EDIT: This was recently said to be in the wrong category because it is "not a tutorial about how to use DeviantART" even though it is a tutorial on how to create good stock photos for DeviantART. I hate stupid people.
Guide to Making Good Human Stock Photos
As I look through the stock photo galleries, I've noticed a lot of photos that really shouldn't be in there for one reason or another. I use stock photos for manipulation often enough that I'm frustrated by either having to sift through lots of bad photos to find a few good ones or by finding what I think is a great one by the thumbnail, only to open it up and find that it sucks. Hopefully this will help people make better stock photos.
So here is my advice on what not to do. Avoiding these will make your stock much more useful.
1. Small size. Look at the top photomanipulations. They are usually at least 500x500, usually more. A 400x400 stock photo is not going to help anyone. Especially when the subject only occupies half that space. Get a good digital camera, or scan in pictures at a higher resolution, and spend the extra minute or ten to upload the bigger versions. If all stock photos were at least 1024x768 (preferably 1280x1024) I would be overjoyed.
2. Cluttered backgrounds. The best model in the world could pose for a picture, and if it's going to take an hour of work just to separate them from the background it's not going to get used. Please don't take a stock photo with piles of stuffed animals and posters in the background. One color if possible, just stand against a wall. And please, use contrasting colors if at all possible. If you have brown hair, don't stand next to a brown wall.
3. Don't manipulate your stock photos. I see "stock" photos that have the contrast blown out to overexpose it and I just want to scream. Do not over/under expose the photo. Do not desaturate (unless you took it on b/w film and scanned it) or sepia tone it. Both of these destroy color data in the image. Don't add a freaking blur! If you add a blur to your stock photo (or it just comes out blurry) it's only going to be useful to people that need a blurred photo. If you DON'T blur it, then it'll be useful to everyone, because blur can be added by the manipulator. Color correction is alright, as long as it's not taken too far, but anything beyond basic color correction should be left to the artists that will be using your photo.
4. Cropping. I know you've seen shots with creative cropping to make it look cool. For art photos, a good crop can enhance a photo infinitely. For stock photos, please don't crop half of your face out. Sure, The stock photo might look a bit cooler, but it's usefulness is going to be greatly reduced. If you want to crop it and submit it as an art photo, then by all means go ahead. But stock photos aren't SUPPOSED to be your artwork... they're supposed to be there for OTHER people to work with. Seriously, unless there's something you don't want other people to see in the photo, leave everything in.
5. Repetitive poses. Please don't post 5 photos of your face turned an inch farther to the left each time. Different expressions and poses are great, but I've seen way too many galleries that look like frames of animation.
That's all I can think of off the top of my head. Obviously if someone makes a request for a specific pose, background, etc then this doesn't matter. This is just a guide for getting your stock photos to be used more in general.
If you have any suggestions, comments, or criticism, please tell me.