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 #10 features a wanderlust-sparking, adventurous image that is very popular with 500px buyers. And explaining why this images sells today will be 500px Content Editor Brian Wilson.

Hang Son Doong skyhole by john spies on

Simply Sellable #10: Enjoying Adventure in Vietnam

by Brian Wilson

This is a beautifully executed image that has sold a few times now. We tend to see a lot of people standing with their backs to the camera, looking off into the distance of a large landscape, but this image stands out by being a slightly different take on the very popular “small person, big world” theme.

I’ve spent a bit of time in Vietnam myself, and there is a beautiful image to be taken around every corner of this country. This image is a unique one though, and it’s sense of environment is really captivating. It has a really great range of color and light, and the smile on the subjects face says it all.

Adventure, accomplishment, satisfaction, there are so many themes that can be taken from such an epic image that the range of saleability is endless. Add to that the fact that the subject is model released (she is still recognizable) and the shot is free of any logos, and you’ve got a very commercial viable image on your hands.

We always encourage our travel photographers to take Model Releases with them when they travel abroad—or, if you’re an iOS user, our Release app can be a very convenient alternative. Although we can still sell images without model releases Editorially, capturing a beautiful moment with a model release will instantly open up many more licensing options.

And that, my friends, is why this photo is simply sellable. The popular “small person, big world” theme meets a sense of adventure and exploration that many buyers are looking to convey with the images they license.

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