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Who knew that one of the very first lightning photographs I ever took would change my life? In fact, it was the image that launched my career. And it remains one of the single, highest-grossing images in my portfolio, continuing to deliver profit, foster confidence, and inspire my creativity to this day. lightning photo Even though “Lightning on the Ridge” is less than technically perfect, and was taken hand-held by an amateur using a starter camera, this is the photograph that was named 2012 Monsoon Photograph of the Year. From this shot, my husband and I have taken an all-expenses-paid trip to a five-star resort in Tucson, relished a romantic couples hot stone massage, enjoyed a private horseback ride at sunset, and relaxed around the most luxurious pool while a never-ending supply of little umbrella drinks were delivered one after another. In addition, we received a whole-home surge protection system…just what every lightning photographer needs. And did I mention this photo has also brought in an astounding $4,700 in cash and prize value! However, this image has been worth more than just fun and prizes. I have sold it commercially to several companies, including Great Escape Publishing. Each sale a cool $50 here and $100 there, adding up to nearly $1,000 in commercial sales. It’s been used in email blasts, presentations, and corporate advertising campaigns. Remember the whole-home surge protection system I mentioned…you bet they wanted it, too! This lightning photo has also been one of my best-selling fine art prints. In fact, this was among the first I sold…one of the 8×10 prints purchased right off my wall at a holiday party. And after just a few art shows, it was clear this photograph was a cash cow. I began printing more and more for each show…big ones…little ones…original colors…adjusted colors…black and white. Offering a wide variety of options helped appeal to so many more buyers. I found offering content with such a unique subject matter separated me from the competition. All told, the fine-art sales of “Lightning on the Ridge” is approaching $7,000 in fine-art revenue! When I reflect on this photograph and what it has helped me accomplish, it just blows me away! Then, without missing a beat, I begin thinking of other ways to put it to work. I’m currently negotiating with several local art galleries to offer a series of my lightning works for show and sale, and “Lightning on the Ridge” is being considered for production in postcards and other Arizona printed goods. The possibilities are truly endless. Sometimes it’s all about the money, the financial independence gained, or even just the thrill of the sale. But mostly, it’s about the connection shared between artist and viewer, the mutual appreciation for the magic captured in that singular moment in time, and then gone in a flash. The emotion and inspiration a photograph can evoke is truly priceless. 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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