What sells?

Since joining a stock site I have had around 25 images accepted but they seem to be sitting ducks. My success rate of image acceptance has been rather hit and miss though. The most common reason for rejection is that my images “are not commercially viable.” I’m willing to try new things, so where do I start? - Robert Popper

Set your personal tastes aside and consider who’s buying images from stock sites and why. It will most likely be designers and bloggers looking for visuals to adorn their publications or websites, so think clean, simple and commercial. Creative crops and filters can limit a photo’s potential, so always leave room for text that could be added later.

Portraits are very popular, but the images that perform best are those based around a strong concept. That’s not to say that other genres don’t attract their own fair share of attention – food photography performs well, as does travel. Like portraits, however, these images stand more chance of being snapped up if they convey a concept. It may be cliché, but stock sites are no place for fine art or landscapes. If you’re unsure whether an image is suitable, remember that the worst that can happen is that it gets rejected.