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Last week, readers Linda Sue Runnels and Joy Ciaccio, among others, told me that some of the photos they took for last month’s Breakfast Stock Club Premium Challenge got accepted for sale in stock photo agencies. Way to go, guys!

That’s exactly what we’re going for… learning, improving, and taking photos we can sell.

Which brings me to our next Get-Started Stock Photo Basics tip…

Step #3: Make the leap – Select your best images and send them to a stock agency. Figure out which of your photos will sell.

If you missed Steps #1 and #2 on how (practically speaking) to go about selling your photos to online stock photo agencies, you’ll find them in the Breakfast Stock Club archives, here.

During last month’s Processing for Stock workshop in Portland, instructor and stock photographer Shelly Perry told us that when you’re submitting images to a stock agency for the first time, you want to start with your very best shots.

You already know which are your favorite photos. So how do you know which ones are your best shots for stock?

Start by looking through your photos and separating out your favorites. Then, for each photo, ask yourself the following questions. Try to narrow your selection down to 20 shots:

  • Could this photo be used in an ad? What products or companies might use it?
  • Does this photo have one clear subject?
  • How are the technical details? Is it in focus, correctly exposed, and well-composed? Look at your photo at 100% magnification, from one edge to the other, from top to bottom, and make sure it’s technically perfect. More technical specifics here.

Once you’ve narrowed your favorite shots down to your 20 best, take a look at this video from Shelly Perry and this article on the aspects of a saleable stock photo:

Now, look back through your 20 best shots and eliminate half of them. What’s left is a solid batch of 10 photos you can submit for sale in stock agencies.TIP:

Often, stock agencies are more lenient after you’re accepted as a contributor. That’s why it’s so important to lead with your very best work when you apply. If you’re on the fence with a photo and you’re not sure whether or not it will pass the technical test, or it doesn’t measure up to the rest of your shots, shelf it for submission later.

Now you’ve got the shots… so do it! Set aside a few hours this weekend and submit photos to a stock agency. The worst that can happen is that you receive an email telling you to try again. You’ll find a few stock photo agency photographer application pages here.

Remember: A photo of yours might get rejected. It happens to everyone. But that doesn’t mean that YOU are rejected. You are free to submit another photo, another time. We’re seeing a lot of successes among Breakfast Stock Club readers. So keep trying. You’ll be glad you did.

In fact, next week we’ll hear from a Breakfast Stock Club reader who got rejected from Shutterstock on his first try and waited a whole year before trying again. Now he’s glad that he finally did, because today his stock photo sales pay the mortgage… and then some.

Stay tuned to find out how he does it.

And good luck this weekend — go submit some shots!

Your Weekly Breakfast Dish
The latest from your Breakfast StockClub Facebook Page

From Joy Ciaccio: I sold two files over the weekend, one from This month’s challenge on Canstock and one from LAST month’s challenge on Dreamstime. This BSC Premium is great stuff! Still not enough for a payout, but I’ll get there…

Jennifer Campbell asked: I’m shooting in RAW specifically to get started in stock. I set the ISO to 100 but when I upload in Lightroom the info lists ISO ratings in varying speeds, some as high as 1600.

And stock photographer Shelly Perry replied: My guess is you’re shooting in auto or one of your program modes, like “portrait, Sunshine, sports.” etc. These can take over full control, including ISO and sometimes even drop you to a jpeg. Shoot in manual, aperture or shutter priority OR the generic program mode should fix this. There might be other possibilities with the Nikon, but this is where I would check first.

[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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