Today I would like to discuss how your images are seen on stock websites and, indirectly, how HDR photography (or tonemapped photography, if you prefer) seems to do so well. First we need to touch upon the first point of the above sentence, how your images are seen. As an image buyer, I type in a few keywords, and get literally BOMBARDED with hundreds, if not thousands, of images. All of these images are about the size of 2 postage stamps (thumbnails) and although I can mouse over and see them slightly zoomed on many sites, it's still a small rendition at best.
What does that mean for you... the seller? Well, you must consider that although your image might be amazing seen full screen in the areas of composition, color, and message; it must also be all of these things in a thumbnail version. The issue here is that as a thumbnail there is very little you can see, aside from color. Thus, a very very very important piece of the microstock puzzle is making sure your images have sufficient "pop" even when seen as a thumbnail, to draw the eye of the purchaser.
HDR due to its colorful look and saturated tones, seems to do very well in microstock when done right. Even when done in a "realistic" manner that adds color and tone without a cartoony feel, it can really make or break an image (and thus, it's thumbnail). So I would highly recommend that anyone who might want to give it a try, do not hesitate, it's worth the attempt.
A great website to learn a little about the HDR process is stuckincustoms.com. Trey, owner and photographer of the site, does a great job explaining a bit of the process in the tutorials section and giving some great tips. Even though he particularly does not like Microstock in general (disliking the model of the system and the monetary gains) I must admit that his style would lend itself very well to sales. Give it a look over and see if you like it!