What type of photos sell best?

Answered by Douglas Hiatt

When it comes to selling photos, there are certain characteristics that tend to make them more appealing and marketable. Based on industry trends and personal experiences, here are five common attributes that the best-selling photos of people often share:

1. Single Photos Sell Better than Group Shots:
Surprisingly, single portraits tend to sell better than group shots. This may be because single photos can be more versatile and cater to a wider audience. They allow viewers to focus on one individual, creating a stronger connection and making it easier for potential buyers to envision using the image for various purposes.

2. Candid Photos Sell Better than Posed Shots:
Authenticity is key when it comes to selling photos of people. Candid shots capture genuine moments and emotions, which resonate with viewers on a deeper level. Posed shots, on the other hand, can sometimes come across as staged and less relatable. Candid photos have a natural and spontaneous feel that can spark curiosity and draw people in.

3. Wide Shots Sell Better than Closeups:
Wide-angle shots that capture the subject within their environment tend to be more popular than closeup portraits. These images provide context, telling a story and allowing viewers to imagine themselves in the scene. Wide shots can be more visually engaging and versatile, appealing to a broader range of buyers who may have different needs and preferences.

4. Looking Away is Better than Facing the Camera:
Photos where the subject is looking away from the camera often perform better in terms of sales. This is because they create a sense of intrigue and mystery, inviting viewers to wonder what the person is thinking or looking at. It adds an element of storytelling and allows the viewer to project their own thoughts and emotions onto the image.

5. Unidentified Subjects Sell Better:
Photos of people where the subject’s identity is not easily recognizable or identifiable tend to sell better. This allows for a wider range of potential uses, as the image can be used to represent a variety of concepts or situations without being tied to a specific individual. It also allows viewers to project their own narratives onto the image, making it more relatable and appealing.

Personal experiences in the photography industry may vary, and it’s important to keep in mind that trends can change over time. However, by considering these common attributes, photographers can increase their chances of capturing and selling images that have a broad appeal to potential buyers.