One of the questions we always appreciate answering for our community is what type of photos interest buyers most for licensing purposes. Our photographers love to take advantage of the 500px Marketplace in an effort to monetize their work, but would prefer not to spend their time submitting photos that may not be of interest to our network of worldwide buyers. Simply Sellable is our effort to answer questions each week around what type of photos buyers want to license, what trends we see happening across the licensing industry, and what visual thought leaders anticipate being successful in the Marketplace. Each week, one member of our Content Team will provide advice, tips, tricks or even example photos in an effort to help and guide you, our community of amazing photographers, in your effort to capture that perfectly licensable image.

On the 500px Marketplace, our goal is to offer images that a diverse audience can relate to, while capturing content that brands are able to use in their advertising campaigns, products, and digital media.

In order to help you capture the best photos possible while traveling, here are some of our top tips and tricks to help make your work stand out in the crowd.


  • Focus on moments of warmth while showing the human element of your travels.
  • Capture natural light. For example, the golden hour right before sunset is always a fantastic time to shoot.
  • Focus on the small details and personal moments that provide insight into the city, countryside, or culture that you are exploring.
  • Avoid posed moments. When photographing people, they should appear natural and relaxed, unless the photo is intended to be a portrait.
  • Embrace the diversity of our world. As a photographer, it is also always a good practice to capture a wide range of ages, ethnicities, and groups in your photos.
  • Highlight contemporary fashion and trends, especially if in a larger city.
  • Think carefully about the composition and angle of each shot. Use geometry, symmetry, and form to enhance your photos.
  • Consider shooting both a horizontal and vertical photo of the same scene and think carefully about copy space so designers have room to work or crop the photo if needed.
  • Ask for a model release or property release for any recognizable and identifiable people or locations. Buyers are always interested in being able to license a photo that has been secured for commercial use.


  • Don’t make your photo solely about a landmark or a tourist view of the location. The goal is to explore the city and photograph almost like a local.
  • When post-processing, keep a close eye on your work. Buyers tend to prefer natural photos and steer away from oversaturated colors or unrealistic filters.
  • In most cases, avoid using a flash, which can make travel photography appear unnatural and unrealistic.
  • Don’t photograph logos, trademarks, or other brand identifiers. If you do capture these in a photo, be sure to remove them during post-production.
  • Here are three photos that demonstrate these tips in action:

    1. The Human Element

    the wishing well by Alberto Suárez on

    Bring a landmark or location to life by adding a human element. Without the woman in the frame, this photo would be a simple view of the fountain and surrounding street scene. Her presence elevates the photo and gives the location a much needed human touch. Although the woman is in the center of the frame, she is looking away from the camera which draws the viewer’s attention to the people in the courtyard. The warm sunset tones give the photo a romantic and nostalgic feeling, making the viewer think of their own past travels or adventures to come.

    2. Composition and Symmetry

    Vacation by Arina Borevich on

    It is important to use interesting angles and composition that make the viewer feel like part of a scene. In Vacation, the photographer captures her own feet in the lower frame of the photo in a sweeping downward angle. The rich details of the wicker umbrellas, brightly colored beach towels, and sun are enhanced from this perspective. The post-processing contributes to the warm, orange hue captured within this scene but in a way that is simply done and only heightens the attractiveness to a buyer.

    3. Real Moments in the City

    Man frying fish at a local market by Imani Kisare on

    Imani Kisare’s photo avoids any of the typical monuments or tourist spots that are often captured in a travel photo. Instead, we see a moment of daily life at one of Tanzania’s busiest seafood markets. It is full of rich detail that is very specific to the location and gives the viewer the impression of actually participating in the scene. The angle and smoke coming off of the freshly made food contribute to this realistic moment in time and show a unique view of Tanzania and its cultural food scene.

    We hope that these tips and tricks help you as you plan your travel photo adventures for Use these tips to give your photographs a fresh perspective. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to submit your travel photos to one of our photo quests. Happy travels!