Creative Images: The darker sides of life

Are you wondering how you can stand out as a microstock photographer? I might have a tip for you:

Take pictures of “the darker sides of life”.

For each “domestic violence” image we have we have 2100 images of “beautiful woman”.
For each image illustrating “eating disorder” we have 630 images of “business man”.

Sorrow. Photos: Iko, bjones27 and Schvoo.

Show us drug abuse, a man with a needle in his arm, a male or female prostitute, an upper-class alcoholic or domestic violence. We want images of successful people with problems and less successful people with problems. The bum in the park or the divorcee with too many wine bottles in the trash.

Show us the parents mourning their child – on a beautiful summer day and on a dark grey evening, parents fighting about custody, the scared child or broken homes, the girl being bullied on her way home from school or the father being bullied at the office. Show us the boy with an eating disorder, the female alcoholic, the abusive mother or the frightened man.

Try to take both the classic and the more subtle shots.


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Editorial images – what sells

The basics
The key to increase sales of editorial images is to understand the different categories and uses of such images. An editorial photo is a photo accompanying an editorial article. They can’t be used for commercial purposes (though you can argue that a newspaper uses it commercially to sell more papers). Since they can’t be used commercially, editorial photos can depict logos, copyrighted material and people/property without a model/property release. The publication is required to use the image in a fitting context.

A good starting-point is to divide editorial photos into three main categories:

A. News
B. People and places
C. Editorial stock

News photography is pretty self-explanatory. This is newsworthy events. These images are extremely time-sensitive – upload them as fast as possible to secure sales. Think about what kind of events that are newsworthy and interesting for publications to write about.

People and Places
This category is basically famous people and famous places. It includes photos of people at events that are or have been newsworthy. A good tip is to try to capture interesting facial expressions at rather boring events. A good shot of a politician expressing a feeling at a convention can be used many times over by a wide range of publications. When photographing places, try to capture famous buildings, streets and landmarks, and – if possible – try to do it with a creative twist. Just don’t overdo it ;)

Barack Obama
A good example of a photo of Barack Obama which
has potential for sales over a prolonged period.
Dersankt / YAY

John McCain
Photo: JrnGeeraert / YAY
John Mccain with a nice twist and a clear message.

Editorial Stock
Editorial stock is, quite probably, the most ill-defined and undervalued form of editorial photography. These are images the news agencies have a rather limited selection of and the potential for sale is large. They are not nearly as time-sensitive as news-images. Editorial stock includes several sub-categories: Images of logos and brands in different settings and images of people using different (branded) products. Examples could include: Photos of large outdoor signs of multinational companies, photos of people shopping at well-known stores, (overweight) people drinking soda from a specific brand etc.

Photo: kjellesvig / YAY
Typical editorial-stock which exemplifies issues with Google
and privacy issues

What to remember
Think about the following :

A. What kind of images do newspapers/magazines/websites print?
B. What news are recurring? What will be in the news the next months?
C. What people (celebrities or semi-celebrities) might someone need a photo of?

Description and keywords
The description should be more specified on editorial images than on creative stock. The major news agencies write a quite detailed description on every image they distribute. It is, in fact, so detailed that the journalists can get most of the information they need for an article from the metadata in the image. Always include where the photo was taken, the name of the event, names of all people depicted and other relevant information. Try to be as exact as possible. An editorial image with a missing or bad description is basically worthless, since the usage is based on context and if you don’t know the context you can’t use it.


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YAY! We now have a referral program!

Today we introduce our referral program!


You’ll get paid €0.1 for every photo your referred photographer sells, including content sold on subscriptions, and we’ll keep paying you for at least the next 5 years.


YAY have received a large amount of feedback on e-mail and in our forum. People are telling us how satisfied they are with our upload process, the payment in euros, the possibility to sell editorial images and the commission! Many great reasons for you to refer YAY Micro to your friends and acquaintances. ;)

You can find our referral program along with banners here. If you have any questions, e-mail us or write a post in our forum.


Have a great weekend!



Linda :)

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