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 #3 features one of the best selling photos EVER on 500px. And taking a closer look at this incredibly sellable, beautiful shot will be 500px Content Editor Janet Weldon. Take it away Janet!

Colors of Faith by Devesh Tripathi on

Simply Sellable #3: One of Our Best Selling Photos… Ever

by Janet Weldon

One of the main reasons this photo is such a big seller—and you’ve heard us mention this a bunch of times before—is the abundance of copy space. This is important because buyers like imagery that allows them to place text or a logo separately from other visual elements.

This is called white space or negative space. The main focus of the photograph doesn’t take up a large part of the image. This allows designers to create a hierarchy which gives the viewer visual clues to what is important in the overall design. All of this means the designer can create a clean, easily legible design that draws the viewer to the branding or overall message.

Allowing for copy space is extremely important when shooting commercial licensing for stock. You don’t know what the end use is and being aware of copy space may be the difference between making a sale or being passed up for another option.

Of course, copy space isn’t the only thing that makes this photo so sellable, it’s also quite symbolically compelling: playful hands reaching and the wonderful use of bold colour softened by the dust in the air. We are also no doubt drawn to the human element of this image: anonymous, genderless, different sized hands stretching into an open sky.

The photograph could be used literally to represent the Hindu festival of color but the image goes a step further by invoking an emotional response of joy, fun, freedom and celebration. These concepts can be expanded on and used in a wide variety of creative assignments.

And that, dear readers, is why this photo is ‘simply sellable.’ Combine great composition that allows for designers to place copy or logos with symbolic power and you’ve got one of the best-selling photographs ever sold through the 500px Marketplace.

If you have any more questions for Janet 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!