Creative Stock Photography Ideas To Sell More Images

Kate Miller-Wilson
Pretty blonde with multi-colored donuts

Marketing your work as a stock photographer takes some research and creativity, but the challenge can pay off. The key is producing quality images that are in high demand, which means you need a lot of great concepts for shots that will appeal to your audience. Try some of the following ideas.

Play With Pastels

Stock Photo Secrets reports that images featuring pastel colors is a hit with stock photo customers. This can include minimalist shots, portraits, macro images, and more. There are lots of fun ways to take this on.

Show Off Pastel Hair Colors

Stock photos are very much about current trends, and you may have noticed that hair colors are no longer limited to those provided by nature. Set up a shoot with a model who has fun pink, baby blue, or lavender hair and have her doing a variety of everyday activities. Amp things up with pastel outfits, props, and backgrounds.

Overexpose Your Images

When you shoot, whether it's a portrait or a kitchen scene, bump up your exposure a little. You don't want to blow the highlights completely, but washing out some of the colors allows you to subtly capitalize on the pastel trend. Think bright and airy as you process your images, too, lifting the shadows and blacks a bit to lighten everything up.

Sweeten Your Shots With Candy-Colored Foods

Pale shades are surprising and light feeling in food photos, which are often rich and dark. Pick bright candy colors, such as cakes with pastel frosting, ice cream, macaroons, and marshmallows. For an added pop, work in a contrasting pastel shade or two and add table linens or dishes that follow up on your theme.

Make Your Landscapes Relatable

Canoe sitting lakeside

According to 500px, breathtaking landscape photos still reign supreme in the stock photo market. That's no surprise, considering these images are versatile and inspiring for many kinds of content. The key to success here is to make your shots relatable to your viewer.

Add a Human Element

Bring your viewer into the scene by adding a human element to the shot. This can be the bow of a canoe leading into a lake scene, a tent set up on a windy cliff, a tiny figure in the distance, or even a pair of hiking boots in the foreground. These images offer an invitation to the viewer and work with different types of content.

Focus on Texture

Many landscape photos are about the sense of sight, and they can be lovely. However, if you add texture, such as a rocky beach or a soft dandelion puff in the foreground, you tap into your viewer's sense of touch too. This can work really well for stock images, since this will call up relaxation and nature.

Keep It Real

Stock photography can easily veer into the artificial, but according to Shutterstock, keeping things genuine is one of the most important things you can do to succeed. Viewers respond to real things and real people.

Show Genuine Emotion

Sad woman in a room

People relate to photos that show emotion. Have your model show both positive and negative emotions in your shoot. Try for images with sadness, anxiety, anger, hope, sympathy, and many more feelings. Keeping the context a bit more general allows the image to be used for a variety of applications where emotion is important.

Use Real People

There's always a market for shots featuring flawless models, but there's also a trend toward more relatable, flawed human being in images. Ad campaigns like Dove's Real Beauty show that consumers respond to people who look like them. Choose to focus on these people in your photos, and your images are likely to garner more attention.

Show the Darker Side

You can take an image of a beautiful beach or an inviting woodland path, but there are a lot of similar images on the stock photo sites. Instead, bring in the real, dark side of these places. Don't Photoshop out the piece of crumpled trash in the foreground or the rusty car at the side of the frame. This can appeal to clients who need images for content about the environment, urban life, and a variety of other topics.

Come Up With Your Own Ideas

Coming up with your own stock photo concepts is easy if you take some time to look at what consumers want. Pay attention to clothing and home decor trends and think about how to work these colors and styles into your images. Take inspiration from TV shows, movies, and music too. Consider how you can subtly work these entertainment concepts into your stock photos. Great stock images are all about following the current trends while maintaining excellent image quality.

Creative Stock Photography Ideas To Sell More Images