stock photography

A tale of a popular stock photo...

Stock photography is a touchy subject for commercial photographers these days. The stock business underwent a huge change with the introduction of digital photography. Now that everyone including their Grandmas can shoot and upload stock images, the competition is enormous. A lot of photographers say you can’t make a living selling stock images anymore and I say foowee!(or is it foowy?, fu wee? you get what I’m saying!)

I’ve been in the stock business for over 12 years and in that time I’ve built a portfolio of more than 2,500 images. It’s a fickle business, you shoot something that you think will sell like gang busters and then it never does. Some images just sell better than others, no rhyme or reason. This is a little story about an image of mine that has sort of gone “viral” in the stock photography world.

Earlier this year, I shot a series of images that feature a collection of musical instruments. Basically, I threw a bunch of instruments on the floor of my studio, set up a couple of lights…badda bing badda boom…I made this shot…


Fast forward to now and this image has sold more than 1,200 times. I don’t know why this image is so popular, but I sell it on average 10 times a day. It is by far the most popular stock image I’ve ever shot and it took me maybe thirty minutes to make. It blows me away to see how this image has been used. It’s been used by a university in Bogota, the Viva Citizenship Institute of Brazil, and even on the Quito Ecuador travel site. I think it’s pretty cool and it really motivates me to keep making stock images. (below are just a few samples showing how this image has been used)