It took photographer Sarah Ehlen about five minutes to capture this cat photo that's earned her $60 so far

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Pay attention to these 5 tips to help bump up your stock photo salesIf you’re new to stock photography, you might be wondering what’s the secret to making sales on a regular basis.

I got started in stock a couple of years ago, and as I continue to build my portfolios, I’ve started noticing some patterns with what has sold well for me. 

Try these five tips to ramp up your stock photo sales:

1. Simple sells

You really don’t need to use expensive props or elaborate sets to create successful stock images. In fact, many of my best sellers are extremely simple.

For example, this straightforward shot of my cat playing in a cardboard box has brought in $60 in sales so far, and counting.

It took photographer Sarah Ehlen about five minutes to capture this cat photo that's earned her $60 so far

Not bad considering I just snapped a couple of quick photos while relaxing in my living room one day.

2. Get closer

One of the easiest ways to simplify is to get closer to your subject. In the shots below, I filled the frame with my subjects, creating simple compositions that have all been great sellers, with around $100 in sales to date.

Simple, crisp close-up photos like this can be good stock sellers

3. Track the trends

It can really pay off to notice trends in the advertising world since that will drive demand for certain types of images. I recommend taking some time to page through magazines and websites, making note of popular subjects and photographic styles. 

As an example, shots taken from overhead are hot right now. Every photo that I’ve taken from this perspective has done well in my stock photo portfolios. These three below are amongst my bestsellers, with well over 100 individual sales. They were all taken on my kitchen table during about an hour of shooting one afternoon.

These photos - shot from overhead - were taken over one hour in the photographer's kitchen

4. Include people

Photos that include people are sure to do well—especially if you can capture people engaged in real-life moments and authentic interactions. As a general rule, buyers want images that don’t feel hokey or staged.

Even if you are not a “people photographer,” try just including a hint of the human element, such as a hand or a foot. I did this in the shots below, and they’ve brought in $85 so far.

These photos - which include a human element - are all good stock sellers

5. Find unique subjects

If you can find unfilled niches or unique subjects that aren’t well represented in stock libraries, you’ll have less competition and likely more sales.

I was surprised when the photo below of a rusty train wheel immediately started selling on a regular basis. I think the reason for this is because there are relatively few similar images in stock libraries. So, if someone runs a search for “train wheel,” this shot is more likely to be noticed by potential buyers.

Going after unique photo subjects like "train wheel" can help you get more sales

And last but not least…

Don’t forget to thoroughly keyword your shots. Keywords are the main way buyers will search for and find your photos, so it’s crucial to take the extra minute to do this step. Make sure that all the important details in your shot are covered by your keywords.

The wonderful thing about stock photography is that you can make money photographing what you enjoy—and get started from right at home. No matter what type of photographer you are, I think you’ll find that if you apply these tips, you’ll start gaining momentum with your stock photo sales.

Happy photographing!

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