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Analysis of my best-selling stock photo so far – House key in a lock

I’d love to start this blog by sharing a few  thoughts about my best-selling micro-stock image so far – key in a lock with house symbol on it. I’m very proud that for less than year and a half  it alone generated about 1000 downloads in total acrooss several micro-stock sites! This photo is part of my still very small portfolio of about 30 images (depending in which agency we measure its size).  Here it is:

Key lock and house icon image

Key in a lock

I’d like to share what I think is the reason for its success. Or more precisely – what’s the mix of reasons that makes it sell well. Here are few of my suggestions:

  • House and home related topics are quite hot when we talk about stock photography. There is a lot of demand about house imagery that can be used in almost every type of advertising material that a real-estate agency would ever need. (But also there are lots of images in this topic already available in the stock sites).
  • The color tones of the image give eye-pleasure to the viewer and easily provoke the feeling of comfort, family atmosphere, and warmth. It’s amazing how a small change in the color tones can make a huge difference! I have almost identical shot to the one above but its sales are ten times less, due to different color tones.
  • Clearly conveying the message and the story behind it – it’s obvious in a glance that this image is about getting a new comfortable home. As stated above – the colors tell the “comfort” part and the house symbol tells the “home” part very directly.
  • In a thumbnail view, even in the ~ 160 x 120 version, it’s visible enough what the image is about and its particular details (or actually the lack of too many details which is almost always the right choice when you think “stock”).
  • Appropriate keywording is vital if you want to make your images more findable, but you need to keep it relevant as well. In this case I’ve used 35 keywords which is a little bit above the the good balance between incompleteness and spamming. Of course most oftenly the searches that lead to sales are via keywords and phrases such as “house”, “home”, “key”, “house key”.
  • The best-match algorithms in the agencies’ sites? May be or may be not… Nobody really knows actually (even the agency guys, in case they’ve made the algorithms too complex ;-)). Why I somehow doubt the search logic matters that much is because of the fact that this image is my best-seller in every agency where I upload (currently six) and I bet none of them share the same algorithm 🙂

OK, that’s it for now! I’d love to hear what do you think and share your observations why some stock shots sell well and other don’t…