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Do you dream in black-and-white or color? Bonnie here, today. I’ll be filling in for Lori while she’s out on maternity leave. Now, back to my initial question… If you’re over the age of 55 and you had a black-and-white television between the ages of 3 and 10, chances are you dream in black and white — even today. In a 2008 study at Dundee University, U.K., the over-55s who watched black-and-white T.V. as children reported dreaming in black-and-white roughly a quarter of the time. Those who had access to a color T.V. report black-and-white dreams only about 7% of the time. Today, let’s talk about dreaming in full-color… imagining a photograph and then making it happen. When stock photographer Danny Warren gets an idea, this is his first step. And now that he’s had a lot of practice, he can create the photos he wants in 15 minutes or less. This is important, he says, in managing your personal time and your “job” of creating photos that pay for your trips. Below is his story about turning a 30-minute photo-shoot while mountain climbing with his wife into a series of photographs that more than paid for their anniversary weekend at a local bed-and-breakfast… and will likely pay their stay for the next five anniversaries, too! Scroll down to find out how he did it… and see some of the photos he took. THREE STEPS TO CAPTURING A SALEABLE STOCK PHOTO       By Danny Warren in Portland, Oregon Last June, my wife and I celebrated our fifth wedding anniversary by climbing Mt. Hood. As always, I packed my camera — to document our adventure together and because I knew it would be a great opportunity for stock photos. After summiting the peak, we spent 30 minutes taking photos specifically for stock. We were fast and efficient, partly because we were sleep deprived and just wanted to get down (we had climbed all night!) — but mostly because I knew exactly what shots I wanted. After shooting stock for more than five years, I’ve focused on learning what makes photos marketable. Whether it’s mountain climbers, a plate of food, or kids playing, the same characteristics make photos saleable. As a stock photographer, learning why pictures sell is probably the fastest way to increase your sales. Developing an eye for marketability takes time, but these three steps can help get you well on your way. ** 1. Know the golden rule: all strong stock photos have an obvious theme that jumps out at the viewer. A classic beginner mistake is to include too much clutter, which obscures the subject. Try dissecting every element of your photo and figure out if it adds or detracts from the message you’re trying to convey. ** 2. Find stock photos in action. I’ve made it a habit to stop at magazine racks to leaf through stories and ads. Focus on how images complement and enhance the spots they are used. It especially helps to browse media of the same theme you tend to shoot. The photos you see there are your competition, as well as opportunities for your own images in the future. ** 3. Test your own shots with a friend. Take a photo you think might be worthy of stock and show it to a friend. Before you reveal it, ask them to tell you the first three concepts that pop into their head. If themes jump out, your shot has potential! If they hesitate, figure out what was distracting or unclear. That’s it in a nutshell. To put it to work when you’re dreaming up your next photo shoot, ask yourself how and why a designer would use the photo you intend to take. Before you look through the viewfinder, envision the image in a magazine ad. What message will it convey? This is exactly what I did back on my 30-minute photo shoot on Mt. Hood. Before we left the car I knew I wanted to capture the concepts of determination, challenge, and adventure. Apparently it worked this time — this series of images has more than paid for the bed-and-breakfast we went to after our climb. In fact, it will easily cover similar lodging for our next five anniversaries — a welcome reward for recognizing and executing a great stock concept. [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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