What Makes Best Selling Photo?

posted on 12th of february, 2008

The most popular concepts in the top photographs from last year are happiness/love/family and determined business teams. Don’t drop everything to focus on kisses and bunches of business types. Statistics only tell part of any story. How many images would have been in the top seller list if the photographer hadn’t uploaded a dozen nearly similar ones, thus spreading the downloads over the entire dozen? On the other hand if an image is a great stock photo, even a cropped or almost identical image can make it into the higher ranks as these two Iofoto images have.

There are reasons that these two similar images are both best sellers:
Location: The setting could be anywhere that has sandy beaches. The location is non-specific geographically and yet still shows a top vacation spot: the beach.

Seasonality: This beach shot could have been taken in spring, summer or early fall adding to the versatility of the image.

Wardrobe: The model’s clothing compliments the colors in the scene. Because there are blues, pinks, tans and yellows in the palette almost any color typeface could coordinate with the image. Shirts lack logos and the fabrics are all solid colors.

Casting: The models form the perfect, idealized family and yet they aren’t so beautiful as to look unauthentic. Their pose is relaxed and happy. (Just the way we all imagine the perfect family vacation.) Even the preteen girl appears to be pleased to be with her parents as she has her arm across her mother’s shoulder. Anyone who has attempted to take a daughter of this age on a family vacation knows that IS really an idealized image. The image depicts the vacation every family aspires to have.

Concepts: Happy and relaxed.

Composition: Dad is at the top of the pyramid and the models are posed off center to leave lots of space for type. The background is clean and simple.
Good keywording has also contributed to the success of all the images in the top tier in 2007.

Groups of models in an image appear to pump up the number of downloads. Only one of the top images is of a single person. This is the image of a close up of a beautiful smile. Notice that the model’s makeup is very subtle. Again we see simplicity in composition and the concept of happiness.

All the top sellers of ’07 are people shots with the exception of an image of a white dove on a black background. The simple bird in flight is simple in composition with no distractions in the background. A dove symbolizes peace and, again, happiness.

It’s no surprise that a third of the top shots relate to business, specifically to business groups/teams.
Photos of a group of people, whether a party scene, business teams or several children are always in demand because it’s just plain difficult to get a large number of models together. The costs are higher and the chances that someone’s eyes are closed multiplies!

A group shot of the kids looking down into the camera is a winner because of the racial diversity of the models, making the image great for textbooks.

Love and romance are themes that never go out of style. The best images in this genre seem to combine the idea of love with the idea of a positive future.
© Dana (Help)

This makes sense in a world where marriage is anything but permanent. Remember images for advertising, promotion and many articles are aspirational. The photos are supposed to make the viewer buy something that will realize their dreams faster, cheaper or in greater style and comfort.
Using models in your photos can be problematic from both an organizational and financial point of view. Here’s a statement I read the other day to keep in mind to a good perspective on the money issue: Creativity begins when you have to cut a zero off your budget.
© Forca (Help)

Comments (38)

Posted by Karldavis on December 14, 2008
Good stuff! Thanks for taking the time to provide your insight.
Posted by Petroruth on December 07, 2008
great article good clear explanation I look fore ward to doing some model shots.I have some but need to get releases signed. Peter
Posted by Bobbie66 on September 27, 2008
Very good article. Thanks a lot ;)
Posted by Sanshams on September 08, 2008
After Iread this article I learned a lot. Thanks
Posted by Tomas24 on August 31, 2008
very usefull article, a lot information, specially for me - new member.
Posted by Sleiselei on August 05, 2008
I am late, it is best articles. thanks. :)

Posted by Milliardideas on August 04, 2008
Posted by Nmedia on August 04, 2008
Nice stuff! Many Thanks!
Posted by Rafalolechowski on August 01, 2008
After I read this article I took some pictures o a beach. I will upload them this month and I will see if this will give me some sales :) I hope so.
Posted by Myszka50 on July 30, 2008
Great article, many thanks:)
Posted by Ladyminnie on July 10, 2008
thanks for the tips
Posted by Vaggelis on June 25, 2008
Nice article , thanks.
Posted by Nitengail on May 23, 2008
Very informative......thanks!
Posted by Ellenboughn on May 20, 2008
hmm will have to keep this in mind :) Thank you! I am barely making any money in this but trying :)

Not to worry...keep learning about this market, hone your skills and success will arrive.
Posted by Eugenef on May 20, 2008
hmm will have to keep this in mind :) Thank you! I am barely making any money in this but trying :)

Nature Wallpaper
Posted by Gofer on May 13, 2008
Lots of pointers and great advise. Thanks
Posted by Boostlee on April 19, 2008
good article.
Posted by Frui on April 19, 2008
Well captured way of creativity, I like highly the last sentence. Be open minded wherever you are :-) Thank you for advice!
Posted by Magicfanfan on April 05, 2008
It's a great article and so helpful to me.
Posted by Krystof on April 04, 2008
Good read and points well made!
Posted by Domesy on April 03, 2008
nice talk!thanks
Posted by IbanMontero on April 02, 2008
Nice article
Posted by Gingergirl on March 15, 2008
Tnx! It's good and I hope it will be helpful for everybody
Posted by Irisangel on March 10, 2008
Very good article, thanks for taking the time to post it here. This is a great site and these blogs are so informative.
Posted by Chinaphoto163 on March 07, 2008
Thanks a lot! I learn many things in this article.
Posted by Zhuanghua on March 01, 2008
Great article!I've recommended it to some friends!the best selling photo is the aim we're pursueing!
Posted by Fallsview on February 29, 2008
I learned a lot, thanks!
Posted by Lhpgmbd9999 on February 28, 2008
Thanks for the writer.
Posted by Penelope82 on February 25, 2008
true statements, you're right, thanks for the advice!
Posted by Gundam01 on February 19, 2008
Thanks a lot for this article, this a big helps..

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Comments (38)

This article has been read 18205 times. 12 readers have found this article useful.
Photo credits: Christopher Ewing, Bellemedia, Daniela Spyropoulou, Forca, Sean Nel, Iofoto, Kelliem, Kurhan, Theodor38.

About me

I have written a about microstock photography released in 2010. I was the Director of Content at Dreamstime for two years ending in Feb, 2009. You can order my book from amazon via my website at www.ellenboughn.com/blog.

Bainbridge Island, US

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