3 Real–World Stock Secrets

Dusty… sun soaked… and iconically western. We trekked to the Bonanza Creek Ranch this morning, 20 minutes outside of Santa Fe, for a western-themed photo shoot –- and some amazing on-the-ground training in how to take images to sell as stock photos. (I’ll show you a few photographer Shelly Perry came away with here, below.)

Hi, Jen Stevens here again today with my “field reporter” hat on at the Ultimate Stock Photography Workshop. I tagged along to the shoot with our 60 workshop attendees, six professional photographers, and five models.

Just halfway through the morning, attendees were already saying to me, “This alone was worth the price of admission.” That’s because they were shooting in the company of some of the nation’s top microstock photographers –- and learning their secrets by osmosis.

It was fascinating to watch how they worked with the models –- demonstrating the poses they wanted, joking around to put them at ease, complimenting a pose or a scene to encourage them to stay engaged.

But even more important were the secrets they shared about the characteristics of a best-selling stock shot. Here are three they all came back to again and again:

** 1. Copy Space. Designers need space on a photo to add their own text. So compose your shots with that in mind. Like this one:

Stock Secrets

** 2. Interaction. Shots that show individuals interacting with each other -– or with the viewer –- sell better than more static images. Here’s one that does both well:

** 3. Light. Arguably most critical is the quality of the light in your photos. Be sure your subject is lit well and avoid harsh shadows. (If you think you’ll be shooting people –- as we were today –- it’s worth investing in a light reflector. It was extraordinary to see how our models’ faces glowed when we bounced the sunlight onto them.) Like in this shot:

It really was an extraordinary day. I wish I could bring you right to the dusty, deserted streets –- lined with saloon, barber shop, bank, and more. But I can’t. That doesn’t mean, however, that you can’t still benefit from all the secrets our experts shared.

More news tomorrow…


Jennifer Stevens
On-the-ground reporter for AWAI

[Editor’s Note: Learn more about how you can turn your pictures into cash in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel.  Sign up here today and we’ll send you a new report, Selling Photos for Cash: A Quick-Start Guide, completely FREE.]