Selling Your Photos: Do They Have These Three Key Elements?

Here’s this week’s photo tip, from professional photographer Shelly Perry…

Lori Allen
Director, Great Escape Publishing

P.S. Shelly makes most of her income from selling her photos as stock images, and she’s just had one of her best months ever. Talk to Shelly about why right now is a great time to start selling your photos as stock -- and learn exactly how to get up and running -- at our Ultimate Stock Photography Workshop.


Since this month is the first in another year of monthly Photo Challenges (that’s 12 chances for you to get into the winners circle), this week I’d like to take the opportunity to remind you of three key factors that can give you a leading edge in taking and selling amazing photographs.

** 1. Subject. This is the who, what, and where of your photograph. It should be strong and clear, leaving no doubt about what your subject is.

One way to get better at this is to get closer, filling your frame with nothing but your subject, leaving no room for other distractions. (If you’re using a point-and-shoot camera, be careful to stay within your camera’s focusing distance… usually no closer than about three to five feet from your subject.)

** 2. Composition. Learning the art of composition is not terribly difficult -- it just takes some practice. If you’ve done any painting, drawing, or other kinds of art, composition might be second nature for you. If not, consider going to a local gallery or art museum to study how the masters do it (think “Rule of Thirds”). You can work the composition of your photographs just like master painters have for centuries.

Placement of your subject in the frame makes all the difference to the visual impact of your photo. If you remember nothing else about composition, remember this: keep your subject (and your horizon line) out of the center of your image.

** 3. Lighting. Photography is nothing without light. Study the light around you, taking mental notes of how it looks. Is it bright? Flat and dull? Does it glow? What do the shadows look like and where do they come from? How do the people or the places around you look in this light? As you get more familiar with light and its qualities, these kinds of questions get easier to answer. Doing so will help immensely with your photography as it informs the where and when of your shots.

Also remember these two other important points about light: 1. The pop-up flash on your camera is good for candid shots at a party…but that’s about it. Open up your camera manual and find out how to turn off your flash (remember how to turn it on again for that party), 2. The best light of the day is early morning or late afternoon. Unless you have plenty of cloud cover, avoid shooting in bright noonday sun.

It’s fun watching you progress. I look forward to seeing your shots throughout this coming year.

[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.]