What goes into the most successful stock images? Learn from the pros with these tips for photos that customers love – and buy.
The stock photography industry has probably changed more in the last ten years than it has since the first agencies were founded way back in the 1920s. With the introduction of digital technology and smartphone cameras the market has exploded. Photographers can make more images (at lower production rates) than ever and customers are demanding more images every day.
In 2017, it’s not necessarily enough to be a great photographer. In order to stand out, one must understand exactly what kinds of images are in demand at any given moment. Stock photography is about adapting to new trends, often before anyone else does.
Shutterstock conducts in-depth market research (often years in advance) to guide their contributors in the right direction, and for this article, we also wanted to gather some firsthand advice from some of the top stock photographers in the world.
We asked them, “Is there such a thing as a formula for making a successful photograph?” Below, they share the specific elements and ingredients that contribute to an image’s profitability. No complexities here – just clear, concrete, easy-to-follow steps for conceptualizing and creating a great stock photo.
1. “It is risky to try something new because buyers might not like it, but if they do, the risk is totally worth it.”
Image by Andrey Popov.
Is there a formula to making a successful photograph?
The formula for a successful photo is very simple: Take a very popular and in-demand subject matter and shoot it differently. Use a different point of view, different colors, different lighting, different prop or clothing styling, different poses, different crops. Buyers look at the same subjects and themes over and over again, and they get tired of looking at similar photos and want to buy something new and fresh. It is risky to try something new because buyers might not like it, but if they do, the risk is totally worth it.