As a stock photographer and writer, my income has been hit and miss. That said, I think it would be helpful to post how much money I have been able to earn as well as be transparent. Hopefully this will help you see just how hard it is to start, but also see the tremendous growth potential as you increase your sales and fine tune your skills. Keep in mind that I have been a full time stay at home mom. My focus to this point, really, has been on my children and raising them.
I have loved photography since I was a little girl. I got my first camera when I was eight (110 point and shoot) and over the years have been able to upgrade to the Canon 5D Mark ii (I am saving up for the Canon 5D Mark iii).
One day I was talking to my sister and showing her all my photos. She said, “You know, you could earn money for those photos!” I thought, “Why not?” Little did I know just how long and hard that journey would be.
It took my 6 months to finally be accepted to the Shutterstock stock agency. At the time of this writing, you have to submit 10 photos for review. 7 out of 10 need to be accepted in order for you to be able to join Shutterstock. Seeing as I didn’t HAVE to work or depend upon this income, I kept reapplying (I think I had to wait a month before resubmitting). After rejections followed by more rejections, I wasn’t sure if it was worth my time. I told my hubby Dave, “I’m going to try ONE MORE TIME and that’s it!” It was my lucky day! I was accepted to Shutterstock in August of 2011 and made 2 whopping sales!
My favorite photo sale was of the misty morning. I remember waking up, walking outside and seeing this incredible mist falling upon the fresh fallen snow. It was IN MY BACKYARD! I used an “aged photo” setting in Adobe Lightroom.
The other photo I sold was of the baby robins in their nest. Honestly, I was really lucky to capture this picture. The robins built their nest in our swing set and I was able to capture them opening up their little beaks to eat. So precious!
So here is August’s Income Report for 2011 (I am going to refrain from expenses for now in these reports as $10,000 of camera equipment up front really isn’t the best way to show a profit:)):
AUGUST 2011 INCOME:
CreateSpace: $41.92 (self published cookbook); €1.49 (European Market) ($1.62 in dollars)
TOTAL AUGUST 2011 INCOME: $44.04
And thus began the “journey to wealth” of the lowly author and stock photographer!