Critique the Community

Submit Your Most Profitable Photo

  • Submission Deadline: Wed, 11 Sep 19 05:00:00 +0000

    This contest has ended.

  • Voting is closed.

  • Congratulations to the winners!

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For this critique the community we are asking to see your most profitable photographs. Please only submit images that have made at least $2000, but the more you've made, the better. 

RULES: With each submission, please include in the description how much the image has made as well as a quick story of how you were hired, or how you sold it. 

The spirit of this "critique" is to inspire other photographers with success stories and dream jobs. Please do not submit images from high paying "events" where you shot thousands of images unless a particular image from that event was licensed separately. You may submit photography that has been printed and sold as art, just let us know how much the image has made in its lifetime. 

  • Submission Deadline: Wed, 11 Sep 19 05:00:00 +0000

    This contest has ended.

  • Voting is closed.

  • 311 people have cast a total of 5,235 votes on 62 submissions from 52 contestants.
  • Congratulations to the winners!

    View Results


Giving away a free tutorial for a photographer that did > 2000$ on a single image is pointless. Those who need a tutorial are who spent dozens of hours on an image and did not earn a cent. IMHO (edit: in any case I appreciate a lot the fact that the image has to be accompanied by a quick story, I'm just ranting because I am not able to participate to this contest)

That may be true. But perhaps they want to move into a different style photography from what they earned money on so then the tutorial would be helpful. I'm interested to see how people rate these images. Will we continue to see the very common 2 star ratings??

You'll definitely see the majority being 2 stars regardless of what the topic is and what the actual quality of the images are because people don't know how to follow instructions.

I’ve just down cited your comment with my fat thumbs on my phone and can’t undo it haha sorry!!!!!

I can see both sides. Following this one, I’d be interest in a sort of “how to market this image” video/contest, where they focus more on the marketing aspect of potential high selling images (ex: who the market could be/ where to sell it/ how to get it seen/ etc). I don’t want to come across as rude, but if some of these made over $2000, clearly it’s my marketing that needs work, more than my photography. Some insight into that would be incredibly interesting and valuable.

You have to be willing to go for the big ask!

I think the most successful people are in the world are not the most talented people. They're just the most delusional. So delusional, in fact, that they can convince others of their delusions.

I agree with wanting to know how the photographers who took these high value images marketed their skills or marketed these specific images. At a minimum, in addition to saying how much money they earned from each photo, I wish contestants would also indicate who bought the photos.

I think following the last contest with this contest feels very exclusionary in nature. I don't care about winning a contest for the tutorial (not that I'd mind adding them to my viewing) but when people are excluded from entry it does a disservice to the community who comes to participate regardless of professional status. In this one, I've earned $ for photography but not at $2000 level for any shot in particular.

It will be interesting to see the ratings of these shots considering the strata automatically instituted in the contest.

The way I see it, if you got paid $5 for a photo and that's the highest your most profitable photo, submit that shit. :P

We all know that the ratings are a crap shoot anyway.

I understand your point. In my case, the fee has been a few hundred. I think the most profitable has been $300. I tend to fuse services between photography, brochure design, web design etc, so some are hard to rate. I can mainly distinguish between my profit based photography and the rest of the photos I do for enjoyment and may print for people for a fee. I sell a photobook I made of my photos to many but that is a $30 or $70 item. Oh well. lol

Art Contests seem like a contradiction in terms.

I dont shoot weddings so what word should be used when wedding photo critiques come up? "Exclusionary" seems like a pretty good word to use.

Or should I just submit my sports/journalism photos in a wedding critique since thats what I shoot just so Im not excluded from the wedding contest?

Do you have to be a wedding photographer to submit wedding photos when the topic is Weddings? Maybe you were a guest at the wedding.

Sure.... but when I go to weddings I never take my camera. I have no reason to take my camera to a wedding if Im a guest. Im there to have fun and celebrate the occasion, not take photos. Thats the job of the wedding photographer that was hired.


How about some anarchy in the next competition, no theme, just your most interesting and creative image. Rated on originality and execution.

We've done that in the past and I'm sure we'll do it again in the future.

I enjoy all of the content you guys create, I'm always learning something. Keep it up!

And as I was suspecting, people dont care about the contest rules at all. Posting images without stories and/or how much they made and some flat out saying the image has never made any money at all and just posting because they dont think the contest is fair.

To the people crying because they dont have a photo to submit to this CTC, you're not always going to have a photo to submit to every critique.

I dont always have an image to submit to a critique but instead of crying about it I just dont submit an image and wait till the next critique. For example I dont shoot weddings, so when a wedding critique comes along I just wait till the next critique I have a photo to submit to.

