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That first time you get photos accepted into a stock site… it’s a big day. You can’t help but be filled with enthusiasm, ready to upload as many shots as you can. After all, more images = more sales, right? Well… not necessarily. Bonnie here, still filling in for Lori while she’s on maternity leave. When it comes to making money from stock photography, professional photographer Danny Warren is a great believer of quality over quantity. Instead of trying to take hundreds of shots you hope might sell, you could make the same income — and even double or triple it — by taking just a handful of outstanding stock-worthy images you know will make photo-buyers jump. Over the next three days, Danny will share his “shoot smarter, not harder” strategy to help you change your thinking when you shoot… so you can make more money for less of your precious time. Read below for his first tip, today… THE QUALITY FACTOR, PART 1: WHAT SELLS?   By Danny Warren in Portland, Oregon Early on in my stock career I noticed a distinct pattern. Some of my images consistently generated sales while others would never sell at all. For the first few months, I didn’t really know why nor give it too much thought. Five and a half years later, it’s all I think about. Some quick calculations of my career stock sales show that 5% of my images have generated over 50% of my total earnings. One single photo that I uploaded less than a year ago has made more money than I did in my entire first year of stock photography when I had thousands of total sales. In today’s stock photography market, quality over quantity is the path to real financial success.  Shooting smarter, not harder will not only save you time… it will make the royalty checks show up faster. Reasons photos sell or don’t sell aren’t governed by the rules of physics, but they do follow general patterns that are predicable and hold true on average. The first is marketability of your subject. Figuring out what is marketable is less of an enigma than it seems. Here’s a trick: STEP 1: Go to a stock site that counts downloads (like BigStockPhoto or iStockphoto). STEP 2: Search for a keyword (or group of keywords) of your choice. STEP 3: Sort by downloads. STEP 4: Find the 20th image listed and see how many downloads it has. In general, the more downloads, the more marketable the theme is. For example, if you search for the keyword “confidence” on iStockphoto and sort by downloads, the 20th image has over 6,800 downloads. The 20th image for the keyword “steak” has over 800 downloads. And the 20th “bocce ball” image has just over 30 downloads. From this we can see that “confidence” is far more marketable than “bocce ball.” I’m not saying you need to disregard your own ideas and chase after confidence-themed images, only. But doing this exercise with keywords from your own subjects of interest should help you focus your energy on the areas that will sell best for you… all leading to more money for less of your time. Tomorrow, I’ll tell you why sometimes going after the “bocce ball” is actually a good strategy, too… [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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