Picture of a Lightning Strike – Creating A Conceptual/Fine Art Stock Photo with Adobe Photoshop

Siri Stafford, my art director at Getty Images at the time, suggested this stock image for me to create. She asked me to make the image because she thought my specialty of using Photoshop to create conceptual stock images made me a logical choice for the job. I truly loved the idea; but what the heck would lightning hitting a tree really look like? I turned to that technological development that has so radically changed the world of commercial photography...the internet. I simply typed in to Google's image search "lightning and tree". In just a few minutes I had found some obviously amateur images…but ones that were nonetheless stunning actual images of lightning hitting trees. Now I had something to work towards.

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Picture of the Devil - Creating a Stock Photo in Photoshop

In coming up with stock photo ideas I always try and make it a practice to look at the opposite of whatever idea I am working on. It was natural then that when I had just completed an angel image for a magazine assignment (Design Graphics out of Australia) when the idea of doing the Devil as a stock image presented itself. I love it when I can come up with an image that can have a lot of impact, fills a real need in the image world, and costs little to nothing to produce. In this case I had the perfect model…me! I knew from years of looking into the mirror each morning I knew that I would make a very good Devil. I also knew I could create an environment for the Devil with little to no expenses…and just shoot it in my studio which meant that it would be convenient too.

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Dragon Pictures - Creating a Stock Photograph of a Fire Breathing Dragon in Photoshop

When I was young I constantly doodled.  I doodled a lot of things…but mainly I doodled dragons.  Fast forward a number of years…well…a whole lot of years…and my twin brother is showing me pictures of his pet iguana…pretty cool looking creature….  Then it occurs to me…what a perfect dragon the iguana would make…and now I had the ultimate doodle tool…Photoshop!

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To sell stock photos you must first have an idea, then execute it properly.

To succeed at selling stock you need three things: Ideas, execution, and distribution. We will save getting distribution channels for another time, but in the following I will outline my step by step approach to coming up with ideas, determining if they are appropriate for my stock efforts, for and insuring that I get the ideas done and off to the distributors.

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Properly Shooting Stock Photography in Foreign Countries is Fun and Profitable

Shooting stock images abroad can be both fun and profitable.  All it requires is a plan, preparation, and the ability to stay open and flexible.  I stumbled on a system my first time out that has continued to work for me.  It is pretty simple really. There’s no reason it can’t work for you too.

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Royalty Free, Rights Managed, Micro Stock - Stock Photography Pricing

Looking for a photo for your business?  Maybe you need an image for an important national campaign, maybe for a flyer or perhaps a photo to liven up your web site.  Whatever you might need a photograph for…there are millions of them out there waiting for you to choose.  In the world of stock photography there are three major categories to choose from.  You can license images as Rights Managed, Royalty Free or Micro Stock.

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Hindu Gods - The Hindu God Ganesha - Picture and the Story of Ganesh

Ganesha, or Ganesh, is perhaps the most beloved of Hindu Gods…and with little wonder as he is the God of Prosperity, The Remover of All Obstacles (Avighna), the Lord of all Gods (Ganapati), and the Bestower of Success (Siddhivinayaka).  He is the son of Shiva and Pavrati. Lord Ganesha actually has many other names as well, but these will suffice for now. Ganesha is portrayed with multiple arms and hands. It is, in fact, taboo to show him with only two arms.  In most illustrations Ganesha has four arms but can also be portrayed with up to sixteen or even twenty.  His arms hands and arms are held in symbolic gesture or they are holding symbolic items. Some of the objects are also placed at his feet. The sacred -elements range from fruit and flowers to tools and weapons and have primarily a spiritual significance. Different sources, however, do have varying interpretations of the symbolic meanings…the ones I have chosen here are the most often referred to.  We will save the myriad of fascinating stories of Ganesha for another chapter.
 

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Stock Photography…the Highest Form of Commercial Photography

Stock photography has always been considered the ugly stepchild of commercial photography.  Originally stock photos consisted of out-takes from assignments…the “seconds” if you will.  The strategy for success for a stock shooter was to get as much content into the collection as possible…not a methodology for gaining a reputation for quality!

