Stock Success Could Depend on Your Perspective


By Elizabeth Coughlan

I love the Shutterstock app on my phone, especially when my phone pings to notify me of a sale. Recently it said the following, “People love this image! Sold for the 50th time.” It was of the Cleveland Clinic in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

I was a little mystified as to why it had sold so often, but then remembered I had taken it from the water, where not too many photographers have the chance to go. It just happened that a friend of mine has a boat, and we have enjoyed many weekends sailing around the coast, and up and down the canals of Abu Dhabi, with me snapping away at every opportunity. That photograph is a winner because I had taken it from a different perspective.

Another successful image is this one:

Every September, at the start of the new school year, my yellow school bus image has a spike in sales. I took it in Colorado, after a Great Escape Publishing workshop. We were driving back to Denver from after the workshop in Santa Fe when I noticed the bus. “Stop!” I cried, and managed to hop out of the car in time to take several shots of the bus disappearing down this country road.

Changing your viewpoint or capturing a unique perspective in your images gives you an extra advantage when it comes to selling them for stock. It helps them to stand out from all the others.

A good practice is to walk around and view your subject from different angles, and think, “How can I make my images interesting? What will draw the eye of a potential buyer?”

When I was visiting Sandringham, England, the Queen’s Christmas residence, I walked around looking for the best shots to take. I noticed that the grass had been recently mown, and I managed to use the lines in the grass to draw the eye towards the stately home.

This image continues to sell well all over the world, but especially in newspapers and magazines in England, whenever Sandringham is mentioned.

Another different perspective can be a change in the angle of the shot. It is easy to walk around with your camera at eye level. It is a natural instinct, especially when starting out on your photographic journey. However, getting low down or up high can really change how your subject is viewed.

When I visited Chimayo, New Mexico, during a Great Escape Publishing workshop, at first, I couldn’t figure out how to get a good shot of the Santuario de Chimayo. There was a wall in the way, and I couldn’t see the chapel properly. Just by getting down low, and taking a shot through the doorway, I managed to get this shot below.

Changing my viewpoint nailed me another stock photo winner.

So, experiment with perspective. Don’t just take a shot and move on. Move your feet. Get low. Get up high. Look for interesting angles, leading lines, and opportunities to frame your subject. Don’t be afraid to experiment. You just might surprise yourself with what you achieve. I did.

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