A $400 Stock Photo Experiment


“We found a stock photo of yours…”

The note came out of nowhere. There I was, seeking jaguars deep in the jungles of Brazil, when the University of Vienna emailed with a special request…

They had found this stock photo I took five years ago:

… and wanted me to recreate the “green branches” effect using a photo of their university building.

Only, instead of paying me a few bucks for a photo download… they offered $400. (YESSS!)

The original photo above came from playing with my camera, trying a technique called “double exposure.” It’s a fun trick, done completely in-camera, with no Photoshop. I’ll show you how to do it next week.

But since I can’t go to Vienna to take a photo of their university, I couldn’t do this new project in-camera. It would have to be all Photoshop.

I’m not a Photoshop expert. But I can definitely use $400! So, I fiddled around with the program, grumbling to myself until I figured it out. Here’s what I ended up with:

This whole thing is amazing, because that’s how stock photography works. Since you can take photos of anything, it gives you room to play and experiment… try new photo techniques… and make sales from them.

And guess what: It’s playing and experimenting that has led to all of my best-selling stock photos (and occasional $400 surprise gigs!).

That’s what I’m aiming for with our monthly Snap & Sell Photo Club Challenges. Each month, you get a new topic to try… and a chance to send your photo in for review. The idea is that you’ll come away with new photos to sell each month. And while you’re at it, you get to learn and have fun, too. If you’re not a member, try it before the end of the year! It might just be the “kick in the pants” you need to get started

And stay tuned… next week, I’ll show you the “double-exposure” technique.

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