can use Photoshop to remove or obscure these things. But it’s so much easier to remove logos before you shoot.

Here are five simple ways to shoot “clean” and logo-free:

1. Remove branding.

The easiest way to do this is simply to peel off labels. As long as the container itself isn’t recognizable as a particular brand, you’re good to go.

I can peel the label off my pink Himalayan salt grinder to make it generic:

Watch out for stuff like this, though:

This salt grinder doesn’t have a name showing on the side, but the grinder itself is a design that’s unique to the brand.

2. Cover logos and names with blank labels or tape.

Some products look better if they have a label on them. In that case, you can cover their labels with blank labels from your local office supply store. Easy and suddenly brand-free.

3.  Hide or blur out brand names.

Sometimes hiding a logo is as easy as turning a product sideways. Take this honey bottle, for example. From the front, it has a huge label. But turned to the side, the label is obscured. If you include something like this in a scene, reach out and turn it sideways. This can work with wine bottles, juice containers, paint buckets... as long as the labels -- both front and back -- are obscured enough that you can’t read them.


Another option is to blur objects in the background so that the labels are unidentifiable:

The extremely shallow depth of field in this photo obscures all of the names and numbers on these credit cards.

And the wine bottle in this photo is both turned sideways AND blurred:

4.  Go generic.

Look for products or containers that don’t have any branding on them, like this glass bottle without a label:

And look for clothing that’s generic, too. These red shoes could be a name brand... or they could be a generic knock-off. We don’t see any label, and we really don’t know:

5.  Ask models to wear clothing that’s logo-free.

Even logos that are easy to remove take up your precious time in Photoshop. Ask your models (or friends and family) to wear clothes without any logos, writing, or patterns that might be copyrighted. Solids, stripes, polka dots, and plaids are usually ok.

Notice, too, that this model is carrying generic shopping bags. You can pick up plain, colorful bags like these at just about any party supply, stationary, or grocery store.

Sometimes you have no choice but to remove a logo later in Photoshop. In this photo, below, the placement of the computer is important. And the computer likely had a logo right in the middle that was removed in post-processing:

I’ll show you how to do a quick and simple logo removal using Lightroom 5 next week!

In the meantime, pay close attention when you shoot so as not to include any logos, signs, or Mickey Mouse ears in your photos.

-- Bonnie

Bonnie Caton
Creator, Breakfast Stock Club

P.S. Breakfast Stock Club Premium Members: This month’s video Lightroom tutorial is coming up this week, along with your next Challenge, which begins on Friday! Lots of goodies coming your way. Watch your in-box.

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