Also, I will not be submitting to this critique because I think its super tacky to talk about how much you make.


I have this scenario. No single picture of mine has been sold for that amount. However, there a couple of pictures that, because of them (these clientes have explicitly said so) certain clients decided to book me for a gig that made me over 2k. Does that count?


Rules are for dweebs. D:

It sounds like you should submit images from the gigs that paid more than $2000 unless those gigs are events.

I have this scenario. No single picture of mine has been sold for that amount. However, there a couple of pictures that, because of them (these clientes have explicitly said so) certain clients decided to book me for a gig that made me over 2k. Does that count? Any Fstoppers person here to answer that?

Like Lee said, you should post one of the images from the actual gig that paid you $2k and tell the story about it.

Isn't it curious how people care more about winning a $350 tutorial than getting an invaluable insight into what actually sells on the market... 🤦‍♂️

It's not just either one or the other, if possible i'd like to get an invaluable insight into what sells on the market AND also get a free tutorial. Or two tutorials! Just kidding. But I get you point

Winning a $350 tutorial helps me expand my knowledge into other areas of photography. I'm not sure how much "invaluable insight" you think you're getting since nobody is posting their receipts here. People can claim whatever they want.

If you want to do market research, look through magazines, galleries, advertisements, etc. because you KNOW somebody paid for those images. In a contest like this, I can post a picture of a toilet bowl and claim that it sold for $10,000 and it would be plausible if only because the fine art world makes zero sense.

I thought that 500€ for a photo was good! Please teach me, masters!

No doubt! I know I've had many of my images licensed for $250-$500 which I consider a decent payday especially if it's for an image I already produced. We are just looking to up the ante a bit more and see those images that have made even more than a standard license.

How about if the next challange is for any image? Until then, one must write a paragraph about the image and it has to have generated at least $2000. Until then, how about deleting those submissions not providing the above information? Reading and comprehension is clearly not among peoples strong traits.

Well only the images that follow the rules will make the critique but maybe we should start deleting those that are already not eligible.

Huge thanks to Fstoppers and to all of you who generously share information about your most profitable images and your success stories! Please keep bragging mode ON and continue sharing your business secrets! Truly inspirational contest!

I'm really not trying to be surly, but I can't look through any more of these images. I think I clicked through 15 in a row at one point that didn't follow any of the rules of the contest. I really look forward to seeing the video on this, but I don't get paid enough (anything) to sort these images for people who are blatantly wasting time posting things that don't meet the criteria.

Edit: There really aren't that many and I'm being a big baby. Still wish people would follow the directions more because I'm super interested in seeing what people are selling.

I'm most curious to know what agencies or sites earn photographers the most money. Some of the commissions that I've seen are terrible. Are most people selling prints themselves on their own sites or are they uploading to Getty or other large stock sites?

I'd imagine most of the work isn't from selling prints or micro stock. I've read some of the stories that are direct print sales but most of them are going to be day rates, licensing fees, commissioned/ direct to brand work, or possibly super high end fine art. Many photographers have day rates of $3-5K plus licensing in the $4-20k range so it's possible to post an image from one of those shoots.

I think very very very few photographers are selling individual prints off their own sites. If they say they are, I'd be skeptical unless their work really stands out.

To me, this contest doubles as commentary and a powerful statement to the community:

1. For people who complain about their images being rated low, keep in mind that many of the industry-caliber photographers do not enter for any number of reasons. If they did, people like me would probably never be featured.
2. Seeing the range of 4s and 5s posted by the same people highlights and reinforces the importance of consistency.
3. As a community, instead of complaining about the rating system in each contest, just use them to learn and be part of the network.
4. People who complain about others going through their portfolio and down voting images need to understand that unless an image has 50+ votes, the scores are mostly artificial anyway. If your images only have 9 ratings, then another rating comprises 10% of your score, which is huge. This is the reason I don’t use the site for portfolio ratings purposes. Rather, I use it for learning and exchanging ideas.
5. There's a complex business side of photography. Speaking from the standpoint of a enthusiast, I often lose sight of this, so it's always nice to be reminded that folks are out there working hard.

Since many of the photos in here will be 4s and 5s, I am looking forward to hearing the nuances between what differentiates the two.

I am wondering how people are figuring out the amount of money that was made by a particular job. The invoice total or the amount that went into your pocket?

Contest Submissions

Click on the thumbnails below to comment and vote on each image.

Click here to learn about the Fstoppers rating system and what each star value means.