Last year my parents gave me some Spotted Dead Nettles to go in the shady part of our garden. They have been doing very well and after four attempts I finally got a picture of them accepted. These flora pictures have been good practice for learning how to get the best out of my macro lens. The main issue when you are this close to the subject is the shallow depth of field. You can increase the DOF in a number of ways. You can increase the ISO but on my camera this means the noise is then too high for stock. You can reduce the aperture and use a tripod at a slower shutter speed. This only works if there is no wind or you have taped the stems to something solid out of the frame. Or if you are lazy like me you can crop the out of focus area to make a greater percentage of the remaining image in focus (two example of this below). This is when having a multi million pixel camera is very useful. You can cut out half the image and still have enough left over to submit for stock. Today I reached $500 of earnings on my Shutterstock account. They sent me an email telling me from now on I will get 0.33c instead of 0.25c per download. That may not sound like much but currently Shutterstock accounts for 85% of my photography earnings and this raise works out as a 32% increase. Not enough to quit the day job but one step closer to that day. In other news I have almost run out of new stock quality images from the Egypt trip and am relying on taking pictures of my back garden to keep the new submissions going.
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