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I’m in a plane over the Pacific, getting ready to run our next photo expedition in Bali, and all I can think about is monkeys.

This is one of my favorite shots from our Bali photo expedition last March. Unfortunately, it’s too blurry and noisy to submit as stock. (It’s hard to tell at this small size but at 100% it’s pretty blurry.) Since I’m headed back to Bali now, I’m determined to get a monkey photo I can sell. For inspiration, I’m looking at a few other “monkey” shots that sell well on stock sites. The first one, of orangutans, has sold over 400 times. The second one, of macaque monkeys, has sold over 100 times. I like these both because to me they say “togetherness,” or “family,” similar to my photo, above. Let’s look at what makes these great:

  • Both are tight shots with blurred backgrounds — nothing distracts from the subject…
  • In both photos, the subject fills the frame…
  • Both incorporate just a little of the environment…
  • In both cases, subjects’ faces are in even light…
  • They each tell a story.

That’s what I’m going for when I get back to the Monkey Forest in a couple of days.

Before you set out to take travel photos for stock, search for the country that you’re visiting in stock sites to see photos are selling. You can even look up the specific subjects you plan to photograph. In this case, I went to and searched for “monkeys.” I then sorted the results by “downloads” to find the ones that sell best. The point is not to copy the images you find, but to use them as inspiration. Think about what makes the best-sellers so good. Then try to do that in your shots. We’re entering a crazy holiday period right now. For some, that means more family gatherings and more great photo opps. (Breakfast Stock Club Premium members, look for a new Challenge theme that fits the season in your in-box this Friday!) For others, it means more shopping, more cooking, more chaos, and less time taking pictures. Even when you don’t have time to set up a photo shoot, you can still take just a few minutes a week to learn about what makes a great stock photo. Over the next few weeks, we’re going to take a closer look at some best-selling stock photos as inspiration for our own shots. Happy holidays!
Your Weekly Breakfast Dish The latest from your Breakfast StockClub Facebook Page
  From Kim Wilson: Just thought I’d share. I was able to request my first payout on iStockphoto today. Actually, it’s my first payout on any stock site and it will more than pay for Breakfast. LOL From Judy Dybwad: I finally followed Bonnie’s directions for finding your photos online and lo and behold, there was one of my images being used in Australia! What fun is that??!!? From Phill Danze: Took the advice of a recent iStock article and “went local” – I sometimes forget I live in a photographic city! Anyway took this whilst out and about and it has sold twice on Shutterstock in less than a week of acceptance; now to replicate this practice. From Chari Paulson: I just got my first three photos accepted at Dreamstime!!! YYYYEEESSSSSS!!!!! From Caroline Maryan: I decided that I was avoiding uploading because my filing system of uploads was chaotic. So, I’ve spent the past few days getting organized. And guess what I learned from this? Out of 50 photos that I have uploaded, only 4 were not accepted anywhere. And they were my first 4 uploads. And, I only tried one site with them. Since then, all my files have been accepted somewhere. How is it possible that I didn’t realize this??? It really makes me feel wonderful and totally motivated to get uploading! 🙂


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