Profiting From the Selfie Addiction!

One of the more entertaining parts of travelling is people watching. In particular, capturing exaggerated selfie expressions. Let’s face it, for better or worse, the world has gone selfie crazy…everywhere you look there they are (you’re probably one of them too!) snapping away at themselves, then instantly sharing with the world. Then re-checking for those precious likes and comments.

Florence Oct 30, 2017-61
Me me me me!

I don’t care much for selfies but I do care about making money with stock photos. So, the post-modern taking picture of someone taking a picture is something worthwhile to consider, plus it doesn’t really require that much effort.

Capture those doing Selfies while on holiday

I was recently in Tuscany and as well as capturing the sites, I was constantly on the lookout at capturing those tourists doing funny faces. Here’s a few examples which I’ll be submitting as editorials:

Although these aren’t literally selfies, Pisa is the CLASSIC social media sharing paradise. Since submitting a batch from Pisa, only one has sold, suggesting that there may be a market for such images.

Number of Shutterstock images for keywords (Editorial only): Selfie, Pisa – 16


Ah museums, more selfie paradise. In Florence, I visited the Galleria dell’Accademia where Michelangelo’s David is showing off his goods and Uffizi with its beautiful corridors and medieval religious art.

Florence Oct 31st-24
Florence Oct 31st-39
The Birth of Venus

At Street-level

Back at street-level, while waiting for friends at Ponte Vecchio, I captured four young travellers who just arrived in town snapping away on the embankment of the River Arno.

Florence Oct 30, 2017-31

Then, at a piazza, I was following a close-nit group of Asian tourists…waiting for the right moment to catch them doing their selfie-times.

Florence Oct 30, 2017-54

Back in Milan

My selfie hunting days don’t stop even when I’m back to my home town. This one was captured at the iconic Galleria Vittorio Emanuelle II in the heart of the city.

couple selfie

How to profit from selfie images (as well as stock images in general)

This may sound ultra simplistic but trust me, the advice is gold:

“See what’s popular on the first page and try to compete”- Anonymous

A stock veteran gave me this piece of advice recently which is a great reminder for me to keep checking and re-checking the most popular results for keywords. Then, I must ask myself if my images can compete with those top results and if so, fire away! If not, re-shoot so they’re better or move on.

Conclusion: Alex’s Top 5 Tips to Profiting from Selfie Stock Images

  1. All things being equal, a model-released image is worth more than an editorial. Of course, not easy/impossible in busy street shots, but keep in mind that with enough patience and resources you can set up premium commercial selfie shots;
  2. Look out for interesting subjects. People prone to make exaggerated expressions work best. Don’t worry if you miss out on the first few selfies, chances are they’ll try over and over and over again;
  3. Position subject on foreground to a important landmark in the background. Ideally make the background out of focus to draw attention to the subject(s);
  4. Use a zoom lens for spy / discreet action. At least 200mm would work well.
  5. Check first page results for popular search times, such as “Vatican, selfie” and see if you can complete. Then, keyword the images to the best of your abilities.
Vanity in the Vatican

Good luck and until next time!



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