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 #4 features a photo powerful in its simplicity. And explaining exactly why this simple photo has sold well is 500px Content Editor Brian Wilson. Let’s find out what he has to say about it!

Strength by Kurt Forschen on

Simply Sellable #4: Selling Strength

by Brian Wilson

This image is highly sellable based, largely, on the simplicity of its content.

As stated by the title, the main theme here is strength; and the image has been properly executed to suit a variety of needs/appeal to many different buyers.

A more literal use case might have this image up in a gym, advertising a workout technique, or placed in an ad for some sort of supplement. But the great thing about this subject is that it can also appeal on a more basic descriptive level—it conveys strength and power in a metaphorical way that can appeal to a less literal, more emotional attachment.

It’s not just an image of a strong man on a plain background… it’s an image of a strong man conveying strength through emotion—transforming it from a simple portrait to a portrait of a character captured in a conceptual way that adds drama.

Much like the last image in our Simply Sellable series, this image contains copy space that makes it more appealing for advertisers to use or alter in a way to suits their needs. Additionally, the simplicity of the background lets us focus on the character and subject, conveying a lot of emotion. A more complicated setting or background might deter from the subject, but the background used makes it easy to place this subject or alter the image to suit a buyer’s specific needs.

Finally, appropriate keywording, description, title, and a signed model release (you’d be surprised how often people forget this part…), make this image very easy to curate into our Prime collection.

And that, dear readers, is why this photo is ‘simply sellable.’ Never underestimate the power of a simple concept executed exceptionally well.

If you have any more 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 Monday for the next installment in the series!