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 #11 features a mouth-watering picture of popsicles and fruit that screams summer from every pixel! And breaking down why this image sold recently will be 500px Content Editor Janet Kwan.

Orange Popsicle Ice Cream Bars by Brenda Carson on

Simply Sellable #11: Enjoying Adventure in Vietnam

by Janet Kwan

While photos of landscapes and people are always highly sellable, we should never overlook other styles such as delicious food photography.

One of the biggest factors that makes this image sellable is the intentional use of complementary colors: blue and orange. The bright hues work together to create an upbeat, vibrant mood that is reminiscent of sunny afternoons on the porch sipping lemonade, sharing a sweet treat with friends and soaking in the feeling of summer.

By pairing the oranges and the popsicles together, the food styling tells a story of how simple, everyday ingredients can be turned into a delicious treat.

Lastly, food photography requires close attention to detail in order to appeal to the viewer’s appetite, and you can tell the photographer paid excellent attention by several key details:

1. Using a wooden background plays into the summer theme.

2. The orange slices add dimension while triggering the viewer’s taste buds.

3. And the leaves add the final touch by sending some subtle but important signals. First, they add a fresh, and homemade element of the main ingredient; and second, they are expertly positioned to act as leading lines, guiding the viewer’s eye from one part of the image to the other.

And that, my friends, is why this photo is simply sellable. Fantastic composition, a colorful subject, and the attention to detail crucial to great still life photography are all there. Plus, the photo isn’t just about food: it captures the feeling of sweet summertime that image buyers are often interested in conveying.

If you have any further 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 week for the twelfth installment in the series!