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Shelly Perry here, again, with your “Olympic Fuel” tip of the day. I’m a stock photographer, but I also work as a photo inspector for istock.com.  That means it’s up to me to decide which photos make the cut. I see a lot of photos come through — good and bad.  Some photographers understand the ingredients that go into a stock-worthy shot… and their photos sell hundreds to thousands of times over. Like Lise Gagne, for instance. When she started taking photos she didn’t have any experience to speak of and her camera was a cheap pawnshop point-and-shoot. But she systematically worked at figuring out the keys to taking shots that sell. Now she’s the top-selling photographer at iStockphoto — with 735,732 image sales and counting. She makes well over $200,000 a year from her stock images. Yet for every photographer who, like Lise, understands the fundamentals of a winning photo, there are two or three who miss the mark more often than not, struggling to get their photos accepted, much less sold. If you’d like to follow in Lise’s footsteps, here are three tips to put you on the right path… STOCK INSPECTOR’S TOP 3 PHOTO-SAVING ELEMENTS: ** 1. Good composition with a dominant subject.  Believe it or not, you would be hard pressed to find a subject in some of the image submissions I see. Make sure you know who or what your subject is and then compose your shot around it.  Composition can make or break an image. ** 2. Focus.  There is no need to always shoot in f-22 so you have focus throughout the image… but even with a shallow depth of field, where parts of the photo will be blurry, there should be an area of clear focus in every photograph you submit for stock. ** 3. Proper lighting.  Lighting is the real key to photography, and the better you can get at recognizing good lighting and making it happen in your photos, the better off your shots will be.  Most importantly, avoid the noon-day sun and strong, mixed or dappled lighting — such as shade from a tree with sun shining through in spots between the leaves. [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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