Free Report: What's Working in Online Stock Photography

2009 is fast approaching, and I'd like to see you sell a few travel articles and a couple dozen photos by the end of the year… so you really start 2009 on the right foot.

To help you, I've asked three industry experts to uncover what's selling best in their market of expertise right now.  And I'm going to send you all three of their reports in lieu of this week's regularly scheduled e-letter.

You'll find the first below.  It's a report from professional photographer Shelly Perry on what's hot in online stock agencies today…

-- Lori

Lori Allen
Director, Great Escape Publishing

[Editor’s Note: Learn more about how you can turn your pictures into cash in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel.  Sign up here today and we’ll send you a new report, Selling Photos for Cash: A Quick-Start Guide, completely FREE.]



When it comes to stock photography, the million-dollar question is, "What kinds of photos are people buying online?"

If you're involved in image creation for stock, this question is constantly at the forefront of your thoughts. It's a question that, if responded to correctly, could make all the difference in the world to your photo income potential.

I'm sure there are a few golden nuggets to be stumbled upon out there. But, generally speaking, the trick is to take a new look at an old subject; apply a twist to a tried and true theme. What's selling today is the same thing that's been selling for years -- photos that meet a customer's need.

Here are five trends I've identified as top sellers right now:

** 1. HOLIDAY: Christmas and the general holiday season can be the biggest singular event of the year for sales, even when it comes to stock photography. Those who make a point of adding this theme to their portfolios each year are usually greatly rewarded for the effort.  Granted, the life span of these images can be short -- September through December generally -- but the sales volume can be significantly greater than with other themes.

** 2. BUSINESS: You'd think this theme would be completely covered since it's the most lucrative theme out there for stock photography.  But here's the thing: designers always, month after month, need new and current business shots for websites, brochures, and advertisements they're creating for their customers.  And graphic designers are still the biggest buyers in online stock. Bottom line: "business" sells.

Here's a twist: think about life in the real world as your source material.  The real world is not made up of 20-something models.  It's made of people of all ages, shapes, sizes, and ethnicities. These people work in a myriad of environments and industries doing a vast array of jobs, yet when you search for "business" you will tend to see the same type of shot over and over again. Be creative, think "real world," put a twist on it (and do it well), and you will help solve a designer's dilemma… and reap the rewards.

** 3. PEOPLE: Not every photo needs to include people, but those that include people generally sell well.  If you can include people in your shots at least some of the time, you'll do yourself a favor. Try to capture emotion and animation -- real people doing real things in a real life. Just like business shots, designers have a constant need for fresh faces and a variety of situations and emotions. Photos of women (especially business women) are more in demand now than ever before. And don't forget the model release.

** 4. CLEAN, LIGHT, AND BRIGHT: This is nothing new in the world of stock, but images that are clean (think logo and clutter free), light, and bright generally sell much better than the more artistic, dark and moody ones.  With the darker shots, a designer might have to fuss around a bit more to make them fit into a project.

** 5. DYNAMIC: Images that have life to them -- that are not stale or forced. They appear to be genuine, even though they are often highly staged.  It's the art of creating the illusion that you walked into the room and your models just happened to be there… or you (and the viewer) are caught in the middle of meeting with them. Creating these un-posed, energetic types of shots can be a challenge, but it's well worth the effort if you're able to pull it off.