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Do you need a photo studio to take and sell stock photos? Readers have been emailing this question to me a lot over the past two days, since half of the photos from our two Ultimate Stock Photo Workshop attendee successes were taken in our workshop studio shoots. But the answer is no — you absolutely do not need a studio to take and sell stock photos. In fact, the number one best professional photo lighting is bright, flattering, easy to work with, and best of all — free. I’m talking about is good old sunlight. Professional stock photographer Shelly Perry took the majority of her best-selling images outside, including this simple shot that’s earned her over 1,000 downloads on iStock: Photo Light Breakfast Stock Club writer, Bonnie Caton, and I wanted to test this out, so we headed down to the beach after the workshop, where she took some shots of me, my husband, and my daughter. Here are some of the shots — she plans to upload these to four or five different stock agencies when she gets home: Lori Allen Here are a few tips for taking better stock photos in natural light: ** Avoid noon. Try to shoot in the early morning or mid-to-late afternoon, when the light is less intense. ** Watch your backgrounds. When shooting outdoors, Shelly told us, keep the horizon line at about shoulder-level, where it’s less distracting than at face-level. Also, make sure there aren’t any identifiable people in the background. Check for trees or other objects that appear to be coming out of your subjects’ heads, too. ** Use your blinking highlights. It’s easier to get your exposure right if you turn on your camera’s blinking highlights. That way, if areas of your photo are over-exposed, they’ll blink, letting you know you should fix your exposure right away. Check your camera manual to find out how to turn blinking highlights on. — Lori Lori Allen Director, Great Escape Publishing [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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