I know that stock photography is a very challenging market right now but it seems that certain subjects and themes do well. How would one know what sorts of stock photos are in demand versus what subjects are overshot and likely not to pay well?

(please, no doom-and-gloom-of-stock rants...)


The microstock sites often provide charts of the most popular images or tags. Some examples:

There's also highlighted images from agencies:

Some sites even explicitly say what they are looking for:

The only issue with popular lists is that it shows what's popular. It might be more profitable to find a niche that isn't well represented - e.g. your local area, or somewhere with a good view that only you have access to, or your profession.

Original or very good quality seasonal images can be more popular than you might think, as long as you upload them a few months before the season - e.g. Christmas related images in October.


The above answer is great, you will find that stock sites say what they need.

Best types of shots are ones with faces, getting those shots with a model release. Sports are another type of photograph in demand.

One factor that makes a big difference is your angle, and composition. Think stock when you are shooting. Think about leaving space in the image for text etc.

Don't waste your time with things like flowers, pets, gardens, and eye level photography


Here is an article which I wrote for Hubpages that gives a full answer to your question: What Images are in Demand by Stock Agencies?

Preferences of every stock agency are different due to the aprroach to customer market and destribution. There are also other factors involved in alteration of interest, like seasonal changes and state of events in the world. However there are a number of concepts and ways of image presentations that are in demand almost everywhere.

To be successful in stock you need to create images with clear concept which will communicate a message to the viewer. Stock photos are meant to promote business, therefore it should be clear what every photo represents.

Currently highly requested images at stock agencies are on subjects of:

• Active people: biking, hiking, doing sports, exercising.

• Business and finances: photos of business people, money, banking, e-commerce.

• Emotions: depression, worry, stress, disappointment, loneliness, pain, content, happiness, joy.

• Food: well executed with bright colours photos of prepared food as well as food ingredients.

• Health and medicine: anything related to medicine and health, objects and photos of medical staff.

• Relationship: photos of happy as well as sad couples, photos showing different generations of people, parents and children, interaction between people.

• Technology: computers, e-books, tabs.

• Travel: images of hard to reach places.

• Workers: images of people working showing a profession.

  • Hi @Dina and welcome to the site! We generally expect answers to do more than just link a website and there's also an expectation that you disclose self promotion. Could you summarize the article and point out that its yours? (For this and the other answer you gave the same response to.)
    – rfusca
    Feb 23 '12 at 15:32

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