Stock Photos That Sell | My TOP 5 Shutterstock Bestsellers!
Hey there, fellow photographers! I’m sure you’ve looked up online how to monetize your photography and make a living off of it. But have you ever wondered exactly which stock photos sell the best? Well, if that’s what you’re wondering, today is your lucky day – I’m going to reveal my top 5 best-selling stock photos, and these will surprise you!
It may sound strange why I’m revealing this information. After all, once the secret is out, everyone will be flooding the market with their own copies of it. However, this is a risk I’m willing to take in order to share my knowledge and help out others who are just starting out.
So without further ado, here are my five best-selling photos:
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My 5 Best-Selling Stock Photos on Shutterstock
Over the years, I have sourced many images for use in various projects, and these 5 have consistently been my top performers on Shutterstock and other microstock sites. Each image has something special about it which makes it appealing to a wide range of customers.
Shutterstock #5 Seller – New York City seen from the roof of Empire State Building
Photoshopping skills are essential in today’s digital world. Knowing how to edit stock images can make all the difference when it comes to making money from them.
Take this old image from 2014, for example. The original editorial version never sold, but after I removed all logos and trademarks in Photoshop and uploaded it for commercial use, it started generating income. All it took was a few carefully applied tweaks – something as simple as removing any unnecessary text or logo that could get in the way of potential customers buying the image.
The result speaks for itself: since being uploaded on 27/01/2018, this image has generated a total of 115,75 US dollars – not bad for such a simple change! It really goes to show that with a bit of know-how and some trial and error, even small changes can have significant results. This is why investing time into improving your photoshopping skills can be incredibly rewarding.
Shutterstock #4 Seller – Aerial view of a green boreal forest
I was pretty surprised when my 4th best-selling photo was the simple aerial shot of the forest I took a few years back. It was one of my earliest attempts at aerial photography, and I threw it up on Shutterstock with little expectations. Little did I know that it would become such a popular image!
It seems that this photograph has proven to be very versatile for buyers, with industries such as forestry and conservation organizations making use of it as an advert or background image. Perhaps this versatility is the reason why it has been my most consistent seller since its upload date of 25/05/2017 and the money it has generated since, which totals 147,38 US dollars so far.
Despite creating more aesthetically pleasing images in terms of composition and quality since then, none have been quite as successful as this initial test shot. It’s always interesting to see what kind of pictures speak to customers and what type of photography can really make an impact in a marketplace like Shutterstock.
Shutterstock #3 Seller – Dramatic view of a city skyline at night
I’m absolutely delighted that one of my creative stock photos has become one of my most successful images to date! Even though it might seem like a strange concept at first, I’m sure the reason behind its success is as unique as the image itself.
This picture is a combination of 3 photographs – a stunning cityscape, fluffy white clouds, and a breathtaking milky way – all put together with Adobe Photoshop. It’s an aesthetic composite that could be used as wall art or even for book covers.
Since it was uploaded on the 14th of July 2018, this beautiful photo has earned 160,08 US dollars in royalties – just amazing! It goes to show that creativity can really pay off if you know how to market it correctly. I couldn’t be more thankful for this success story, and I hope it will inspire other photographers and digital artists alike.
Shutterstock #2 Seller – colorful houses of Signal Hill in St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada
I’m extremely proud to share that my second best-selling stock photo is of St. John’s, Newfoundland, one of Canada’s most popular tourist destinations. This photo has become a best-seller and it was first taken back in 2014, when I was on a work assignment in the city.
The city of St. John’s is known for its stunning views and unique culture, making it an attractive destination for travelers from all over the world. Although only about 3000 images are available that capture this beautiful landscape, my stock photography image has been able to stand out among the rest due to its excellent quality and composition.
Since uploading my photo on August 31st 2016, it has generated an impressive 228,80 US dollars in revenue! This success can be attributed to the high demand for photography of St. John’s combined with the relatively low supply of images available online. My photo has become a top search result when people look for imagery of Newfoundland and Labrador’s capital city, which continues to drive sales even now!
Shutterstock #1 Seller – A road leading to distance in a mountain valley with a milky way
My number one best-selling stock image, which was shot in Norway a couple of years ago and consists of a composite of two different images (the landscape and the Milky Way), has generated 634,48 US$ since it was uploaded on 27/01/2018.
When asking opinions on Stock Photography forums regarding the saleability of this type of image, many believe that it is too artistic and would be better suited to Print-On-Demand sites. However, it seems that its unique composition has been its saving grace, as there are lots of Milky Way images out there but not so many composites like this one.
It’s hard to say exactly why my image has done so well as a stock photograph; perhaps it’s because it is different, or simply because it is visually eye-catching and memorable. Whatever the reason may be, the fact remains that I have sold over 634 US dollars worth of this particular image since uploading it – not bad for something I thought might only do well on print-on-demand sites!
The success of this image shows that unique compositions that stand out from the crowd can still hold their own in the world of stock photography – exciting times indeed!
In conclusion, the key to sales from stock photography is creating content that stands out from the crowd.
People and lifestyle photos are always popular, but you can also make unique images by finding niches and subjects that are not oversaturated with content.
Photoshop composites can be a great way to turn a generic image into something unique, while aerial shots can provide interesting perspectives on familiar scenes.
Finally, optimizing your images for search engines by using relevant keywords and captions will make sure they are seen by potential buyers.
All in all, when creating stock photos with the intention of selling them on Shutterstock, be creative and think outside the box to put yourself at an advantage compared to other stock photographers.
Thanks for reading!