Three Keys to More Saleable People Photos

Group Of Friends Enjoying Drink At Outdoor Rooftop Bar

Last issue, I told you I’d leak out some stock photo tips from the Ultimate Money-Making Photo Workshop.

The event just ended, so I finally have a chance to sit down and send you some things I learned. Read on for three important keys to making your people photos more saleable as stock, from professional photographer Shelly Perry.

I’m sure you already know that people photos sell. In fact, Shelly told us, of her 50 top-selling photos, over 75% include people as the main subject.

Here are three keys Shelly gave us that will make your people photos even MORE saleable as stock:

  1. Genuine expressions. If a photographer says “Say cheese!” and then snaps a shot as their model smiles stiffly, anyone can see that it’s not a genuine expression. That makes the photo less appealing to buyers.

    An easy way around that is to start out with models you know — friends and family around you. It’s easier to get genuine expressions out of them because you already know them. They’re more comfortable with you than a stranger would be, and vice-versa. Take some test shots to start, and let them loosen up.

    Then just let them be who they are — and be ready with your camera for genuine expressions.

  2. Real situations. Find friends and family who play sports or have hobbies, then photograph them playing that sport or doing that hobby.

    For example, Shelly showed us her stock photo of a woman playing the cello. Since the woman in the photo is genuinely a cello player, instead of a model posing as one, musicians and other interested photo buyers are more likely to buy the shot.

    While not all photo buyers will know the difference, no real musician is going to buy a photo of a model who’s just faking it. 

  3. Real relationships. While people sell more than any other stock photo subject, there are a lot of photos out there of one person, alone.

    You can cut your competition in half if you take photos of two people in a relationship. It looks even better if that relationship is real. Whether couples, siblings, parents, and children, or other relationships, when the models are truly in that relationship, the photo will look more real and be more convincing. 

Over the last three-and-a-half years, I’ve been to about 25 Great Escape Publishing workshops, and I’ve picked up LOTS of great tips from our pros along the way. At last weekend’s workshop, I got to share my favorites — the ones that have helped me make more stock photo sales.

This Friday, I’ll share them with you, too. In the meantime, have a great week!

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