The Ultimate Photoshop Resource

5 tips to making your photos appeal to designers

Here is an interesting thought. How many photos have you shot that are just sitting on a drive somewhere and doing nothing? Maybe you have shared them on Instagram (My Instagram here) or on Facebook. You earned a few likes, maybe lots of them. So now what? Are you going to sell your images, or is that it? Have we reached a time where photos are disposable and have a shelf life?

Some people sell their prints online. Maybe you print an ship or work through a print house. This is great for some people, it involves a lot of work and you need a very solid following to sell enough to make it worth your while. What about the rest of us?

Have you ever considered submitting best images to Stock? There are a number of benefits to this. First of all, you are taking your photos out of cold storage and getting them into circulation. You have the possibility to get then in front of a large audience and start to build your reputation. There is the bonus that some may be used of some large campaigns and garner you some serious bragging rights. There is also that other benefit, and that’s cash. In full disclosure, most people make a little pocket money from their images, so the other benefits are perhaps the most compelling. However, I do know of people that are making a full-time living and some quite a healthy living (read 6 figures each year) if they are serious about it. Like anything, if you are serious and really apply yourself, you will rise to the top. Treat something like a hobby and it will pay like a hobby, which is also fine for many people.

As many of you know, I started out as a designer, I still design commercially, but I’m perhaps better known these days as a photographer/videographer. Working professionally for years in the design and photography industry have given me a little insight into what photos designers and art directors choose to use and which photos don’t get used. Some of the reasons may be obvious, but some aren’t so obvious if you haven’t worked in the design industry. I created this video to highlight the biggest reasons that some photos will be used more often than others (Its a tutorial, not an ad). If you are selling (or trying to sell) stock photos, this will be a valuable resource for you. Please feel free to pass it on to your friends and coworkers.

This video will help you, no matter what Stock agency you are using, My suggestion is to work with Adobe Stock. They are very large, easy to join and users can access your images and videos directly from within many of the Adobe Creative Cloud applications like Photoshop and Premiere Pro. Adobe is also non-exclusive, so you can submit on other agencies too if you choose. Here are some handy links to try out Adobe stock and how to sign up as a contributor.

Become an Adobe Stock Contributor: 
10 free images from Adobe Stock 

I hope you found this tutorial useful, let me know your thoughts in the comments.

Don’t forget to join our mailing list for free goodies and also be informed of free tutorials that I release each week. 


Great to see you here at the CAFE and I look forward to “seeing” you again on my next tutorial.

Don’t forget to browse my hundreds of free Photoshop tutorials, you might be surprised by the quality and amount of our free content



PS Don’t forget to follow us on Social Media for more tips.. (I've been posting some fun Instagram and Facebook Stories lately)
You can get my free Layer Blending modes ebook along with dozens of exclusive Photoshop Goodies here photoshop goodies for free

6 responses to “5 tips to making your photos appeal to designers”

  1. I have tried contributing to quite a few stock sites. I found that the biggest problem is the supposed need for releases or intellectual property rights based on US litigation practice. For example, I submitted a shot of a collection of old tug boats floating in a public harbour. Everyone who has seen the shot loved it. It was rejected on the grounds of intellectual property rights. I submitted some shots of a castle that was old several hundred years before America was discovered. Same story. I have given up.

  2. Hello Tony, these days it is a major requirement to have all of the proper paperwork in place, people forget that even though you photographed a building or boats in a ”public” setting you are still required to have a property or model release of that thing or person. I recently obtained a property release from a major museum in South Australia (my home) to photograph & sell commercialy images of their collection of old tractors etc, i pay a small fee up front every year & they also get a kick back from every sale, both of which i set & they were more than happy to agree, honesty in your dealings will always go a long way, i was told this by the committee, they said you are the first to ask us, not just shoot & take. I was also given permission from an international tractor company to use their name “Massey Ferguson “ on my retro styled posters of old tractors, again honesty in your intentions. Intellectual property rights is paramount in my work as a photographer/designer, not just to protect my own work but that of the people & their property that i photograph. Check out my web site to see the museum shots click “Booleroo Steam & Traction” or follow the link to my Redbubble store to see poster designs of same.

  3. G’day Colin, first of all thank you for the great tutorials i have improved my photoshop work greatly over the past couple of years, between you & my mentor it has been fun learning all i need to know in regards to where i was taking my future work and most importantly , value adding to my skills & business capabilities so thanks mate! Visit my web site for poster designs. I have just started shooting wine bottles & products for my mentors design business and they have set guidlines from the client outlining perspective, orientation etc as they also have to meet guidlines from the liquor store brochure or magazine owners they intend to advertise in, which is where the skill of interpreting the clients ideas comes in. I have never submitted to stock libraries as getting what an image is really worth & being paid on time is not their strong points. A friend has images with Alamy & he has seen his images published in BBC Wildlife Magazine, New York Post months before he was informed and than paid a pittance as stock libraries have their “preferred customers” such as BBC, National Geographic, News Limited who all buy at bulk pricing fees which sadly means very small return for the photographer. To date i have published 1580 images across 15 books of which two i am the author in text & photography.

  4. Thanks for the great info. I have sold some photos on stock sites but very limited. I should upload more but that is my responsibility. I am going to go through my library and look for photos utilizing your tips. Will let you know how it works out. Really enjoy all your videos, thanks for sharing.

  5. I found good information in this tutorial. Thank you so much. I have been thinking about selling my photography but never fallowed through. Would it be best to have pictures in RAW or is jpg. expectable ?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Access The Photoshop Vault

Unlock dozens of valuable Photoshop resources for FREE

The Ultimate

Photoshop Resource