Long gone are the days of stock photography that feels outdated, posed, and cliché.

Today, content creators are diversifying their commercial portfolio with content types that lean into relatable and real moments. This shift is directly inspired by the rising wants and demands of the consumer market.

At 500px, we strive to provide our Contributors with up-to-date insights on trending concepts and guides to top-selling content. Shooting content that speaks to the consumer market is a great way to build a salable portfolio. But as commercial photographers know—the concept is only half of the work. Executing a shoot is where the creative magic happens. At 500px, we constantly remind Licensing Contributors to consider finding their models and locations close to home. This saves time and money but is also a great way to personalize your content, share your passions, and consider how your voice can be represented within commercial advertising.

If you have never experimented with this before, and are curious how and where to begin, we encourage you to read on and see how these four 500px Licensing Contributors turned their lens on their own pets to create authentic and genuine content!

Sam Brockway is a 500px Ambassador and 500px Licensing Contributor. He has been using his adorable golden retrievers in his wanderlust aesthetic content for years.

Meet Baker and Poppy!

Friendly, adventurous, and downright cute is what comes to mind when we see his content featuring his pup duo.

Incorporating his dogs into his shoots, allows the viewer to relate more easily to the photo and develop an emotional attachment. The connection to the photo almost becomes second to the stunning landscapes and locations in the background. There is a whole psychology around using animals in advertising—research has proven that using animals creates a positive emotional response in consumers. According to Harvard Professor Gerald Zaltman, “95% of purchasing decisions are subconscious.

The photo above is an excellent example of how using an animal can break down barriers within your work. The photo illustrates concepts of relaxation, camping, and adds a smidge of humor as the pup adopts a human action. By featuring a dog and not a human, the photo gives us anthropomorphism—“an instinct that we have to give animals, as well as inanimate objects, human-like characteristics.” This technique, when used in advertising, is highly effective and captivates audiences.

Don’t be timid when it comes to adding people into your scenes. The examples above show the models either looking away from the camera, or their face is completely anonymous. This is another trick that Contributors may want to consider, as it also helps consumers visualize themselves as the anonymous person and place themselves within the scene.

All of these photos could have been captured with hired models and been staged down to the last detail, but they are simply representations of Sam’s life. He travels around west America with his partner as a freelance photographer, shooting outdoor and travel content. We love the authenticity that we constantly see from Sam!

Check out this guide on how to improve your landscape and wanderlust content! How to take landscape photos that stand out to content buyers

Iza Lyson is a well-known dog photographer from Poland who is very skilled in this genre. Iza is an excellent example of a Contributor who combines her passions in her Licensing content. Originally, Iza strictly shot dog photography in her stunning signature style, but after engaging with 500px Licensing Quests and Briefs, Iza discovered her talent for lifestyle content. Naturally dogs, especially Opi, her fur baby, became the star of her shoots.

Iza’s portfolio is filled with content featuring everyday moments incorporating Opi and his friends. From typical dog-centered themes, like bath time and walks, to more creative concepts such as baking doggie Christmas cookies and yoga, Iza has stunned the 500px team with her creativity and genuine content!

Cooking is a great concept for all Licensing Contributors to explore. Whether you are new to Licensing, or a seasoned pro, consider a shoot that narrates the process of preparing a meal and enjoying it with family and friends, or packing it for lunch, etc.

Also, consider people who you know that have different interests and passions from yourself. Shadow them, and capture the details of their story. We love Iza’s doggie yoga shoot seen below.

Another great way to make saleable content is to consider what is trending in the consumer market. Iza does a great job of incorporating her daily life into her photos, with inspiration from trends that consumers want to see. Look at how she captures themes of sustainability and technology all while using her favorite muse.

Check out these guides on how to incorporate sustainability and technology into your Licensing content:

How to incorporate sustainability in your commercial portfolio
How to shoot technology for Licensing

Olha Doobsh is a photographer based in Spain. Her content is exceptionally diverse, and she is constantly expanding her portfolio. Her portfolio stands out as one that is very timely and relevant—an excellent resource for beginner contributors to look at.

Olha shoots her rat Pepa. Pepa pops up now and again in Olha’s shoots and we LOVE it!
Her content featuring Pepa typically shows “a day in the life of a rat” and that is a perfectly good concept to capture for Licensing.

Olha captures candid shots of herself, and her family, interacting with Pepa in realistic and genuine ways.

See more ways to incorporate your furry friends in this guide: Licensing photos of animals

Check out these Licensing Contributors from our 500px Licensing Discord who took stunning shots of their pets for Licensing.

Niko Angelopoulos shot this photo of his sweet Lina (below).

Say hello to Django and Juancarlo from Pablo Reinsch (below).

Jaks is Trevor Tinker’s adorable Chihuahua-Terrier mix (below).

Join our 500px Licensing Discord here.