Composition is the key?
I'm not sure how many of you entered the micro-stock business as contributors, but I first started as a customer, mainly to get images for my web design company. I always appreciated the great diversity of pictures I found in micro-stock websites and the low rates they charged for those amazing photographs. Then, I started to create my own photos for the websites I develop and now I only buy the pictures I cannot shoot myself from various reasons.
But now I would like to talk a bit about the pictures and the composition. There are some pictures in here that are just amazing. You first look at them and say: "wow, now that is one picture that is probably selling like crazy". The colors are great, the picture is sharp and clean and still... the downloads are not as many as you first thought. One thing I discovered while working as website designer was that even if I had a great picture on my digital canvas, it didn't always fit in a particular website design. The story is the same if you want to include a photo in printed materials, product catalogues, labels and so on.
Most of the time, the designer has to crop the picture, resize or rotate it. It doesn't matter why. The website design is not usually made from a particular photo up, it's the other way around: a photo has to fit within a particular layout. Sometimes the picture you need to include has to be very large but you have to cut the height. Now, what would happen if your subject is all over the photo? By cutting the top and/or bottom of the image, the subject might be unrecognizable or too much details will be lost. There are some pictures that will fit perfectly and still give you plenty of room to manipulate the picture even further. Now, that is a good image for a designer to use in his or her project. Many of my photos were just unusable - even for my own projects. But I had the chance to shoot them again, this time with the project requirements in mind.
This is not the case with the pictures you send to a microstock website. You have to upload the most relevant pictures, and you rarely upload a better version of a picture afterwards. So, think about this aspect in the future and try to imagine your picture in various sizes (cropped, not resized). Does it maintain the original idea? Is your subject still there and looking great? How is the background affected if some parts of the picture will be cut out?
These are some pictures that will always look good. I tried to find a better replacement but I just couldn't. It's because they are perfectly composed: