Simplify to Sell Stock

posted on 19th of october, 2010

Photographers and designers have the same goal: to create and/or utilize powerful images that make money. One thing that sets successful photographers apart is that they know that a simple image is almost always the most powerful image.

To illustrate, imagine that you are a designer that wants a photo to use in an internet ad that illustrates taking a vacation on a beach. There are literally millions of images of beaches to choose from. Which one is the best? Not everyone will agree but the images that are the most powerful and will sell the best are also the most simple.

Here are three great images that illustrate the concept of taking a vacation on a beach. Look these images over carefully and try to guess which one has been downloaded the most here at Dreamstime.

All three of these images were taken around the same time by the same photographer and have sold well, but one of these images is wildly successful. Can you tell which one, and if so, can you explain to yourself why it is the best seller? If you chose the second image then you are on the right track. It has sold a whopping 764 times since writing this blog! It’s secret: it is powerfully simple.

A simple image is one that eliminates all the clutter that doesn’t add to the concept the photo conveys. My motto when shooting a subject is: “simplify, simplify, simplify!” Here are some of my images that sell well and that are also the most simple:

So what are some basic tips on how to simplify a photo? Here are a few: move in or zoom in closer to the subject until you fill the frame; find a plain background behind the subject; shoot in a studio; wait for the light to highlight your subject or darken the foreground or background; use a different perspective, higher or lower; and finally use a longer lens or a wider aperture so the foreground and background blur.

The photos used in this blog to demonstrate the technique of simplifying have sold well. Since our goal here at Dreamstime is to sell our images, that fact alone is something to think about. So next time you are shooting photos to upload here at Dreamstime, try to simplify. You may find that your photos are much more powerful and sell better too.

Good luck and I hope to see you out shooting!

Comments (21)

Posted by Calyx22 on December 22, 2010
I still struggle with the simplicity thing, but I completely agree with you. I have seen time and time again great sellers that are powerfully simplistic. It is going to be a goal for me to simplify my shooting next year. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and your photos!
Posted by Themalni on November 17, 2010
Another very useful article on Dreamstime for everyone who is still in search for answers on "what you should know about stock photography" subject ;) Thank you so much for sharing your experience and thoughts with us!
And yes, I agree with you completely on the point of view about simplicity ;D

My regards,
Posted by Haslinda on November 04, 2010
Just saw this article. Thanks for the wonderful tips. Very well said. Will work to improve my techniques.
Posted by Tan510jomast on October 29, 2010
good point. goes back to the old adage based on something Ben Franklin , i think, once said.. KISS keep it simple, stupid :)
Posted by Morrbyte on October 22, 2010
So brilliant yet so simple,great images,well done and thanks.
Posted by Maxwu730 on October 22, 2010
Great blog. Thank you for sharing. :)
Posted by Iwhitwo on October 21, 2010
Great blog to help remind us the power of simplicity! Thanks for sharing.
Posted by Eric1513 on October 21, 2010
Thank you all for your kind comments. My goal is to help focus myself in making images that will do well here at DT. I also want to pass on hints and tips of the things that I've learned in the 4 years I've been here. I hope they help others be successful.
Posted by smartview27 on October 21, 2010
Simplifying, a very good advice. Thanks.
Posted by Tcj2020 on October 20, 2010
Thanks for sharing this good blog
Posted by Mariaam on October 20, 2010
Great! Thanks for sharing! :)
Posted by Sobek85 on October 20, 2010
nice post thanks
Posted by Frantab01 on October 20, 2010
wow, great blog - thanks for sharing :)
Posted by Rosedarc on October 19, 2010
Great choice of powerful, clutter free images with a simple yet strong concept - I would not call these images themselves simple, though :-)
Posted by Laurasinelle on October 19, 2010
Nice blog, thanks for sharing!
Posted by Trottola on October 19, 2010
Nice blog, I agree semplicity is a good way to sell.
Posted by Scottysally2 on October 19, 2010
Nice blog, thanks for sharing. :)
Posted by Thanatonautii on October 19, 2010
Great blog! It always good to have someone to remind you this things! Thanks for sharing!
Posted by Egomezta on October 19, 2010
Thanks for sharing this blog. Simplicity works very well for microstock photography.
Posted by Julia161 on October 19, 2010
I agree that the simpler the image is the easier it is to use, which means - the chances to sell it grow. I bought several times images for website design and by mistake bought few pictures which were extremely good and interesting, but not too simple, with more than one idea inside. I noticed that they were quite difficult to use in design, because they pulled off too much attention, and the site visitors would probably look at these pictures more that on the site's contents :) After this experience simplicity is my principle of choice when I search image for design. But "difficult" images can still be good for the wall :)
Posted by Fultonsphoto on October 19, 2010
Your blog makes sense and the proof is in the pudding, these images are amazing and have some fantastic sales, thanks for the info.

Comments (21)

This article has been read 1962 times. 8 readers have found this article useful.
Photo credits: Lane Erickson, Radovan.

About me

Bring on new and wonderful opportunities to be creative! There are abundant opportunities for creativity and success and I love to explore them.

Idaho, US

December (1)
November (2)
October (1)
September (5)

Stock Photography that BLOGS!

Interact, make friends, share tips and techniques, have fun. Dreamstime wants your ideas and thoughts whether you are a photographer, designer or regular user. Create a blog to tell your story, promote favorite images and photographers, post tutorials or simply exchange opinions with your with fellow dreamstimers.

Don't forget words and pictures go great together so make sure you choose some Dreamstime favorite pics to brighten your article. For inspiration, check out the hottest or the most useful blogs on the left.

Create a blog to tell your story, promote favorite stock images and photographers

Create your blog

My favorite articles


More favorite articles

Related image searches

simplify powerful simple simplicity eliminate

Powerful related stock images