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Pictures of Dog Breeds - Shooting Stock Photos of Miniature Poodles

Taking pictures of many types of dog breeds in my work as a stock photographer has provided me an opportunity to work with both large and small dog breeds and a number of poodle breeds.  I've worked with teacup poodles, miniature poodles, standard poodles, etc.

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Dominatrix Pictures - Photo Shoot and Photoshop

Ever since I began working with computers I have had a love-hate relationship with them.  At times I even feel, well, dominated by technology.  It was this paradoxical concept that I set out to illustrate for a stock photograph with the Dominatrix image.

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Female Photography - Photographing the Human Body

It is only recently that I have dipped my toe into the waters of fine art photography, and even more recently that I have tried my hand at capturing the female body in photography.  I have been reluctant to do so at least in part because I didn’t feel I had much to contribute to that genre.  It is hard to think of subject more photographed than the female form…sensual or otherwise.  From nudes in the woods to the naked female form on motorcycles…it seems it has all been done before, and yet, as an artist, I have always felt compelled to explore, shall we say, tasteful photography of the female body.

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Picture of a Wrecking Ball produced with Adobe Photoshop

Out with old, in with the new!  That is the concept behind my concept stock photo "Wrecking Ball".  But perhaps more importantly, the image is a good illustration of the fact that the "imagined" image can be more powerful than the literal one.  In stock photography I certainly believe it is true that “perception” is more important than “reality”!  I believe the viewer is more comfortable and more accepting of an image that fits their mental picture…and let’s face it…so many times reality just does not live up to what we picture in our heads.  Also, when a viewer sees an image and it matches their perception of something they can quickly, in their thinking, move onto the message…rather than using their subconscious process to fit the reality into their pre-conceived notions.  At any rate, in my experience, catering to preconceptions seems to work well in conceptual stock photography.

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Pictures of Cows - Being creative taking pictures of cows.

I have photographed a Lion, a Tiger, a baboon, chickens, eagles, mice, turtles, dogs and cats, elephants and more…but the hardest animals for me to shoot for my animal antics series of images are…cows! Yes, creating funny cow pictures is one of the hardest things for me to do. Cow transformation is not easy.

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Pictures of Lions - The King of Beasts

“Better stand back a little, you are in his strike zone,” the animal trainer told me.  I looked down at the lion cub…he probably weighed close to 200 lbs.  I stepped back a few more feet.  Someday Truman, (the lion cub’s name), would weigh over five hundred pounds and would truly be an impressive animal.  Right now I am at the animal trainer’s compound to shoot a baboon…so the lion will have to wait.

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Pictures of the Great Wall of China

Taking pictures of the Great Wall of China was one of those peak experiences, one of the primary reasons I travel. The sense of history was almost palpable; the only sound the chirping of a few birds.

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Shooting Stock Photos in the Himalayas – A Travel Adventure Photo-Shoot


Ladakh is one of those rare places that seems to have come only lately to the modern world.  The women still wear the traditional dress, though the men are rapidly moving to western dress beneath the ubiquitous woolen robes.


 




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Pictures of Snakes - Taking Stock Photos in Mumbai, India

The cobra swayed ever so slightly as he twisted his head from side to side eyeing us cautiously.  Camera glued to my eye, I edged a bit closer, snapping off frames, playing with the composition. The snake struck the side of my face before I even knew what was happening.  I fell backward, away from the blow, my heart pounding.  Even though I knew that the de-fanged snake was harmless, adrenaline was coursing through my veins!

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Getting Started in Stock Photography: Choosing Your Stock Photo Equipment Correctly

Let’s say you have made the commitment to join the world of stock photography, you have an excuse, and a valid one, to go out and buy some photography gear.  What I will share with you here is not necessarily the perfect answer as what to get, but what does work for me.  I can give you some guidelines, and tips, but in every case you will need to take into consideration your own situation, what and how you will be shooting, what your budget constraints are and a host of other personal considerations.

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Selling and Marketing Your Stock Photo Images


Those of us who have been in the game for a lengthy period of time have difficulty with these changes, but I am convinced that in the long run the changes will offer more opportunity than ever before.


