Breaking The Composition Rules

Posted on 7/20/2017 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

Adobe’s Visual Trends predictions  for July talks about “Breaking the Rules of Composition to Create Thought-Provoking Images.”

Breaking the rules is great for someone trying to create Fine Art, but do such images actually sell? Of course Adobe will be able to point to a few that have sold, but in general is it better to break the rules, or learn the rules and stick to them if you’re trying to produce images customers will to buy?

If Adobe is trying to inspire art directors and image buyers, then maybe it is a good idea to offer then images that will challenge their thought processes to get their creative juices going.

Adobe has included some visually exciting and interesting images as examples. Such images will certainly appeal to the artistic sensibilities of art buyers. And, they might be the kind of images that will help customers remember Adobe Stock and return to the site in the future.

But image producers are in the business of “selling” stock photography. My bet is that none, or very few, of images that break the rules ever sell.

More importantly for image creators would be a collection of images that have sold. And even better, comparative information on how many times they have sold.

Such an image collection could also be a huge benefit to customers looking for something to buy, that could actually be used in their next project. Many buyers might find a collection of images that their peers had found useful of more value than being forced to waste their time going through a lot of images they would never really consider for current projects.

There are times when image buyers have the luxury of going to a museum, or looking at pictures online, just to get inspired. There are also times when they are on a hard deadline and need to get a project out the door as quickly as possible.

Too often the industry seems to be focused on flooding their offerings with Fine Art, and everything they can find. Some of it is of so little value it is really trash. Often very little of what the major agencies offer in their collections are images customers really want to use.

(Take a look at yesterday’s story about Unsplash. Those photographers are focused on their Art, but consider where it is probably being used.)

(Also have a look at “What Does Image Curation Mean?” and consider how many of the Dotshock images from this particular shoot customers would want to spend their time reviewing.)

Copyright © 2017 Jim Pickerell. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-461-7627, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz

Jim Pickerell is founder of, an online newsletter that publishes daily. He is also available for personal telephone consultations on pricing and other matters related to stock photography. He occasionally acts as an expert witness on matters related to stock photography. For his current curriculum vitae go to:  


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