If your interested in selling stock photograph

Chuck Pike

Mu-43 Veteran
Apr 3, 2010
Charlotte, NC.
I don’t know how many of you have ever heard of Rohn Engh, but I have followed him for years, first in books and today online. He gives advice to people who are or want to shoot stock. His system works. He states that a marketable photograph has the following parts. (And no, I don’t work for him, I just subscribe to some of his publications)

1. Good, clean background.
2. Person/people in pictures
3. Symbol
4. Person/people involved with symbol.

Sounds simple, but now try it. It isn’t as easy as it sounds. Using this outline, I sold a group of photos to a magazine three years ago, for one of my biggest sales other than a wedding (this was a group of photos to illustrate an article). I just sold additional photographs from this shoot to a different magazine. Over the past several years, I have sold work to magazines, but mostly one or two photographs at a time. I think I am going to try harder to follow what I have given as the outline above, because the larger sale fit this very well. What also helped to make the magazine this second time was that my wife wrote an article to go with it.

When I shot high school sports for a weekly, they gave me only one rule. If there is a ball, make sure that is in the picture. Most of the photos showed someone, catching, hitting, passing or kicking a ball. See? Person, symbol (the ball) and the act of doing something with that ball.

Next thing the shot needs to be sharp. You are going to be doing P.P. on those shots in PhotoShop or some other program. View your image at 100%; if it isn’t sharp don’t send it. You want to only send your very best work. And keep trying. Sometimes it can be a long time between sales (rentals, your only letting them rent the photo, you still own it) and sometimes you make a sale to the same magazine almost every month. And sometimes where you have sold something every month, they change the photo editor to a art director and what they like changes. The magazine that I first sold these to wanted sharp photos but then the art director wanted not always sharp photos and seems to like blown highlights. The new magazine wants sharp photographs with great color, I think I am going to like sending them work to look at.


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