Weekend portfolio case study #1

I study a portfolio every weekend and I thought I'd share what I study. Not all of it, only some parts of it. I don't pick up images or artists from the editor's choice collection of featured photographers collection either....which means that the portfolios I pick are one of the least likely ones to be noticed by us contributors but they do have a crazy number of sales. Some of you may find this useful.

I choose portfolios based on these points:

- Artists with no message board activity

- With weird photos having unexpectedly high sales

- Artists who didn't use million dollar equipment to shoot their best sellers.

If this helps you, read on...

I studied this portfolio this weekend: Raman Maisei - Portfolio

600 uploads and 11,500+ sales with an average 20 sales/image. Okay, he looks like he's been around here a long time...but still very few people get sales by just being around for long.

First noticeable thing is that he has extremely generic stuff. I sure took notes from those. Especially the color combination he is choosing for the illustrated backgrounds. Here are some generic backgrounds:

The shades of reddish brown (as in wine or coffee) combined with shiny silver or golden colors or details tend to sell best. It probably strikes a good contrast. Gold stands for luxury and reddish brown stands of power and control. Even aggressive or something commanding and authoritative. Of course, more than three quarters of the customers wouldn't have the slightest idea what color stands for what - but it DOES matter a lot. Whenever possible, colors can be employed to make someone buy stuff from you. If you notice the bestseller backgrounds, you'd laugh at how colors and certain patterns totally lure away and enchant customers into buying them and taking them way above level 5. Interesting!

I also noticed that this artist loves copy space. There is space everywhere, even where people would be uncomfortable about putting them. So another thing I learnt is - consider CREATING copy space where it can be possibly done.

Look at the Santa and the balloon. Okay, the balloon is imaginable. But the Santa was a pretty good idea, would never have struck me to make space on the bag.

The use of "shiny" lighting in illustrations is also brilliant. It is a feature that you can add using the dodge tool in Photoshop. The musical notes background image is perfect with the attractive background of soothing blue and the shiny 3D notes. A good image from the psychological point of view.

Look closely and find out more about what made these images sell better than other similar ones. There is so much to learn on a stock photo site when you have all the stats laid bare. Anyone can create a portfolio like this because I don't think there is some very complicated or expensive equipment involved. It is all about just skills...

This latest search preview of DT is being troublesome now because I have to hover mouse pointer over every image to see its level. I wish it could be rolled back. :/

You may add me to favorites for easy following of my future blog posts.

Photo credits: Raman Maisei.

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That's all done with some 3D modeller. I don't think many people could do it. I tried it already long back. Very difficult.
Weekend studies later....maybe from Next month. I'm very busy right now. Exams, exams and exams.... :/


For this weekend:Kounas portofolio


I guess I don't understand why the layout would be different for certain users. This could be a test and they are only rolling it out for some users.

Either way I hope they get this fixed or let us know what's going on.


No, many aren't seeing this old look.
Now we see just a grid of photos. No info.


I saw another thread where you brought this up.

So I thought I would post this here as not to derail that thread.

I did a search for "jumping dog"

Here is the screen shot of the search layout I get.

screen shot

I hope this helps


Send me a message on Facebook with a screenshot maybe?
Or I'll ask some others. Maybe something is wrong on my side. Not likely though.


I can see why that would be annoying.

Could you be experiencing a glitch with your browser type/version.

Not an expert at all in these things, but could explain why we are getting different search page layouts.


I just ran a search.
I see a grid of images with a little + sign on the bottom right corner of each image....that's all. No information at all. I see the other stuff only after I hover the mouse on something. It then zooms out and shows the info.

I'm not really looking forward to hovering the mouse over 200 places per page. The effect is obvious... what always took 10 minutes took exactly 35 minutes this time. Not good.


Positiveflash: ??? Does it show downloads without hovering mouse over it? I only see a grid of images. Not a single detail unless I hover mouse on it.

I thought it did. I just did a search, and I could see the title, the image thumbnail, downloads, views and a add to lightbox button without mouse over for all images on the page.

Its possible we are talking about two different things.


Positiveflash: ??? Does it show downloads without hovering mouse over it? I only see a grid of images. Not a single detail unless I hover mouse on it.

Seriously, if I was a blogger buying images regularly with credits, I'd have stopped buying. :/
I'll see if I'm missing something. I liked DT mainly for the search preview look. Now it's changed.


I sure do. The weekly research keeps my mind running. :)

Carmen, the trouble is not the zoom thing. The trouble is that the image level isn't shown on all images. I have to hover mouse over 200+ images to find something to study. It wastes double my time. :/

The number of downloads is shown, why not look at those? That way you don't have to mouse over all those images.


Wow! A lot of additional work studying portfolios! I think your analysis is very helpful. Thanks!


Very interesting point of view! Lovely post!


Wonderful advice. Thank you for taking the time to point out some very good techniques and sharing them.


I sure do. The weekly research keeps my mind running. :)

Carmen, the trouble is not the zoom thing. The trouble is that the image level isn't shown on all images. I have to hover mouse over 200+ images to find something to study. It wastes double my time. :/


Great idea and very useful. Waiting forward for next one.
Thank you for sharing those observations with us, we tend to forget some aspects sometimes.


Pratik, if you mouse over the images in search results, you will see the zoom option. The feature is still there, we just made it more accessible. No need to click on the zoom icon, just mouse over.


Not really working for revenue. Just for fun and satisfaction...


You are really and seriously working on this stuff :) I hope you will get the revenue someday


Wonderful portofolio!Well,perhaps this is the best example which show a professional illustrator and remind us that the artwork done well sell much better than photos.I don't think that anyone can create a portfolio like this!Very creative,very professional.Thank you for sharing,Robinstockphotos!:)


It's easy to see why this person has so many sales. The illustrations are creative, colourful and appeal to many buyers. Using holiday symbols such as Santa is smart because those are always needed. Excellent portfolio.

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