Photo: Distant Wonderland by Max Rive

Max Rive‘s gorgeous landscapes instantly inspire daydreams—and they’re also top-selling photos on the 500px Marketplace! The 500px Marketplace gives photographers all over the world an opportunity to make money from their photography.

Max Rive is about to hit $15,000 in revenue from his Marketplace sales. We celebrated this milestone by asking Rive a few questions about his photography and how he creates his incredible images.

Last Days of Autumn by Max Rive on

How did you get started in commercial photography?

It was something I didn’t plan. It happened out of nowhere; I never thought about it until I sold my first photo to 500px.

The Cold Harbor by Max Rive on

A better question might be, when did you first realize your work was commercially relevant and that buyers were interested in what you were creating?

After I started getting a lot of people interested in my photos and asking for prices/licensing. I also had a lot of publications in the past in magazines, even when I was still shooting with a compact camera.

The Fallen and the Living by Max Rive on

Are you ever surprised by the images from your collection that buyers license?

No, because they are often the same kind of photos, which are photos that tell a story. My inclusion of a person in some of my photos definitely helps and that is something I also see with my top-selling photos.

The Green Octopus by Max Rive on

How often do you analyze the images from your collection that are licensed—top sellers, etc.?

It’s not my objective to create commercially viable photos; my intention is to take the photos I feel are right. I don’t analyze what is better for the market. The photos of mine that became so popular on both the internet and marketplace were photos that came from myself with inspiration from photographers who shared my passion for mountains. When you manage to stay yourself in art, you will be unique, which is most important in this crowded market.

To Heaven or Hell by Max Rive on

What equipment, lighting and software do you use to capture this aesthetic?

I still use my first DSLR, which is the Nikon D800e, 14-24 f2.8 and 28-300mm Lens, with a triopo gx-1127 tripod. I currently also use a drone, which turned out to be a perfect tool in order to get to new viewpoints with a camera. I already used Google Earth to find my high mountain viewpoints and finding locations for a drone is now really easy for me because of my Google Earth workflow. Soft light, and for software, Photoshop and camera RAW.

First Contact by Max Rive on

Where do you find your creative inspiration?

Everywhere on the internet. Websites like 500px,, and Instagram are my main sources of inspiration. It is thanks to the internet that new techniques, ideas, and even locations can be shared among photographers. It makes it more easy to master new techniques, but it also makes it harder to stand out from the crowd. I try to be inspired by creativity but want to use it with my own style and ideas.

High Tide by Max Rive on

What’s your best-selling image and what was your process in creating this work?

The name of the photo is Þórsmörk. It happened hiking in Iceland. I had just bought my first DSLR and I took a self-portrait; to that moment I had no idea it was a good photo. I like to include a person in a mountain landscape because it gives a sense of scale, it adds to the feeling of being there, and it gives some kind of story of adventure in the mountains. In my photo Thorsmork, there were no objects like trees, flowers, or any other objects that give the viewer a sense of scale. This in combination with the arguments I just mentioned was a good reason for me to take a self-portrait.

Þórsmörk - Iceland by Max Rive on

Want to license one of Max Rive’s photos? Discover his Marketplace on 500px and check out more of his images below:

The Red Barrier by Max Rive on

Backup by Max Rive on

Lightshow by Max Rive on

Discovery of Freedom by Max Rive on

Icelandic Matterhorn by Max Rive on

Distant Wonderland by Max Rive on

The Green Harbor by Max Rive on

The Green Fjord by Max Rive on

Somewhere Only We Know by Max Rive on

Blinded by Max Rive on

Want to make your images available for licensing by buyers all over the world? Learn more about how you can add your photos to the Marketplace.