Another way to go about it is to take an idea you already have and look on the stock photo sites to see if it's been done, he said. "You can't assume it has," he said.
One thing to watch out for is agencies that buy a collection of images just so the competitors don't buy them and are not necessarily going to try to actively sell them for you, said Fruge.
Fruge suggested making a list of all the ideas and then narrow it down to the ones that have the most universal appeal. Then narrow that down to the most doable options. Next, begin to build a library of images.
"Keep it as simple as you can," he added.
One of his latest projects using his stock photos, an industrial calendar, is aimed at trying to buoy the reputations of a number of area plants. "People don't know about what goes on in these plants day to day. They don't equate plants with the people who work there. They only hear about them when there is a leak or reports of pollution," he said.
The plants will all share in the cost and Fruge will simply use stock images he's already taken at these plants. His contact information will go on the bottom of every page. It will be distributed "as a free gift" to local people in stores and will be given to plant workers.
His next goal is to find a stock agency with a classic, ethical style.
"Agencies used to send wish lists to photographers, I'd like to find an agency that works that way," he said.
A photographer must be cautious, when signing a contract, said Fruge. "It must be mutually beneficially."
One alternative to signing with a large agency like Getty or Corbis "is to be your own stock agency," he said. The digital revolution has made this easier than in the past.
"It's a matter of setting up a web site" complete with a comprehensive price list based on usage [cost per full page, ½ page, 1/3 page, ¼ page, trifold, bi-fold, price per thousand, etc.]. Then get a separate phone line and designate someone to answer it, he added.
Fruge's future projects include a book on Louisiana 's remaining Mom and Pop stores, many of which were destroyed in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
For more on Fruge visit, www.mfrugephotography.com .