Austin Photo Workshop: Dispatch #3, The Most Successful Amateur I Know

"That's like the Cadillac of cameras," Shelly Perry said, when iStock star, Lise Gagne, told us about the camera she shoots with today. But it wasn't always that way. When Lise first started submitting her photos to, she was using an old pawn shop camera.

With no formal training, Lise took her used camera and asked her friends and coworkers to pose for photos. In the beginning, they barely sold at all… in her first two months, she only made 40 cents.

But she kept experimenting, trying new things, looking at commercials and in magazines for trends she could capitalize on… and she went from 40 cents a week to $20 a week.

The more she played with composition and subject, color and props, the more her photos sold. In six months, she went from making $20 a week to $200 a week… and today she makes over $200,000 a year doing what she loves, going where she wants, living out her dreams.

Crazy as it may seem, Lise still considers herself an amateur… she just picked up some tricks along the way. And they're all simple things you or I could do, too.

She shared 14 of the most important ones with us today.  I don't have the space to pass all of them along, but I'll let you in on a few that stuck out in my mind -- all techniques you can apply to your photos right away.

** Copy Space

Photos with the subject off to one side, at the top or bottom, with lots of open space, sell well as stock. Art directors, designers, advertisers… they're all looking for a space to put their words. Build that space into your photos, and they'll be more likely to sell.

** The Color Blue

There's something about the color blue. Lise has noticed that photos with a blue background, like a solid blue sky, are good sellers on

** People Interacting

People shots sell well as stock photos. They sell best when they are either interacting with each other, or looking directly into the camera.

** White Background

Photos of people isolated on an all-white background make a designer's job easier -- and, so, they're easier to sell. Lise's images appear all the time in ads, magazines, websites, and more.

As I said, those are just four of fourteen effective tips Lise passed along.


Bonnie Caton
Your Live Workshop Correspondent

[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.]