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Ever lose track of time looking through photos on your computer? Last night I got lost in my photos from the last year and a half… and I realized something big: Shooting for stock has already made me a much better photographer. All of the little nit-picky things about it have forced me to pay attention to the details in my photos. And I’m a lot faster with my camera settings, now. This photo, from our Ultimate Stock Photo Workshop in Phoenix, sums it up for me: The biggest things I’ve learned over the past year and a half:

  • Focus control. My model’s eyes are in perfect focus, and the background is a blur behind him. I still don’t nail it every time, but it’s gotten a lot easier.
  • Proper exposure. I processed this in Lightroom, but I didn’t change the exposure at all! Using my Exposure Compensation button, and checking in the back of the camera each time I shoot, I’m much better at getting it right, in-camera.
  • Better composition. I got in close, here, and tried a different angle — shooting down from above. It’s much more interesting than it would have been straight-on.

Of course, the photo isn’t PERFECT in every way, but I’m proud of it! I asked stock photographers Danny Warren and Ryan Lane how shooting for stock has made them better photographers, and here’s what they said: Danny: Stock has made me a better technical photographer because it has forced me to notice the little details like perfect focus, noise, and compression that I paid little attention to before. Ryan: Shooting stock has broadened my awareness of quality standards and led me to learn how to achieve them. You may not notice it right away, but shooting for stock definitely forces you to improve with time. Have you noticed that shooting for stock has changed your photography? Take a look back and share on the Breakfast StockClub Facebook page. And if you’re not already a Premium Member of the Breakfast Stock Club, I encourage you to consider it today. Each month we tackle a new theme. This month’s theme is Night Photography. Members get a “Roadmap” for taking the best pictures under each month’s theme that includes detailed instructions for getting the right images. They also get processing videos. And at the end of the month, we take a look at all the submissions and one of our pros looks through the shots to offer comments, reviews and suggestions for the photographer to improve. — Bonnie Bonnie Caton Great Escape Publishing Breakfast Stock Club [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.] Your Weekly Breakfast Dish The latest from your Breakfast StockClub Facebook Page If you’re on Facebook, “like” our page and join in on the fun! *** From Kelly Krajacic Fujikawa: I got started in photography about two months ago by buying the Turn Your Pictures into Cash program and am very excited to see my photos selling at Shutterstock and other sites. Out of about 7 sales in the last two weeks, I find it interesting that a simple pile of $1 bills has sold 3 times. Makes me wonder if people are writing articles about the state of the economy. Click here to see Kelly’s photo. ***From Caroline Maryan: I love shooting golf photos!!! This one just sold again! Click here to see Caroline’s photo. ***From Jax Bubis: Bought my first dslr today. I had a couple photos accepted with my Sony point and shoot. But I’m really excited about learning and taking tons of pictures.

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