Earn a Passive Income with Stock Photography
Amy Muschik writing on stock photography…
The loons are calling as I sit looking over the peaceful lake from my family’s cottage deck with a camera in one hand and a coffee in the other. This doesn’t seem much like work to me…yet I can potentially generate income from the photos I take this morning.
I have not always been a photographer. Most of my career was spent in advertising sales…but photography sounded like so much more fun. When I began thinking about retirement income, I decided to take a photography workshop. Now I’m building a passive income stream, uploading my photos to stock agencies, where they sell over and over again.
Before I started, I had never taken anything more than vacation photos and family snapshots. The idea of making money from selling simple photos was appealing though, so I began submitting photos to stock agencies. To my surprise I was accepted to most stock sites on the first try, and within a week I had made my first sale.
Spurred on by the confidence this gave me, I tried my hand at some company-sponsored photo contests and won a year’s supply of dog food…as well as a couple of cash prizes totaling over $2,000.
There are certainly better photographers than me…but I soon realized that you don’t need to have the most beautiful, complicated, and artistic photos to make money in stock photography. What you need are well composed photos that are useful. Some of my most successful photos are very simple. For example, I have made over $500 for this shot of the cottage deck after a summer rain.
Taking photos of everyday things I like to do has also paid off for me. Cooking is something I enjoy and when my photos got the attention of a marketing director, I was offered the chance to do a series of photo essays for the website of a major food brand. Food also sells well for stock. I added this photo to my portfolio recently and it has already sold over 100 times.
My family is the subject of many of my best-selling photos, so I had to laugh when a neighbor stopped my husband to ask him if he is a model, after seeing his photo on a banner at a local retail store. My husband’s favorite moment, though, was when a photo of him showed up on Bob Villa’s website. He is a big fan of “This Old House.”
The great part of stock photography is that once the photos have been uploaded to the agency, there is no more work to do. I take photos of what I like, when I like…and the agency does all the selling and sends me the money.
I have sold photos for use by companies such as Purina, Petro Canada, M&M Meats, Maple Leaf Foods, and Kellogg’s. I have had my work published in numerous publications such as Readers Digest, The Toronto Sun, Disney online, and GQ style. One of my photos was even used by Jimmy Fallon on the Tonight Show.
I’m still taking those vacation shots…but now I shoot with purpose, considering how my photos can be used, and I maximize income from my trip. I have sold many of my travel photos for use on websites and blogs, and recently licensed one of my vacation photos to a glossy International magazine for $250.
Selling photos of activities I like doing anyway is a dream come true, and I am so excited to have found this opportunity.
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