One of the questions we always appreciate answering for our community is what type of photos interest buyers most for licensing purposes. Our photographers love to take advantage of the 500px Marketplace in an effort to monetize their work, but would prefer not to spend their time submitting photos that may not be of interest to our network of worldwide buyers. Simply Sellable is our effort to answer questions each week around what type of photos buyers want to license, what trends we see happening across the licensing industry, and what visual thought leaders anticipate being successful in the Marketplace. Each week, one member of our Content Team will provide advice, tips, tricks or even example photos in an effort to help and guide you, our community of amazing photographers, in your effort to capture that perfectly licensable image.

This week, we’re looking at this photo from Tim Jones, a 500px Marketplace photographer, who was able to capture the feel of a spontaneous moment of friends at play on the beach at Le Bons Bay in New Zealand.

500px Photo ID: 103726391 by Tim Jones on

By keeping in mind the following three points, Tim was able to create a licensable photo that can now be discovered and appreciated by buyers worldwide.

1. Focus on aesthetics: The texture in the sand, the distant hillside, the lapping waves, and the swirl of clouds in the sky creates an interesting sense of movement within the image while still keeping the viewer’s focus on the people playing and laughing together in the foreground. We feel a sense of motion from the arms and legs at play, contributing to the feeling that these are real people and real friends hanging out, not a posed still. The use of a monochromatic colour scheme creates rich layers of blue and brown while the open sky leaves a good amount of copy space for any designer or buyer to use.

2. Model releases: One of the biggest selling points for this image is that Tim was able to obtain six model releases, one from every person in the image. To license commercially, you must obtain a model release for every recognizable person in your photo. A model release is a legal document between you and the model which allows you to publish the person’s likeness for commercial purposes. A buyer would have no issues licensing this image with the knowledge that each person in the photo has given their consent. You can find the 500px model release form here.

3. Keywords: To sell a photo, the image first has to be discovered by a potential buyer. This is where accurate keywords play an important part in the Marketplace process. Tim has used descriptive keywords for his image such as: fun, friendship, day, athletic, team, games, group, woman, man, friends, and summer. He has also included location keywords: New Zealand, beach, ocean, and landscape. These pieces of metadata make it much easier for a buyer, using different search terms, to land on the photo. In fact, keywords are so important to us that we’ve updated our iOS and Android apps to suggest keywords to help you make your photos more discoverable.

For more tips on how to keyword your images like Time to get them discovered on Marketplace, check out our Do’s and Don’ts of effective keywording.