What Makes Best Selling Photo?

The most popular concepts in the top photographs from last year are happiness/love/family and determined business teams. Don’t drop everything to focus on kisses and bunches of business types. Statistics only tell part of any story. How many images would have been in the top seller list if the photographer hadn’t uploaded a dozen nearly similar ones, thus spreading the downloads over the entire dozen? On the other hand if an image is a great stock photo, even a cropped or almost identical image can make it into the higher ranks as these two Iofoto images have.

© Iofoto
© Iofoto

There are reasons that these two similar images are both best sellers:

Location: The setting could be anywhere that has sandy beaches. The location is non-specific geographically and yet still shows a top vacation spot: the beach.

Seasonality: This beach shot could have been taken in spring, summer or early fall adding to the versatility of the image.

Wardrobe: The model’s clothing compliments the colors in the scene. Because there are blues, pinks, tans and yellows in the palette almost any color typeface could coordinate with the image. Shirts lack logos and the fabrics are all solid colors.

Casting: The models form the perfect, idealized family and yet they aren’t so beautiful as to look unauthentic. Their pose is relaxed and happy. (Just the way we all imagine the perfect family vacation.) Even the preteen girl appears to be pleased to be with her parents as she has her arm across her mother’s shoulder. Anyone who has attempted to take a daughter of this age on a family vacation knows that IS really an idealized image. The image depicts the vacation every family aspires to have.

Concepts: Happy and relaxed.

Composition: Dad is at the top of the pyramid and the models are posed off center to leave lots of space for type. The background is clean and simple.

Good keywording has also contributed to the success of all the images in the top tier in 2007.

© Kurhan

Groups of models in an image appear to pump up the number of downloads. Only one of the top images is of a single person. This is the image of a close up of a beautiful smile. Notice that the model’s makeup is very subtle. Again we see simplicity in composition and the concept of happiness.

All the top sellers of ’07 are people shots with the exception of an image of a white dove on a black background. The simple bird in flight is simple in composition with no distractions in the background. A dove symbolizes peace and, again, happiness.

It’s no surprise that a third of the top shots relate to business, specifically to business groups/teams.

Photos of a group of people, whether a party scene, business teams or several children are always in demand because it’s just plain difficult to get a large number of models together. The costs are higher and the chances that someone’s eyes are closed multiplies!

A group shot of the kids looking down into the camera is a winner because of the racial diversity of the models, making the image great for textbooks.

Love and romance are themes that never go out of style. The best images in this genre seem to combine the idea of love with the idea of a positive future.

© Dana

This makes sense in a world where marriage is anything but permanent. Remember images for advertising, promotion and many articles are aspirational. The photos are supposed to make the viewer buy something that will realize their dreams faster, cheaper or in greater style and comfort.

Using models in your photos can be problematic from both an organizational and financial point of view. Here’s a statement I read the other day to keep in mind to a good perspective on the money issue: Creativity begins when you have to cut a zero off your budget.

© Forca

Photo credits: Christopher Ewing, Bellemedia, Daniela Spyropoulou, Forca, Sean Nel, Iofoto, Kelliem, Kurhan, Theodor38.

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December 14, 2008


Good stuff! Thanks for taking the time to provide your insight.

December 07, 2008


great article good clear explanation I look fore ward to doing some model shots.I have some but need to get releases signed. Peter

September 27, 2008


Very good article. Thanks a lot ;)

September 08, 2008


After Iread this article I learned a lot. Thanks

August 31, 2008


very usefull article, a lot information, specially for me - new member.

August 05, 2008


I am late, it is best articles. thanks. :)


August 04, 2008



August 04, 2008


Nice stuff! Many Thanks!

August 01, 2008


After I read this article I took some pictures o a beach. I will upload them this month and I will see if this will give me some sales :) I hope so.

July 30, 2008


Great article, many thanks:)

July 10, 2008


thanks for the tips

June 25, 2008


Nice article , thanks.

May 23, 2008


Very informative......thanks!

May 20, 2008


hmm will have to keep this in mind :) Thank you! I am barely making any money in this but trying :)

Not to worry...keep learning about this market, hone your skills and success will arrive.

May 20, 2008


hmm will have to keep this in mind :) Thank you! I am barely making any money in this but trying :)

Nature Wallpaper

May 13, 2008


Lots of pointers and great advise. Thanks

April 19, 2008


good article.

April 19, 2008


Well captured way of creativity, I like highly the last sentence. Be open minded wherever you are :-) Thank you for advice!

April 05, 2008


It's a great article and so helpful to me.

April 04, 2008


Good read and points well made!

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