Creating Simple Shots You Can Sell

You don’t necessarily need to be commissioned by a client in order to start producing commercial work. You might choose instead to produce shots that you can sell as stock images.

In this live show replay, Karl demonstrates how to do just that by crafting some eye-catching stock-appropriate images on the theme of healthy eating.

As he gets to work with various fruits, some templates and some glue, you’ll learn how to stage, compose and light your images to give them the best chance of success as stock shots.

As always, Karl answers members’ questions as he works, covering key practicalities and considerations to keep in mind when working on stock photography and beyond.

If you enjoy this class, be sure to check out One-Light Challenge Product Photoshoot and Flying Tea Food Shoot.

In this class:

  • Stock photography tips
  • Stock photography advice and ideas
  • Lighting techniques for stock images
  • Product photography lighting tips

Questions? Please post them in the comments section below.


  1. I really enjoyed this episode as I have been considering stock for some time but have been put off by the ultra low prices that micro-stock sites pay out as mentioned by one comment in the show. Would there be any particular stock sites you would recommend?

    1. Hi Trevor, glad you enjoyed this. There is no particular one to recommend, the most popular are shutterstock and istock.


  3. Hi Karl (and team),
    Great class as always. As a real-world business lesson, would there be a way for you to put this on a stock site and then track any money it made in the “real” world over the course of the next few months?

  4. Karl, your dedication is everything! Sadly I missed the Live. My one & only question is: when would you find it correct to use a bounce flash (of white, not too high, roof) instead of using reflector to the side? I guess the bounce flash would fill in all shadows, even in the tomatoes/fruit in this case. Are there also other aspects to consider? Many thanks master!

      1. Thanks Karl! I get it. It is amazing how much I learned from only being a subscriber for a shorter period. You are truly the best of the best.

  5. Jimena Barcelona

    I’m loving every single class!! Thank you for sharing all your knowledge.
    Unfortunately I missed the live show and I had a big long-answer question for you. I’ll leave it here anyway, in case there is a chance you might want to answer:

    What’s your opinion on high-res free stock websites like or for the photography industry? what are the most relevant impacts (+ and/or -)?

    Once again, thank you for the amazing content!! I’m learning tons with every single video

    1. Hi Jimena, great to hear that you are loving the platform! With regards your question, yes sites like unsplash are a strange anomaly at the moment. With most new ventures that are free (twitter, facebook etc) you can easily figure out their ‘raison d’etre’ fairly easily but with this type of company it is hard to quantify quite so easily and therefore figure out what the likely outcome will be. At the moment I think they think or hope that by creating a huge database of competitive images that they will either become valuable because of their data of huge quantity of users or they will be brought out by someone bigger. Currently on their site I notice they are offering discounts for Istock and other services so clearly they are trying to generate commission revenue into their business model at the moment as it will cost significant annual costs to run a business like this so revenue will have to come sooner or later. Either way it seems people are willing to submit images for free just for the sheer joy of it but of course this unfortunately doesn’t help the professional photographer one bit! On the plus side the majority of the images are below average so I still think there will be a demand for paid images from people such as Istock. Most companies will be happy to pay a reasonable fee for the image they want rather than accept something else for free.

  6. johnleigh

    Really great – Ive often thought about stock photography as a potential interest and revenue option especially as I had to go back to full time non photography work due to my situation and could do something with this as part of my side hustlebut. I’ve actually never even attempted stock photos before and seeing your concept ideas here piqued my interest.

    Could I ask your wisdom on 2 points?
    1: you got me motivated and thinking about doing some small shape template for vitamins pills/capsules but wonder any tips how to pile those up winin shape as think would take forever creating a perimiter of glue gunned pills! Or maybe just stick to a shape of one layer perhaps no glue needed

    2: also would it be a bad idea to put stock images on my website to show my range if have submitted to a stock library – im thinking if maybe people might just download for themselves though cant really stop that

    Thanks for your amazing tutorials and wisdom on all these topics its a big help in my journey

    kind regards

    1. Hi John.
      1. I’d just make a much smaller template, which will help the image so you can see they are pills and also because there will not be too many to glue. Even if it took 30mins it would be worth the effort.
      2. 2000px images on your site with a minimal watermark should deter most people. Remember as I mentioned in the show, I’ve sold my own ‘stock’ from my own site.
      Cheers Karl.

      1. johnleigh

        awesome really appreeciate you taking the time to feedback – thats great – i will give this a try!

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