If you’re like most readers, you have a computer full of photos that you’d love to sell. But you’re stuck. Because you have thousands of photos, you don’t know which ones are good, and when you start to think about it, the task is so daunting that a glass of wine on the couch or a game of Candy Crush seems like a better option. My guess is you probably DO have images you can sell as stock lurking around on your computer. The trick is picking out the best stock photos to sell. When I’m choosing photos to send to my stock agencies, I ask myself these three questions: 1. Does this photo have a clear and obvious subject? Stock photo buyers don’t usually sign onto a site and browse around, buying anything that looks cool. They have a specific subject in mind. Maybe it’s a coffee mug on a café table… a yellow lab wearing a collar… or a woman walking with an umbrella in Paris. If you can look at a photo and immediately identify the subject, it passes this first question. 2. Is the composition clean and clutter-free? It may be obvious that the main subject of your photo is a coffee mug… but is it surrounded by crumpled napkins, a spoon, car keys, reading glasses, and a best-selling novel? That woman walking with an umbrella in Paris… is there a phone pole coming out of her head? Do you see a person’s arm poking in the side of the frame? For stock, your cleanest, most clutter-free images are going to be your best bet. 3. What product, service, or idea could this photo sell? Look at a photo for five seconds. If you can come up with three or four different products or ideas that it could sell… then you’re golden. A great photo of a coffee mug could end up on an ad for a new creative space, a music CD cover, a menu at a café, a flyer for a conversation group… etc. Look for images that represent a specific thing or idea. When you have thousands of images, import them all into Lightroom and set a time limit for how long you’re going to spend going through them. Get your glass of wine, set a timer for 25 minutes, and start going through your photos quickly. In Lightroom, the letter P on your keyboard stands for “pick” and the letter X is for “reject.” Go through your images at top speed and just click the letter P for every image that jumps out at you as a “maybe”.  When you’re done, sort by your picked images and ask yourself these above questions. When the timer rings, you’ll either find that you’ve just uncovered your best starter images or you’ll find you’re having so much fun that Candy Crush can wait. Read more Lightroom and Photoshop editing tips here. Share on Facebook

[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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