Anything can sell

One of the mistakes we often make as stock photographers is to think that we know what the buyers want. Of course, we often do, and we see those sort of shots online each day, but a key message is to always be on the lookout for something unusual or different. If you can think of a use case for it, then take it to the best of your ability and get it online!

I was reminded of this today when I reviewed my sales (using Microstockr Pro) and saw this video had sold for $70 on Adobe Stock:

Your first thought might have been “WTF…” and I don’t blame you! It is one of a small series I did as my car went through a touchless car wash late last year. I thought the colored waxes and soaps made an interesting texture and I can see how someone seeking a view out of a car either in the rain (for a few seconds) or in a car wash could make use of it. The fact it was bought as a 4K video suggests some sort of TV or film use.

I also sold a couple of students at university videos (for $15 each) on Shutterstock. If you can’t see this on an iPad, here is the link to the Shutterstock page.

I would think this was as a result of the news reports of parents paying large sums of money to get into top universities, and, in fact, I just saw that it sold again on Shutterstock for $37.50. If I hadn’t gone to the trouble of making these videos, I would have missed the opportunity. Finally, in my series of mundane things, I took several still photos of a norwegian waffle maker. One of those sold for $250 on Alamy, which means my take is $100. It had already sold about 50 times, but for subscriptions, and this makes a big difference to the total take.

Norwegian heart shaped waffle maker on granite kitchen worktop
Norwegian heart shaped waffle maker on granite kitchen worktop

So, the motto is – always keep your eyes open for opportunities. You never know when you will just have what a designer is looking for!

Finally, that Dreamstime Blog competition I entered is dragging on to the end of April. My entry was all about photographing fireworks, so if you haven’t had a chance to vote for it (by clicking “Useful” in the top left when you are logged into the Dreamstime site), please do! Thanks!!

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6 Responses

  1. Vlad Savin says:

    Last summer, I walked with my wife and daughter in the woods on the banks of the river. I took a picture of the opposite bank of the river with the forest. This photo is absolutely nothing special. But today I was paid for her money. It is very pleasant to spend a nice day with your family and earn money.

    Sometimes I sell such photos that I think are not very good and interesting. Photos does not happen much. The buyer is always there. You just have to wait.

    • Steven Heap says:

      Good point, Vlad. I think the pictures still need to be well taken in most cases, but the subject might be just what the buyer wants

  2. MissAngee says:

    I’m from Norway, maybe I should take photos of my DOUBLE waffle maker, haha 😀

  3. Great tips, Steve.

    I’m always surprised that my most boring pics are some of my best sellers and some of my favs rarely sell! Go figure!

    Really like the composition of the students at university shot.

    Just liked your article on Dreamstime, good luck!


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