The downside is that some of us won’t be able to adapt, and indeed, the new playing field has been leveled as never before.  The Internet is changing everything.


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Pictures of Money - Lots of Different Kinds of Money Pictures

I’ve photographed a ton of money over the last thirty years.  I have photographed money coming out of faucets, being thrown in the air, squeezing through an hourglass, covering a planet, as jigsaw puzzles and serving as a flying carpet. I have Photoshoped money trees and coins exploding out of piggy banks.  I have made pictures of money being stretched, filling shopping carts and being raked into piles. I have pictures of money on trees, pictures of piles of money and pictures of stacks of money. I have pictures of money from around the world including, English pounds, Italian Lira, Japanese yen, German marks and, of course, Euros. Heck, I have even created an animated stock footage clip of “raining money”!

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Using a Sailboat Stock Image and PhotoShop to Make a Unique New Hot Stock Photo

I am always on the look out for source material. While walking along a pedestrian path along the shore of San Francisco bay I encountered a sailboat that had broken loose from its mooring and was beached while the tide was out. I didn't know how I was going to use it, but I photographed the boat any way, and from a variety of angles.

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Selling Your Photos as Greeting Cards

A little over seven years ago I approached a greeting card company about starting a line of greeting cards.  The planets must have been aligned right because the company agreed to give it a try…and it worked!  We sell hundreds of thousands of cards a year through out the world.  The images have also been used in gift books, printed on checks, used on calendars, posters, journals and even coffee mugs.  Through this experience I have learned a few things, which I now hope to pass on to you.

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Funny Monkey Pictures - Stock Photos and Pictures of Monkeys

During the course of my never ending quest to find and illustrate every applicable cliché for my stock photo business it occurred to me that shooting a baboon might be more fun than a barrel of monkeys!  Seriously, I decided a great image would be a monkey on a businessman’s back.  I could create a cool concept image and then round out the shoot with assorted funny monkey pictures.

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Tiger Pictures - Shooting a Tiger for Stock

The tiger’s name is Safari.  He is beautiful.  Not yet fully grown, he still weighs over 400 lbs.  I had recently asked an animal trainer who I knew worked with him if she had worked with him lately.  She answered that some people found the possibility of death exciting, but she didn’t.  Right now, I was lying on my back looking up at the tiger, and he was looking down at me.  He casually reached out with a huge paw and tapped me on the side of my head, then turned his attention to a large chunk of raw meat that had been placed on the platform expressly to draw his attention away from me.

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Starting a Stock Photo Career


I firmly believe that now is the most exciting time ever to be a photographer, and to be shooting stock.  There are more tools and more opportunities than ever before. The playing field has been leveled.  The demand for stock images, and consequently stock photography, is exploding.


Of course, there is more competition than ever before, a glut of photography in the market place, and tremendous downward pressure on prices.  Still, over all, I believe the opportunities outweigh the difficulties.  Let’s take a look at some ways to get a stock career going in these exciting times.


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Filling Small Business Needs in Stock Photography

Small business is anything but small in our economy.  Small businesses represent over 99 percent of firms with employees.  They generate almost half of the total private payroll in the United States and have generated sixty to eighty percent of all new jobs per year for the last ten years.  It is also interesting to note that fifty-three percent of small businesses in the U. S. are home based.

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Stock Photography - Creating Stock Photos with Strategic Alliances


“Strategic alliances are becoming increasingly important”.  Can’t remember where I saw that quote, but it struck at the time, several years ago, as being an important one.  With every passing month it seems to me the truth in those words increases.  


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Photography Tips from a Pro on Shooting in Low Light

When shooting in low light situations there are a number of things to consider ranging from equipment options, to ISO settings, to improvised camera support.  I will go over all the factors that I take into consideration when dealing with low light levels.  Since I am sharing my own approach and experience I think it is a good idea to give you a little background on what I shoot and what equipment I use.

