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Make Money Selling Stock Photos

easy tips on selling micro stock photography

Stock Photography Community

Tip #20: People vs. No People

Sunday, December 2, 2007

I've heard that to be a successful microstock photographer, you must use people in your photos. Supposedly images of people sell better than landscapes or objects. Is this true?

Browse the top selling images at Dreamstime (http://www.dreamstime.com/latest.php?sortcriteria=6) to check out this theory.

Looking at the current list of top 20 best selling photographs, this is what I found:

- the current top selling photo is a people shot showing a recognizable face

- 10 of the top 20 photos include recognizable faces

- 15 of the top 20 images include people or parts of people (such as just feet or hands)

- Only 4 of the top 20 photos are not of people

These stats seem to confirm the theory. But they also tell us that there is room at the top for non-people photos.

If you plan to photograph people for stock photos, be aware that you must have a signed model release verifying consent by the subject to use their image. You can find model releases on any microstock photo site with instructions on how to fill them out and submit the release with your photo.

Although model releases can be a BIG hassle and an interuption in the creative process, there are ways to work with this inconvenience. One way is to not show recognizable faces in a photo. You can crop a face out, photograph from the back of a subject, photograph at a distance, use only part of the subject (hands, feet), or photograph in silhouette. If a subject is not recognizable, there's no need for a model release.

Another way to minimize the hassle is to always use the same model or models for your photos. By getting a blanket model release with the understanding that it can be used with future images taken of that subject, there's no need to constantly get new releases signed. But be warned - this only works if the subject agrees to the arrangement.

Or you can just stay away from photographing people altogether and focus on other themes. Although I used to be a portrait photographer and loved interaction with people during the photographic process, I now enjoy a much less stressful style of photography. My themes tend towards objects, landscapes and concept images.

People versus no people - it's really up to you.

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posted by La Roach, 3:00 PM AddThis Social Bookmark Button AddThis Feed Button


I find what you say to be absolutely true. I'd say that even though photographing various objects can pay off, shots of people is a faster and more proven of a way to grow sales. Have your own generic release form and submit it to all agencies you contribute to, and do photograph photogenic people.

Don't forget to see my stock photography blog at StartStock.com.
commented by Blogger Tzar Harris, August 28, 2008 at 2:56 PM  

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