Be Courageous with Your Photos, Create Your Own Luck

I knew this month's photo challenge theme -- The Softer Side of Strength -- was going to be tough.  Last month's theme was transportation and the month's before was food.  Who doesn't have access to those two things?  But this month's theme requires access to someone in uniform and, understandably, we don't all have that.

So, for this week's photo tip I'm going to show you how to get it.

And I'm going to do that by sharing a story about one of your fellow readers.

You may remember the name Cheryl Bigman from one of the previous issues of this e-letter.  Cheryl and I spent some time together at AWAI's last live photo workshop in Charleston, SC. where I was an instructor and she was an attendee.

When Cheryl got back from that Charleston event, she wrote an article we ran here on some of the creative lighting tricks I'd shown her.  (I'll give you a link to that article at the end of this story.)

Well, at that same workshop, Cheryl did exactly what I am about to challenge you to do: She snagged some shots of men in uniform. And now she not only has a picture for this month's challenge but she got a newspaper byline out of it too.  Here's her story…

Across the street from our hotel in Charleston, there was a firehouse.  The garage doors were open and she could see the trucks and hanging uniforms inside.

She peeked in, and with her camera in hand, she struck up a conversation with one of the firemen about taking his picture.

He was all too happy to oblige and, in fact, he invited her back to photograph more of the crew later that day.   Truth is, he wanted photos of himself in uniform to share with his family and friends as he didn't have any pictures. And Cheryl wanted the photos for stock use. It was a win-win situation.   A few weeks later, she sent him a CD of the images she shot that day and asked him to sign a model release.

But here's the cool part…

About eight weeks later, Charleston had a terrible fire and though I don't know how this particular fire house faired in the tragedy, I do know Charleston's fire fighters were national news… and guess who had photos of them?

That's right, Cheryl. And now Cheryl's images have been published in the paper in that fireman's hometown.

Just because Cheryl had the courage to strike up a conversation with that guy that day and she bolstered up her courage to ask him if she could take his picture, she gained access to a perfect stock photo opportunity, which soon enough turned into a byline opportunity.

So my challenge for you this week is to get out there and create your own luck.  You never know where your picture-taking can lead.  Head down to your local firehouse or police station.  Call the local reserves.  Strike up a conversation and let them know what your interested in doing and why.  You may be amazed at what transpires.


Log on to our website at: and register to win.

Submit your photos by 8:00 a.m. EST, Monday, July 30th. If you're a first-time user, you'll need to register first on the "register" link on the right side bar. Once you have a username and password, click "Enter to Win" to upload your photo. Only one photo per applicant will be considered.

[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.]