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If this photo makes your heart race and your mouth water, then we might have something in common: Bonnie, here. They say that when it comes to taking and selling stock photos, you should start by shooting what you love. I happen to have an ever-so-slight dark chocolate obsession. (Read that: Dark chocolate won’t last more than five minutes in a room with me.) So this week, I’m going to shoot stock photos of chocolate that I can sell online as stock. I’ll keep a daily journal as I go, so you can follow along and take some saleable stock photos, replacing chocolate with whatever you love. Sound good? Let’s get started… ** Day 1: Getting Started STEP 1 – INSPIRATION Before setting out to buy a bunch of chocolate (or any props for a photo shoot), it’s a good idea to get inspiration from other stock photos, and see what’s already selling. Here are some photos I found on iStock that sell well.… This classic chocolate shot succeeds in making the chocolate look rich, decadent… even slightly sinful. And I like this one because Valentine’s Day is only three months away. That makes this week perfect timing for Valentine shots in the stock world. I bet photos of boxed chocolates like this will sell well. Maybe I can do something similar with chocolates from a local candy shop here in Portland and add my own twist. What a fun idea! I wonder what other words I can write with chocolate sauce? Hmmm… STEP 2 – CHOCOLATE SHOPPING! When you’re choosing props for a stock photo shoot, you need to consider a few key things: ** 1. Logo-free. Avoid store names, designs, trademarks, etc. Luckily, the packaging on most chocolate bars shows a photo of what the chocolate looks like inside. This one didn’t have the logo or brand name stamped in the chocolate, itself. Once the wrapper comes off, we have generic chocolate. Bingo! ** 2. Your other props should also be generic and reusable. In my case, I’m looking for a chocolate box that’s also logo-free and generic. And I’m looking for something I can possibly re-use for future shoots. ** 3. And, this is really important — ALWAYS buy extra chocolate in case of an “accident.” Whenever we’re shooting the things we love, we must allow for casualties — chocolate pieces that mysteriously disappear, new shoes that somehow make their way into the closet and get worn out on the town, golf balls that make their way into our golf bag and take a few hits. This poor piece of chocolate didn’t even make it to the car without a little nibble. Good thing it was an extra. So consider that casualties can happen at any time with your props and buy extras accordingly… Now, if you love fishing, and you have a bunch of flies at home… or you love golf and you have the equipment… or you like to knit and you have plenty of needles and yarn… Then you may not need to go out shopping to buy new props. But do consider the above tips just the same. The items you use should be logo- and trademark-free, and somewhat generic. Other than that, there’s great flexibility in selling your photos as stock. You can pick just about any subject, and there’s likely to be a market for it. You don’t have to worry about clients or deadlines. No boss is breathing down your neck. And you can spend as much or as little time at it as you like. If you’d like to sell your photos on stock sites (meaning you take photos, upload them to sites, and then they sell while you’re off doing other things), then tonight make a list of some things you like that you could easily shoot this week. Tomorrow, we shoot! [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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