The question we get asked more than almost any other here at 500px is a deceptively simple one: “What kinds of photos sell?”

People want to take advantage of the 500px Marketplace to start making a bit of cash on the side, or maybe even a substantial revenue stream, but they don’t want to waste their time submitting work that just won’t sell; so they ask us great questions like “what do buyers actually want?” and “what kinds of photos sell?”

Simply Sellable is our attempt to answer this impossible question… weekly.

Since the answer to this question changes week in and week out as trends, seasonality, and other factors continue to shift, we are answering the question regularly. Every week in fact. Each week one of our expert Content Editors picks one of their favorite photos that has sold recently, and explains exactly WHY it sold—what makes that photo “simply sellable.”

Simply Sellable #2 features an adventure photo that has been licensed several times over on the 500px Marketplace, broken down by 500px Content Editor and talented photographer Natta Summerky.


Simply Sellable #2: Powder, Adrenaline, and Copy Space

by Natta Summerky

Winter is coming and image buyers are already looking to fulfill some last minute seasonal requests—in fact, those start appearing as early as mid-summer(!) so if you’re planning to make some extra money next year, the best time to shoot winter and holiday season imagery for the end of 2016 is right now.

This fantastic image by Christoph Oberschneider—which has sold several times to a wide range of clients from IT companies, to personal development trainers—is a perfect example how a picture can be both aspirational, successfully convey multiple strong messages, and also be relevant to the upcoming holiday vacations, deals, and campaigns.

What makes it so sellable? The fearless and skillful skier jumping over obstacles gently backlit by the setting sun is clearly having the time of his life, and can be used as a metaphor for a number of highly sought-after business and travel concepts: excellence, motivation, personal growth, extreme sports fun, bucket list ideas, and other “taking it to the next level” scenarios.

The image also boasts a perfect balance between great technical execution (capturing the decisive moment and having consistent quality throughout the image) and still using unconventional and imperfect lighting conditions to the photographer’s advantage. Few people would photograph this scene with the sun directly in front of the camera, but Christoph chose the right moment when it was low enough not to overexpose the image, and caught this beautiful star shape that makes his image so relatable and “in the moment.”

Our eye is also immediately drawn to the bright contrasting figure while the rest of the picture is relatively flat and gray. This provides lots of usable copy space that is so valuable to marketing and design agencies, so be sure to frame your photos while keeping in mind how they would look with 3-5 lines of “competing” text on them.

Another piece of advice that is often neglected when submitting photos like this one to licensing libraries is to tag your pictures with conceptual and trending relevant keywords in addition to descriptive ones: they are more likely to elevate your image to the top of the searches potential image buyers are trying.

And that, dear readers, is why this photo is ‘simply sellable.’ Exceptional execution meets powerful storytelling potential… with plenty of copy space.

If you have any more questions for Natta about the photo above, don’t hesitate to drop them in the comments below. And don’t forget to check back in next Monday for the next installment in the series!