At iofoto, we are always asking ourselves,

What makes a great image?

But more importantly,

How can we make those images more salable?

We thought it would be fun to share some of our thoughts—

First of all, always ask yourself, What would this picture be used for? and again, more importantly, Will this image make money? This is answered in part by the image’s conceptual value and ability to be used for multiple purposes. An image of a warehouse, even if fully PR’d, probably has minimal marketplace value. A close-up image of two gears clicking together will sell forever. “Beautiful” works only in the context of commercial possibilities. A pretty picture isn’t necessarily a marketable picture. That doesn’t mean “Don’t shoot it”—rather, make sure you can maximize what you’ve got. (If in doubt, shoot it!) A good example is the above photograph of a highway. It is picturesque, but a road can be conceptual as well. It could sell for obvious reasons (transportation), but it can also signify “On the Road”, The Future, The Open Road, Direction, The Great Unknown, etc. You get the idea.

Here are some other tips to help you maximize your shots:

1. Vertical and horizontal

Take both a Vertical and Horizontal of the same subject. This allows the potential buyer more crop options, and sometimes creates a different “flow” to the image.

2. Serious and smiling

80% of our images selected are SMILING. There is always a place for serious expressions, but “warm and fuzzy” will always outsell serious.

3. Wide and close-up!

Take a wide shot and then— move in CLOSE! This one is self-explanatory.

4. Jumping for Joy and a Jig!

Image by iofoto

Help Models feel comfortable and have fun! We always try to keep a professional but relaxed atmosphere so models enjoy themselves. Those are when the best pictures happen!

5. Awake, then NAP time

Go with the FLOW! We usually create a shoot storyboard to maximize time, but sometimes shoots take on a life of their own, which is part of the beauty. Life doesn’t always follow a storyboard, so why should a shoot? Some great examples are the photos of the family. This little fellah just got tuckered out, so we incorporated his sleepiness into the shoot. They turned out to be some of the most special images of the shoot!

6. Natural Light and Flash


Play with different types of lighting – you can get a completely different feel!

7. Flower in front vs. away from face

Always have the model hold objects slightly away from the face, so the face and object don’t “run” into each other. This makes the expression more powerful.

8. Just the eyes are different

Likewise, subtle movements of the model can create a whole new feel:

9. EXPAND your concepts

Ask yourself, After doing the base shots, how can I add value by adding others elements?

Take these pencils for example. What a simplistic subject, right? Wrong! There are so many ways to photograph them, and each one can become a concept within itself, in addition to the obvious “Education” concept.

10. Have fun with your props

Finally— when the shoot is over, have fun with your props! After shooting numerous “normal” jack-o-lantern shots, the photographer decided to have fun with the last shot! Happy Pumpkin, Sad Pumpkin

You can view iofoto’s gallery iofoto here.