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The Power of Positive

I’ve heard it said that if you believe you will succeed, or if you believe you will fail, you are right.  There is a lot of truth in that.  I have also heard it said, that as photographers, it is our responsibility to lead society.  As I write this we are in what is described as the worst recession since the great depression.  It feels as if all the news is doom and gloom.  I find myself being more careful in my spending, pulling back and even taking on a bit of a siege mentality.  Now the more we all do that, the worse our economy is going to get.  What can we, as stock photographers, do to help?  We can stay positive and we can make positive images.

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Funny Pictures - Funny Pics of Animals and People

It took me a long time to first delve into the creation of funny pictures.  Almost fifteen years into my career, to be exact.  A big part of that evolution was the advent of the digital world and Photoshop.  As a matter of fact, Photoshop came along at a perfect time for me and opened up a whole new world.  It was early 1990 and my business had hit the wall.  It was like someone turned off the faucet.  1989 was, at that point, the best year I had ever had.  I could barely keep up with the assignments!  But our economy took a dive and my business went along with it.  One of my clients went from a staff of 24 to only five people in a six-month span of time.

 


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Stock Photos - Bumbles, Blunders and Bad Luck!

Over the years I have had my share of near disasters, mistakes and lessons learned (or not).  I guess it all started back in the early seventies when the train hit my camera.  I was just starting out at the time and wanted to shoot a dramatic shot of a speeding train for my portfolio.  I went to the local camera store and talked them into loaning me a 20mm Nikkor wide-angle lens.  I set my camera up on a tripod near the tracks, real near the tracks.

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Crowd sourcing, Micro stock, and money!

Micro stock seems to be taking over the world of stock. Not just in still photography either.  In the last year more video content has been made available over You Tube than in the previous sixty years of material created by the big three television channels.  Now it seems as if every stock agency is announcing new video collections. If you read the forums you’ll find out that a lot of the new “creators” of stock don’t even care that much about money!  Many of them, and perhaps rightfully so, spurn the pressure associated with making money and would rather just enjoy seeing their images being used.  Many more are quite content just earning enough to buy that new lens.

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Stock Photos: Creating a conceptual image!

As with so many of my images it has taken two years from the inception of my idea to the final execution.  Why so long?   I wish I knew!  I think I get this belief that an idea is going to be really difficult to create, then I procrastinate.  As it turns out, this image was easy to do.

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The (Information) Road to Stock Photography Success


I was looking at everystockphoto.com this morning.  It is a search engine devoted to finding free stock photos.  It got me thinking.  What is the most precious thing we have?


Well, health aside, it is time.  Time, in a sense, is on our side.  The number of stock photos, free and otherwise, is burgeoning and is only going to increase.  The more photos there are, the longer it is going to take to find the one that is right for a given use and client.  Flicker (which everystockphoto.com accesses) has, for example, at the time of this writing, over 2 billion images.  Let’s see, at three seconds per image, to see them all it would take over... oh never mind. So you need a stock photo, and you don’t have much money, so you start looking at free stock photos.


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Photographers - Use Your Photo Shoot Estimate as a Selling Tool

Your estimate is an opportunity to help you get better jobs, to do a better job on each assignment, and to put your career on the fast track to success.  How can your estimate do all those things?  Your estimate can guide you to a well thought-out approach to an assignment, it can set you apart from your competition, it can insure that you have the resources to do the job to the best of your ability, and finally, an estimate can make sure that you are building a quality reputation rather than one that speaks of mediocrity or even worse.

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How to Generate Effective Ideas for Stock Photos

Successfully competing in the world of stock photos requires great ideas, superior execution, and effective distribution.  In this article we will take a look at the “ideas” part of the equation.  Having a great idea is the foundation of stock photography production, as it makes both the execution and the distribution easier.  If you have an idea that is needed in the market place and gets you excited about doing it, it is hard to imagine that you won’t do well.  Great ideas combined with superior execution will certainly make getting distribution easier. Coming up with great ideas is a simple, three-step process:  Intention, practice and retention.

