Subject matter composition vs Success levels

Today I am wondering what others are thinking …

I don't usually approach my photography from a point of view of "will it sell" … I usually am more concerned out getting the composition that I am trying to get … for ME.

But I wonder if i should not be so precious about what it is that I want, and be more cognizant of what "buyers" may be looking for/at.

I 'd like to give a quick example:

ref the image below:

Ornate Loikeet - Head Shot

at the time of this posting [only 12 hits with 2 downloads] — Online since, 2008/09/23.

Now that was shot … for me [with my composition in mind] for use as I wanted …

While the following:

New car show

was definitely not for me, but just look at volume of interest it has generated …

at the time of this posting [831 hits with 0 downloads] — Online since, 2009/02/10.

Subject matter aside … I can't begin to assume that there is far more interest for editorial images, as the latter is such a type of license …

But WOW what a stark contrast, in success rate …

How do others approach the choice between individual taste and mass demand?

Your thoughts and comments are most welcomed.

Photo credits: Patrick Allen.
Patrick Allen
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  • Ratmandude
  • Randburg, South Africa
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Thanx for the candid replys … I guess it's always a subjective matter at the end of the day …
So I guess I gotta do as I have an just take the image that I take, and never mind too much about too much about the "demand" factor, at first, as I first gotta develop my skill more, and then I'll work on the other side of the coin …


Hey Patrick. This sometimes happens - an image will get a staggering amount of hits because it just happens to be high up in the relevance shake-up (or it is particularly relevant due to some current trend), while another image may be just as good if not better but gets 'lost' down the search results. I wouldn't read too much into it. Personally, I prefer the parrot but that's because I'm an animal / bird freak. On the other hand, the car image does have the right composition & lighting to 'grab' the eye. My theory is that I always have the commercial aspect in mind when I compose an image but I never let it get in the way of my creativity.
Happy shooting!


Hi Patrick, I think this is a question most of us ask ourselves, and I think that we become stock orientated photographers after some time here and not only consider how we would like the shot to come out, but how it may be used as potential sales material. That said, we can never be exactly sure of what will sell, but the fact that the second image is being viewed so extensively means it generates loads of interest, and this can potentially result in sales over time above the image of the parrot. Then again, the image of the parrot is rather unique because of the composition whereas the car image, although good is one of many and may not have the same sales appeal against those already online. It is a strange place, the world of micro stock, and the one who can fathom out the buyers is generally the one that will do well ':0)