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 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. Since the answer changes week in and week out as trends, seasonality, and other factors continue to shift, we are answering the questions 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 #16 breaks down the essential elements which make your travel photos appealing to photo buyers. Scroll down to see what our Content Editor Alejandro Santiago has to say about creating images for buyers interested in travel content.

Elysium by Jakkree Thampitakkul on

Simply Sellable #16: Capturing A Local’s Point-of-View in Travel Photos

by Alejandro Santiago

In the travel industry, there is a shift towards content that presents an insider’s view of faraway places. This week, we are looking at Jakkree Thampitakkul‘s “Elysium” — a striking photo of two kids riding a buffalo. Jakkree’s images often portray the culture of Thailand through portraits and landscapes. With a variety of subjects, he gives us an inside look at the culture and people of Thailand that only a local ever could.

Jakkaree’s photos have a signature stamp to them. Anyone can recognize his work instantly by the lush green landscapes of Thailand, and the golden sunshine which often illuminates his subjects.

Everything about this photo feels real, from the joyful expressions on the children’s faces to the soft afternoon glow lighting the scene. The connection felt between the children and the photographer is evident.

The buffalo and the boys are situated off-center to create a pyramid shape — the perfect focal point.

The shallow depth of field separates the children from the forest, and this also provides perfect copy space.

The post-production editing is minimal, emphasizing the rich warm tones of the countryside.

We may not know what it’s really like to ride a buffalo, but the feeling this photo evokes is undeniable. Along with the subject of travel, this photo can be used to express a wide range of themes, such as youth, innocence, connecting with nature, joy, and even wildlife.

Tips for Marketplace contributors:
Creating photos which convey authentic emotions is to earn the subject’s trust. This is hard to achieve when you’re photographing a stranger or a hired model. Gaining access to a community can be a challenge for a photographer. One tip to capturing images that feel real? Shoot people and locations that you know and love. If you have access to a community or an area that is worthy of a photo, use that to your advantage. Don’t be afraid to venture out, and connect with your own community. As a local, you know what makes your town, city, neighborhood, and overall culture unique. And that’s what we — and photo buyers — want to see!

If you have any further questions for Alejandro about the photo above, feel free to drop them in the comments below. Don’t forget to check back in next week for the next installment in the series!