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Blend Images - A Modern Day Stock Photo Agency Success Story

In March of 2004 a new experiment began in the stock photography industry.  A group of the industry’s top shooters got together and founded Blend Images.  This new agency specializes in producing images celebrating ethnic diversity.  The need for ethnically diverse content permeates the stock industry…every agency needs it.  Blend Images was created to address that need, and does that with an exemplary roster of photographers.  As Rick Becker Leckrone, Blend Images CEO, puts it, “We only brought in top selling stock shooters to start Blend, and we’re really choosy with whom we offer contracts to shoot for Blend

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Taking Pictures of Backgrounds For Producing, and As Great Stock Photos

The author, a long time professional stock photographer discusses the importance of backgrounds in stock photos, how to shoot them and the immense need for them.  He provides the user with useful examples and shooting tips.

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How to Shoot Successful Lifestyle Stock Photos -- Ethnic & People Stock Photos Are Always Needed

Despite the glut of images in the world of stock photography, there is still a huge and ongoing need for well done, relevant, lifestyle stock photos.  In addition to the ever expanding market and the need to address changing fashions, there are still large holes in the libraries of agencies.

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Diversify Your Stock Photo Business - Selling Photos on Mugs, T Shirts, and Printed Merchandise!

To succeed in today’s insanely competitive world of stock photography it is vital to have your photos seen. No matter how great your pictures are is if no one sees them, they aren’t going to sell.  In this article I will share a strategy for getting your images seen, for getting effective distribution and for strengthening your business through diversification.

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Beginner Photography Tips - Understanding the Role of Aperture


Beginner photography tips. Have you ever wondered why the shot that looked so good through the viewfinder just doesn't look right when you view it later? 


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Beginner Photography Tips - Five Quick Tips For Great Pet Photography


If you can keep the three following tips in mind while photographing your pet you can almost be assured of a satisfying result. You can use these tips as a springboard to ever more sophisticated and creative pet portraiture.


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Turning Doctor Visits Into Hot Selling Medical Stock Photos

Your life can be a great source of inspiration for your stock photography.  I am going to provide a number of examples of how I have used my life experiences including visits to the doctor and even my own surgeries to directly benefit my stock photo career. Stock pictures are all around us, but often we just fail to realize it.  If you can stay aware and observant you will find your own life can provide some great inspiration, locations, models and more.

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Selling Stock Photos to the Largest Market of All

The largest market for stock photography is one that most photographers would not immediately think of.  The largest market for stock photography is the consumer.  Tapping into this huge market can be done with a simple three-step process.  You have to have images that the consumer wants and or needs, you need to make those images available to the consumer, and you have to promote the pictures.

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Creating A Successful Concept Stock Photo

One way to succeed in stock photography is to create concept photos that fill a need for lifestyle or business uses, and provide a strong enough visual impact to grab a viewer’s attention.   In this article I will take you through the process from idea to completed image sharing my process for coming up with ideas, my criteria for a successful stock photo, my shoot methodology, and an overview of my post-shoot digital imaging techniques.

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Choosing the Right Stock Photo for Your Small Business

Finding a picture to advertise or promote your business can be distilled down to a three step process.  First, determine exactly what your goals for the picture are. Second, find the image you need. Third, complete the transaction.


We will take a look at each of these three steps and provide some guidelines for successfully navigating the process of finding and securing the use of the best image to promote your business.




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Making A Living At Stock Photography

To make a good living at creating and licensing stock photography you need two things.  You need a body of high caliber images that are relevant to the market place, and you need effective distribution. It has never been easier to get started in stock photography, but in recent years it has also become increasingly difficult to earn a good living from it.  The market is simply saturated by images with literally millions of additional images becoming available each year.  There are more images available online at this time than a person could ever look at.  The premier problem becomes getting your images seen by those who are looking to license images.  That is where distribution comes in.

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Choosing the Right Concept Stock Photo For Your Business

When was the last time a page of type caught your eye? Whether in print, on a billboard, or on the Internet, getting people to stop and read your message is paramount. Photographs provide a quick, universal and powerful message.  The right photo can get a viewer to stop and read that all-important copy.   On the Internet it can be even more important to have an image that reads quickly and clearly even at thumbnail size.  Finding the right photograph to advertise your business can be the most crucial step to success with your enterprise.

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Handshake Photos and Pictures for use in Advertising and Business Communications


Pictures of handshakes are ubiquitous. They are one of the most common of business concept stock photos. And most of those photographs are, to put it gently, not exactly scintillating. But images of handshaking fills an important need in the business communications world.


Photos of handshakes, the all too familiar clasping of hands in a display of unity, agreement and friendship are still an effective way of portraying important business concepts.
 


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Beautiful and unusual Pictures of Lighthouses and Lighthouse Images with Beacons and Stormy Seas.

Pictures of a lighthouse are ubiquitous. Pictures of lighthouses range from serene sunsets to images of lighthouses in raging storms. Lighthouse pictures can show short squat lighthouses or shots of lighthouses that are tall, slender and majestic.

Most lighthouse pics are shot by tourists and show the lighthouse in the middle of the day, under placed conditions and with little or none of the splendor or majesty that they deserve. In this article we have put together a collection of lighthouse photos that surely do these historic structures justice.


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Animal Antics Line of Humorous Greeting Cards - Funny Pictures of Animals Doing Wild and Crazy Human Things!


Animal Antics Line of Humorous Greeting Cards - Funny Pictures of Animals Doing Wild and Crazy Human Things!


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Adding Motion Footage to Your Stock Photography Shoots

Why shoot motion for Stock?  The primary reason, from a business perspective, is that motion is a growing and lucrative segment of the stock photography market.  The use of motion is exploding.  We see it everywhere, from the gasoline pump to billboards to pervasive use on the Internet. Every major, and quite a few minor, stock agencies are now offering footage.  In a recent survey of stock photographers who participate in both motion and still photography, all but one respondent indicated that stills sales were dropping while motion sales were on the rise.  In my own experience five out of my top twenty selling stock images over the first quarter of this year were film clips!

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Massage Cats: Journey Of A Funny Cat Picture

The journey began with senior art director Collette Kulak.  We have collaborated for many years on the Animal Antics line of greeting cards. The cards feature animals in humorous anthropomorphic poses. Every few months we would create a new batch of images for the greeting card line, and in this batch one image stood out, massage cats.  We always work from a layout, and in this layout one cat was wearing a turban-wrapped towel and lay on a massage table receiving a massage from another.

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Funny Pictures Of Animals - Funny Pictures of Cats, Kittens, Dogs, Elephants, Cows, Puppies and More

Laughter reduces our cravings for food, reduces stress, strengthens the immune system, increases our threshold for pain and in large enough quantities even provides a workout!  But even more, laughter is about social relationships…it is about communicating shared understanding and approval.  It is about intimacy. If you’ve ever been to an online dating service you know one of the most sought-after qualities is the ability to “make me laugh”.

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Funny Cats and Cute Kittens - Pictures of Cute Cats Doing Funny Things

If I have learned anything about cats through my photography sessions with them, it is that they are only motivated by one thing…food!  I have to admit that even though they are difficult to shoot, they certainly are fun to work with.  Fun, that is, if you aren’t in a hurry!  As with photographing any animals, patience is paramount.  I am always amazed at the number of different expressions I can get from cats if I just exercise a little patience, and the proper treats!

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Wild and crazy elephant pictures. These amazing photos of elephants will astound you!

It's simply incredible what you can do with high quality photographs of elephants and back drops when you know your way around Photoshop.  Here is proof that these incredible creatures can fly, walk tightropes and even disco dance!

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Pictures of funny animals photographed doing the most amazing things!

I have been shooting pictures of funny animals for advertising clients, corporations, designers and magazines for 30 years. Much of it has been serious work with large budgets and copious amounts of pressure.  I have had repeat clients who appreciate my ability to perform for them.  But it wasn’t until I started creating the funny animal pictures that I could actually see that I brought something positive to people’s lives.

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Funny Dogs - Cute Puppies - Cute Dog Pictures - The Funniest Pictures on the Net


Photographing dogs is never boring…and seldom easy, even with cute puppies. While dogs consistently want to please they often are completely at a loss as to what is wanted from them during a photo shoot. Some breeds have too much energy, some too little. Some dogs are so alert that any extraneous noise becomes a distraction while others are so laid back that getting an alert look seems impossible.  To insure a successful shoot takes preparation, patience…and a professional animal trainer!

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