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Meet Deborah, a former engineer building her stock portfolio for long-term passive income. LORI: Deborah, can you tell us a little bit about your background and what you were doing before you found an interest in photography? DEBORAH:  I come from a family of artists.  My mother, Blake Higgins, is an amazing creative illustrator and painter. She also has a passion for capturing life with a camera, be it video or stills. I still remember all the different types of flashes used on the ever-evolving cameras she had. So, a bit of her is in me, and I quickly gravitated to having a camera and taking images of my life and others since I was probably 11 years old. I was also very good at math and hungry to make money, so I went the route of becoming an engineer instead of an artist. I chose the career where I could make the most money. The recession, however, forced me to reevaluate my choices, and I decided to actively pursue photography. I love working with people and seeing them feel great when they see the way I have captured them in an image. LORI: In June you decided to make a goal for yourself of uploading 50 images per month to an online stock photo agency.  Can you tell us which agency you chose and why? DEBORAH:  I chose iStock, as my goal is to have images with Getty. I feel they are the top tier. I want quality associated with my work. My next step is to look beyond micro-stock to some of the bigger paying agencies like Corbis. Working along side the artists Lise Gagne, Shelly Perry, and Jani Bryson, who I met at Great Escape Publishing workshops, had a strong influence in my decision to choose iStock. LORI: Did you make your goal? DEBORAH:  Yes. I am now at 66 images, adding 15 more stock photos in August, and have another eight pending approval. I just shot an Octoberfest theme and started on Christmas shooting. I have a model set up for Sunday and will get a few head shots from that shoot to upload for this month. LORI: What attracts you most to stock photography?  Is it something you enjoy shooting? Or do you like other kinds of photography and just want to expand your opportunities by selling your photos to online stock photo agencies, as well as the more traditional methods of selling directly to clients? DEBORAH:  Yes, I like having stock as another outlet. I am a firm believer in the meter drop… meaning, I am hoping that by committing to shooting and uploading regularly, I will eventually have a portfolio that pays me while I’m not shooting. I like the challenge of finding what idea will be my big seller…I’m still looking for that! LORI: I know you shoot a lot of boudoir photography.  Have you ever tried uploading some of those images to stock agencies? DEBORAH:  First it would be helpful to define my Boudoir shoot. I shoot to capture emotion and tell a story, capturing all the details along the way. So yes, if a client agrees then I upload.  But you would never guess from the pictures I choose that they were from a Boudoir Shoot! LORI: Do your clients know that you’re uploading them?  How do they feel about it? DEBORAH:  Yes, they know me and trust my judgment of what I will use. Most of my Boudoir is natural light, often high ISO, so not the best for stock. When I shoot a Boudoir scene for a client, I always go after having a picture they will want to showcase as a canvas in the family room, so that’s the one that might be part of my stock collection. LORI: Now that your photos are in a stock agency, have you ever seen them used either on the web or on a billboard or magazine. DEBORAH:  Yes, I just found this one of a bride model in a beauty advertisement online. LORI: Do you have any advice for those just starting out? DEBORAH:  Find what you love and shoot it! Although I was accepted to iStock a year ago, I felt so discouraged by having my application shots rejected that, once I was accepted, I didn’t do anything till I went to Portland and sat side by side with Shelly and Bonnie to see what I needed to do to be more successful. I am still new at stock and uploading, so my strategy is evolving. LORI: Thanks Deborah. [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.]

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