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8 Tips On Creating Stock Photos That Sell

  • Post category:Technology
  • Post last modified:April 15, 2023
  • Reading time:9 mins read

With the rise of e-commerce and online marketing, businesses require high-quality visual content to promote their products and services. This has led to a surge in demand for stock photos, creating an opportunity for photographers to make a living by creating images that meet market demands. However, with the increasing competition in the market, it can be challenging to create stock photos that stand out from the crowd and sell. 

This article will provide eight valuable tips to help you create stock photos that sell. So, whether you’re a professional photographer or a beginner, read on to learn how you can take your stock photos to the next level.

1. Researching The Market 

Before creating stock photos, it is essential to research the market to identify the current trends and demands. The stock photography industry is continuously evolving, and new trends emerge every day. Therefore, staying up-to-date with the latest trends is crucial to create images that meet market demands.

One way to research the market is to analyze the top-selling stock photos on photography websites. For instance, if you’re interested in creating stock photos for the fashion industry, you can look at the top-selling images of models, clothing, and accessories to get an idea of what’s in demand. This information can help you create images that align with current trends and meet the needs of potential buyers.

However, it is essential to remember that you should not copy someone else’s work. Instead, use market research to get inspiration and create unique images that stand out.

2. Choosing The Right Subjects 

Choosing the right subject for your stock photo is crucial. The subject of your photo is what catches the attention of the viewer and determines whether they will purchase your image or not. Therefore, it is important to choose a subject that is in demand and has a high selling potential.

The most popular subjects in the stock photography industry are people, nature, business, and technology. You can also choose to focus on more niche subjects that have less competition. For example, if you are passionate about food photography, you can focus on creating images of specific cuisines or ingredients.

When choosing a subject, it is essential to be creative and think outside the box. Try to come up with unique and interesting ways to capture your subject that will make your photo stand out from the rest.

3. Lighting and Composition 

Lighting and composition are two essential elements of stock photography. Proper lighting can enhance the beauty of your subject and make it more appealing to the viewer. On the other hand, poor lighting can ruin the entire image, making it unusable.

Natural light is the best option for stock photography as it creates a more natural and realistic look. Try to avoid using artificial lighting unless it is necessary. Additionally, you can also use the rule of thirds as a composition technique to make your pictures look more appealing. A rule of thirds divides an image horizontally and vertically into three thirds, creating four intersecting points. Putting your subject on one of these points creates a balanced and visually appealing image.

However, it is important to remember that there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to lighting and composition. Experiment with different techniques and find what works best for your style.

4. Editing and Retouching 

Stock photography requires editing and retouching to enhance the beauty of your images and make them more appealing to the viewer. There are various editing software available in the market, such as Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom, that can help you edit your photos professionally.

When retouching your photos, it is important to be careful not to overdo it. Over-retouching can make your photos look fake and unappealing. Instead, aim for a natural and realistic look. Focus on removing any distracting elements and adjusting the color balance, contrast, and exposure.

Always keep the stock photography website’s requirements in mind when editing your photos. Different websites have different guidelines, and it is important to follow them to ensure that your photos are accepted and have a high selling potential.

5. Capturing Emotions 

Stock photos that capture emotions can be more relatable and appealing to viewers. Emotions such as joy, love, sadness, and excitement can evoke a strong emotional response from the viewer and make them more likely to purchase your photo.

To capture emotions in your photos, try to create a story or a scenario that elicits the desired emotion. For example, if you want to capture the joy, you can create an image of a family playing together in a park or a couple enjoying a romantic dinner.

Additionally, incorporating human elements into your photos can help convey emotions. A smile, a hug, or a gesture can add a personal touch to your photos and make them more relatable to the viewer.

6. Paying Attention To Details 

Stock photos can be improved significantly by paying attention to details. Details such as sharpness, focus, and depth of field can enhance the overall look of your images and make them more visually appealing.

When taking photos, ensure that your subject is in focus and sharp. Use a tripod if necessary to avoid blurry images. Additionally, pay attention to the background and ensure it is clean and clutter-free.

Edit your photos carefully by reducing noise, changing colors, and sharpening. These small adjustments can make a big difference in the final output.

7. Capturing Diversity 

Capturing diversity in your stock photos can make them more inclusive and appealing to a wider audience. This is because people want to see themselves represented in the media. If your stock photos only feature a narrow range of people, you may be missing out on potential customers who don’t feel represented in your images.

To capture diversity in your stock photos, you can start by brainstorming different types of people and experiences you want to capture. Consider the demographics of your target audience and think about what they might want to see represented in your images. 

You can also reach out to diverse communities and ask for their input and participation in your photo shoots.

8. Legal Considerations

Stock photos should be created with legal considerations in mind to avoid legal issues in the future. Obtaining model releases and property releases for your photos is one of the primary legal considerations.

Additionally, you must ensure you are not infringing on any copyrights or trademarks in your photos. For example, if you take a photo of a person wearing a branded t-shirt, it’s important to ensure that the use of the trademark in your photo is not violating any trademark laws.

It is also essential to stay abreast of the changes in the legal landscape surrounding stock photography. To ensure compliance with legal requirements, seek legal advice from a lawyer specializing in intellectual property law.


Creating stock photos that sell requires a combination of creativity, research, and attention to detail. With these ten tips, you can create high-quality images that meet the market demands and stand out from the crowd. Remember to stay up-to-date with the latest trends and experiment with different styles to discover your unique style.