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Top Stock Photography Subjects

Updated on July 14, 2015
LuisEGonzalez profile image

I enjoy photography and have been doing so professionally and independently for over 30 years. Hope you enjoy my hubs!

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"Stock photography is the supply of photographs, which are often licensed for specific uses. It is used to fulfill the needs of creative assignments instead of hiring a photographer, often for a lower cost." Wikipedia

Today, stock images can be presented in searchable online databases. They can be purchased and delivered online.

Often, these photographs involve people, and are produced in studios using a wide variety of models posing as professionals, stereotypes, expressing common emotions and gesticulations, or involving pets.

Other common stock photography niches include images related to travel and tourism, as well as conceptual photography." Wikipedia

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While most any good photograph will sell there are several subjects that can be said comprise the staple of a stock photographer and are always sought after by many of the best stock photography houses.

All images must be cleanly executed, comprise good aesthetic subjects and should mostly be subjects that can be used for two or more advertising campaigns.

Knowing which are the 11 hottest stock photography subjects gives you a starting point from which to pursue this lucrative photography theme.

Among the hottest subject matter, in no particular order of demand, with perhaps the exception of the first one, are people at work; secretaries, receptionists, people in a meeting, people doing their work.

All the subjects should be posed as if the subjects are not aware of the photographer and are going about their daily routines.

Next is the "table top" subject area. This is a good subject matter when the photographer finds himself or herself unable to go into the field and has a decent studio set up; foods, fruits, office equipment, new technology, household items, gadgets and so on make good sellers and are always in demand, specially to clients who are in some way or another involved in making or selling these products.

Another great category are "candid" portrays, specially of celebrities or people enjoying themselves like on a vacation or family outing.

Landscapes are also great stock material specially if they feature breathtaking scenery. These images are great calendar subjects and are mostly featured in such although particularly good scenes can be used in motivational literature or religious based ones.

Travel is also ranked highly among the hottest stock subject matter. Again, breathtaking scenery, popular tourist destinations, or even out of the ordinary scenes are always in high demand. Try to stay away from tourist scenery that has been photographed thousands of times. Instead aim for unusual angles and offer new perspectives.

Nature ranks right with landscapes. Nature shots are highly sought after if they present exciting subject matter and are 100% cleanly executed and technically flawless. This subject is probably the most professionally photographed genre out there and competition is tough yet there is always a market for great images. It includes all species of flora and fauna.

Hot looking people; women and men alike, have remained among the hottest stock photography sellers since they began to be used for such purposes. Keep it clean and use really beautiful models and in some cases "well developed/toned", specially if the subjects are female.

Images meant for fine art galleries. Although the fine art gallery market is strong, such images do have a solid place in the stock photography market.

Use interesting perspectives, angles and try to cover subjects from perspectives that have not been "photographed to death". Sunsets, moonlighting skies, flowers are good subjects but the market is probably over saturated with such images. Aim for the abstract if you can, even if the image is of a much photographed subject.

Children, teens and babies at play. The demand for such images is strong since these images have several commercial applications like,greeting cards, motivational applications, and religious based ones as well.

Sports. Basically most any sports has a photographic stock application but the best images are those of the usual ones like baseball, basketball, and football.

The images can be used in two main ways; ones featuring a sporting activity like a baseball game in which the teams are not readily identifiable and those images that feature images of distinct teams. The later has a draw back in that these images get the most sales in the respective market where the team is a fan favorite.

Photographs of the Miami Heat are excellent sellers in the Miami area but lose much of their appeal outside of the region.

This can always change when they win a world championship and the same is true for any other sports team.

Cars, specifically new models or those that are classics, are rarities or remain a well recognized brand like the Mustang, Corvette and the Camaro.

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Whatever topic you chose, make sure to only take images that appear "new" due to the way you take the photographs.

Keep in mind that anything worth photographing has probably been photographed many times and your job is to look for a "new" spin.

If you want to be successful in stock photography, your goal is to present images in new ways but that at the same time still present a subject in an appealing manner.

Also important is to leave enough room on the sides and top to bottom for a client to be able to add their own text.

It is always good to include all technical aspects of the shot as well as some background information about it such as when it was taken, where, and in some cases what it is.

Would you be willing to try some stock photography?

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© 2014 Luis E Gonzalez


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    • LuisEGonzalez profile image

      Luis E Gonzalez 3 years ago from Miami, Florida

      Dan W Miller; You make me blush. I am really glad that you have enjoyed the article. Thank you

    • Dan W Miller profile image

      Dan W Miller 3 years ago from the beaches of Southern California now living in Phoenix since 2000

      Luis E, You've done it again! Expert advice from the King of HubPages! By the way folks, he's not just another one dimensional writer. The man has pathos he interprets through his eye for the photographic flair.

      I write for fun, I "shoot" for fun, I LIVE for fun. You might enjoy: