Taking stock photos

Photos: Thinkstock

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Those scenic photos you took of your hike at the Grand Canyon can live beyond your "Vacation, All I Ever Wanted" Facebook album. Some sites, such as Shutterstock and iStockphoto, accept amateur shots and will pay you every time one of your images is downloaded. At Shutterstock, that's anywhere from 25 cents to $120, and at iStockphoto, it's 15 percent of the selling price—though that number can climb to 45 percent if you meet their requirements to become an exclusive member.

Both companies offer a guide to shooting images they're more likely to accept, and by extension, are more likely to be downloaded. Shutterstock lists lighting, composition and focus as three top reasons a photo is rejected, and encourages contributors to use a tripod and avoid cropping photos too closely—most people buying the images want the flexibility to determine how the photo is framed.

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