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 our marketplace to start making cash from their photography, but they don’t want to waste their time submitting work that doesn’t sell, so they ask us great questions like, “What do buyers actually want?” and “How do I capture photos that sell?” Simply Sellable is our attempt to answer these difficult questions weekly. Each week, one of our expert Content Editors picks their favorite photos that have sold recently, and explains exactly WHY they sold—what makes those photos “simply sellable.”

This week, get insights on the kind of landscape photo that is both contemporary and relevant to the market. Read on for tips by our content editor and fellow photographer Natta Summerky!

Here at 500px, we are very proud of our talented landscape photographers who strongly represent the core of our community, so it’s not a surprise that they also tend to sell extremely well. However, if one is looking to add a unique flare to their landscape photography to ensure high quality, then look no further than the feed of one of our featured photographers Morgan Phillips. His signature style is both extremely contemporary and relevant for the market. Morgan has won the hearts of many for his integration of humanity that is a striking element added to his landscape photos.

Morgan Phillips Photography by Morgan  Phillips on

Morgan’s photo feels authentic, realistic, and charming specifically because it was not intended to be perfect. While many amateur photographers invest thousands of dollars in heavy professional gear and are looking to recreate iconic National Geographic photos visiting exotic locations, photographing with long exposures and applying fancy HDR techniques, Morgan Phillips really shows us what matters—embracing what feels special to you, like a wilderness hike with your close friends on a not-so-perfect cloudy day, where you can really connect to the life around you and to each other.

In relation to technical aspects, this image is a fairly simply shot and edited in a way that complements the authenticity of the photo. However, it is still obvious how much work and love was put into the production. The clothes on the hikers perfectly match the color of the grass keeping the overall tones and mood of the picture as calm yet particularly stunning. You, the viewer, can almost feel the wind and smell the bitter autumn notes. The cloudy sky has just the right amount of copy space for a designer or artist, and the ability to crop means that the image can also be used in both portrait and landscape orientation. The photo would also perform really well on a mobile device as it has some certain shot-on-mobile qualities which makes it a great find for online media campaigns.

To be as successful as Morgan, we suggest you have a second look on what is happening around you and what you feel strongly about – grab a friend or two, and spend a day in or away from your city exploring, wandering and getting creative. Don’t let your search of perfect locations, models or weather impede you. After all, imperfections show human nature the best and make your photography really memorable.

And that is why this photo is “simply sellable.” 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 for the next installment in the series!