Editorial to Commercial – 4 Examples

In this blog post I’ll quickly show you how I quite easily turned some editorial images into commercial, automatically increasing their value by at least 20%. I’ve written about this quite extensively, so here’s a refresher, as well as here. Otherwise, a long chat I had with Gui from Creative Income:

So I won’t go into any more detail about the differences between each of the licenses.

editorial to commercial
This image above took me 1 hour to post-process but has only ever sold for subs, making it a failure in my eyes from a business point of view

Digging through archives

I’ve recently turned my attention to some of my backlog travel images that I rushed through to upload first time round. My rule of thumb is if it takes longer than 5 mins, I won’t bother to post-process with uploading as commercial in mind. Cloning out identifiable people and/or logos is often just not worth it.

However, there are exceptions to exceptional scenes, as I’ll discuss below.

Joy in Jerusalem

Take the following from the Mount of Olives, Jerusalem overlooking the Old Town. I removed all the Hebrew text from the tombstones and entrance to the cemetery.


Difficulty rating: 2/5

Rockin’ it in Rotterdam

This dreamy postcard of the Old Harbour of Rotterdam took me longer as it was a busy scene, but should be well worth the effort.


As you can see in this 100% close-up, I did a good but not excellent job at hiding the logos atop the “White House”.

Rough and dirty cloning job but was nevertheless accepted as commercial

Difficulty rating: 3/5

However, Adobe Stock took a harsh line and rejected the image outright. Probably because of the protected “White House” building:


Voyeur in Venice

I was quite proud of myself when I bagged this shot, but like most of my shots of Venice, it has never sold. So, a fresh commercial image may be picked up…now that I removed the woman from the scene:


Difficulty rating: 1/5

One more from Venice, and one of the better-selling shots, has been the following editorial of a juxtaposition gondola with a giant cruise ship in the background. Lots of talk in the media about restricting these vessels from the Venetian Lagoon due to the negative environmental impacts, among other issues. In fact, this image was picked up by a French blog recently.

Here’s the original editorial version. Lots of work needed try to get it in as a commercial image…with no guarantees…

Busy scene = more work

Difficulty rating: 4/5

Expected Rejection at SS


Good news is that a slight blur on the people ensured that it wasn’t hit with a model-release needed rejection. Bad news is that some sort of intellectual property is noticeable. I believe it may be the overall design of the gondola, or even closer up…some drawing on the gondola itself.

Probably just a tough reviewer and a re-submission(s) after some tweaks should get it through eventually.

Good news from AS

AS approved

How’s your experience with Editorial to Commercial?

Would be curious to know if you have some success turning editorials into commercial. Please comment below!

About Alex

I’m an eccentric guy on a quest to visit all corners of the world and capture stock images & footage. I’m determined not to waste my life away as a corporate drone and have devoted six years to making it as a travel photographer and freelance writer. I hope to inspire others before it’s too late.

I’m proud to have written a book about my adventures which includes tips on making it as a stock travel photographer – Brutally Honest Guide to Microstock Photography


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