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This week, “work” means spending time at the beach taking photos of surfers…hula dancers…yoga instructors…traditional fire knife dancers…and even mermaids. Some stock photographers make their entire living this way, traveling to exotic destinations to take photos that they can sell online to cover the cost of the trip… and then some. Bonnie here, writing to you from our small group stock photo workshop in Maui. With professional stock photographers Lise Gagne and Shelly Perry as our instructors, we’re learning how to turn our photos into an income. One thing I’ve learned is that when you’re traveling in a bright, tropical destination like this — or even when the sun is bright at home — you’ll get a lot of “flare” in your shots. Flare (not to be confused with flair) is caused by light hitting your lens from the side. It lights up the glass and makes your photos look hazy. Here’s an extreme example, from our hula photo-shoot on the beach: See how the hula girls look like they’re behind a thick fog? That’s because the sun was lighting up the glass in my lens. You’ll see a lot of flare if you’re shooting into the sun, as I was doing here, or if it’s bright outside and enough light comes up and hits your lens sideways. You can reduce flare and improve the look and saleability of your photos with this one simple tip: Use your lens hood. A lens hood is the large black plastic ring that snaps onto the front of your lens, shading it from the sun. If you don’t have one, you can shade the lens with your hand in bright conditions. This will help cut down on light getting into the side of your lens and creating that “foggy” look. Here, workshop attendees are shooting with their lens hoods on. You can see the black plastic ring on the front of their lenses. Here are a few of their photos from the day: Debra Hockemeyer Terry Granger Deborah Kolb John Blackburn Photographing here is exciting… but you don’t have to go far from home — or find models — to take photos that you can sell as stock. In fact, you can literally start with what you find in your backyard. More on that tomorrow! [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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