Stock Photography - The Best Sellers

These are all images that have generated large amounts in terms of fees. All were sold for advertising. As the picture library and stock photography business has changed dramatically over the past few years, sales like these are probably in the past. All of these date from the days when companies would pay huge sums of money for an exclusive image to use in their advertising and promotion campaigns.

Unlike the downloads top 20 several of these are among our favourite images of all time, proving that those "special" pictures sometimes get their reward.

This was an image taken at the Cirque de Lescun in the French Pyrenees. Pentax 645. 150mm lens. Fuji Velvia. Sold to a New York advertising agency. We never found out what the product was though we did find out it was used on the side of subway trains, buses and was a 48-sheet billboard poster. Also used as double - page magazine advertising spread. This image despite being an all-time favourite never sold until 13 years after it was taken. It has still only ever had one sale. It is however our highest-grossing image ever.

Total fees- £8250

Taken from the summit of Castle Crag in the Lake District. This was the only time the sun came out all day. Shot on Fuji Velvia (pushed 2 stops) with a Pentax 645 camera and 55mm lens. Used by a walking boot company for magazine advertising and point of sale promotion. This picture was on the box of every pair of the boots.

This was how it was used:-

Total Fees - £6500

Kelly Hall Tarn in the lake District. Originally shot on a Pentax 645 with a 35mm lens on Kodak Panther 100 Transparency film. It was then cropped down and put into a 35mm mount, because of a large amount of flaring on the image. On the section of the bank below the tree a black felt tip pen was used to remove the last remaining flare.

Used as an advert for Glen Morangie whiskey.

This was a double page magazine spread plus was on huge billboards all over the London Underground. Yes we are aware that it wasn't taken in Scotland, as I am sure were the company and designers.

Total fees - £4835

The most incredible haw frost I've ever seen. Shot in Bedfordshire, this was opposite the house we were staying in with friends over New Years. Incredibly cold. Shot on a Pentax 645, 55mm lens and Agfa 50 Transparency film.

Sold several times including two large sales to a Swiss pharmaceutical company. Never found out what it was used for.

Total sales - £3950

The European Commission Parliament building in Brussels. Taken when we were in Belgium shooting Christmas markets and general shots for a travel company.
Pentax 645 150mm lens on Fuji Velvia 50. The building wasn't even finished. Below the flagpoles were concrete mixers, diggers and all the rubbish of a construction site. Taken on Christmas Eve. The temperature was -6 selsius with a fierce wind, which you can see on the flags. The site was completely deserted, no security, not even a barrier. We had the the entire place to ourselves. Sold to the travel company (non-exclusive) and then many sales via a picture library. Biggest single sale was to VISA in the US. Still sells now, even though there are a lot more flags as many more countries have joined the EU. Note the Union Jack first in line, which is ironic for a country not renown for its enthusiasm towards Europe and the EU. Maybe thats why it sells!

Total sales - £3870

As I said the days of these kinds of sales have largely disappeared. During the time these were taken it was actually cheaper to buy a library photograph than to hire a photographer. These days photographers work cheaper so its now more "cost effective" to hire a photographer, if you want an exclusive "bespoke" image.

We should point out that these kind of amounts for pictures were the exception. All other images sold for a lot less. However even with the driving down of fees for pictures, with the huge amount of imagery available throughout the world, we are in the fortunate position of still increasing our income from this source year by year. Its just that we have to take and sell many more images to do that.

Images D & A