Cash for Simple Photos

Turn Your Camera Into a Cash Generator

Dear firstname,

Do you own a camera? (A simple digital “point-and-shoot” counts.)

Do you enjoy taking photos of your family, friends, kids… even pets?

Maybe you like shooting scenery, trees, plants, flowers mountains, farms, buildings, or flowers in your backyard, home town, or nearby natural areas?

How about vacations – do you take snapshots of famous monuments, interesting street scenes, that beautiful beach right outside your window, or the local people you meet?

If you have a camera and answered yes to one or more of the preceding questions… I have good news.

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You can actually turn your hobby into a very fun-to-do profit center. I’m talking a passive income stream of thousands of dollars a month. And all you have to do is… take pictures.

*    You don’t need a fancy, expensive camera, lighting, big lenses, or other equipment. That plain point-and-shoot camera I mentioned earlier is perfect.

*    Forget about setting up a studio or hiring professional models.

*    No training or professional experience is necessary. Although there are some simple techniques I’ll explain in a moment that will make your photos pay off even more.

This little hobby-business is very basic. You simply take pictures and then post them on online stock photo agency websites like iStockPhoto.com. When a customer of that agency downloads your photo – you get paid. And the more photos you have on the site – the more you get paid.

It’s that easy. And because demand for stock photos from magazine publishers, website owners, advertisers, and more is so great, this opportunity is wide open to newcomers. (More on that in a moment.)

Even if all you do is take pictures at home or in your backyard you can still make money. But I’ll show you in just a moment how to take the type of pictures that have stock photo customers downloading left and right – generating thousands in income for you each month… for years to come.

First let me introduce you to an Average Joe who discovered this opportunity a couple of years ago. Today, J.R. makes $2,000 per month solely from “old” photos on stock agency sites. These are photos he’s had online for months or even years. Any new photos he adds just increase his monthly take.

J.R. takes all sorts of photos: his dog, his kids playing in the backyard, spring blossoms in the botanical gardens down the street, simple portraits of friends and family, farmers markets, even hotel rooms. In fact, he’s made hundreds of dollars from a picture he took of the desk and chair in a hotel room he stayed in once.

There’s really no limit to the subjects you can shoot with your camera. To get a good idea of the variety of in-demand stock photos, check out iStockPhoto.com and browse the different categories. You’ll see business, arts and entertainment, babies and children, animals and pets, architecture and buildings, food and drink, nature, sports and fitness… and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Most of the time you’ll take a stock photo here and there. But sometimes there’s an opportunity to really hit a home run and take many photos of the same subject.

For example, recently J.R. shot a friend’s wedding in Rome. He’s not a wedding photographer by any means. Just helping a buddy out. He took close to 100 photos during the wedding day. Some of the happy couple (that look like they could be at any wedding), the ceremony, the reception, the historic sites of the city – close ups, landscapes… you get the idea, a variety.

Soon after he got back home, he uploaded the photos to the stock agency website. And already he’s made close to $6,000. And that’s for a days work.

That more than covered the cost of his trip, with thousands of dollars left over.

J.R. is not alone. Another photographer I know really hit the jackpot. One photo he took of a pumpkin patch near his home has brought in $20,000. Admittedly that is an exceptional case. But it shows the possibilities with this opportunity.

How It Works

So how does J.R. get paid? He gets a cut, between 50 cents and few bucks, every time someone buys one of his photos from a stock site. He gets half the sale price (usually a dollar but as much as $15), the agency gets half.

Doesn’t sound like much. But it adds up as a photo is downloaded again and again. Popular photos can sell hundreds or thousands of times. Plus you’ll have hundreds of photos (thousands after you’ve been at it awhile) on the site, each available for sale.

Upload a bestseller and you could generate hundreds of dollars very quickly – and all you had to do was “click” a button.

“Work” once by snapping a photo and make money years to come… how’s that for passive income?

What Exactly Are Stock Photos?

So where are stock photos used and why are they in such high demand?

You’ve seen tens of thousands of stock photos in your lifetime, probably hundreds today alone. Like I said before, websites, magazine publishers, book publishers, ad agencies… they all prefer using stock photos to illustrate their articles, web pages, and ads because it’s much cheaper than hiring a professional photographer for a custom photo shoot.

Over 16,000 photos are published every day in the U.S., with 40,000 published worldwide – and that’s print media alone. It’s hard to gauge how many photos are used online each day – but it’s safe to say that it trumps the print figure by a factor of 10 at least.

As a stock photographer you’ll be making money from selling your photos and you’ll get the added thrill of seeing your work published in websites, magazines, brochures, and books, as well as on billboards and bus stop ads.

One funny little place you might find your stock photos are inside picture frames you buy at department stores.

Tips for Submitting Profitable Photos

All sorts of subjects make for saleable stock photos. But there are some themes that are generally more popular than others. Here are some subjects to keep in mind as you start working on your photo business:

*    Simple portraits of people are always popular.

*    Festivals and farmers markets offer vibrant color.

*    Textures provide great backgrounds for graphic designers work on websites and book covers. For example, brick roads, peeling paint on a wall, or interesting tile patterns.

Another trick is to check out the “bestsellers” list on a stock photo site. And also do a keyword search for subjects that interest you. Look at how the models are posed and how the shots are composed. A great way to get started is to “model” your own photos on current hot sellers.

Take Stock Photos this Weekend and Start Your New Income Stream

Amateur photographers are definitely welcome on stock photo agency sites. But you’ll increase your chances of submitting profitable photos if you follow a few simple strategies.

*    First, get your camera ready. You’ll want to make sure it takes the highest quality photo possible. Check out your owner’s manual or check online for how to do this.

*    Pick a few subjects that you’ll take pictures of (see the “hot” subjects I just mentioned). Then make time for your photo session.

*    Make sure the photo doesn’t contain any company logos or brand names.

*    Keep things simple. You don’t need elaborate scenes, props, or poses. And make the subject the central focus on the photo – don’t “clutter” the background.

*    Take several photos of the same subject from different angles, with and without flash, with different levels of zoom (from close ups to distance shots). You’ll review them all when you get home to pick the best.

*    Pay attention to lighting – glaring flash or “dark” photos won’t work. This might take some practice.

*    Then get home and upload your photos to your computer. Pick the best, keeping in mind how the photos you’ve checked out on the stock sites looked.

*    Then sign up for one or more stock photo sites like iStockPhoto.com, and submit your photos for review. Not all your photos will be accepted at first. But as you get feedback and practice soon you’ll have dozens and then hundreds and thousands of stock photos for sale.

Put up just 10 photos per week and you can expect to make $500 in a month. That’s $6,000 a year. The more photos you add, the more you make.

You could cover a car payment, pay the bills, or take a vacation. All for just a few hour’s “work.”

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Happy Shooting,

John Hollister

P.S. You’re on your way to a very nice passive income stream… from taking simple photos. Of course, to sell those photos you need to join a stock photo agency. Don’t worry – it’s easy. You don’t have to be a pro photographer or have any experience.

Here are some of the most reputable stock photo agencies:

Resources

www.iStockPhoto.com

www.ShutterStock.com

www.Fotosearch.com

www.Veer.com

www.Dreamstime.com

www.Fotolia.com

www.123RF.com

More Stock Photo Tips

I gave you some basic tips to take saleable stock photos. Here’s some more advice from professional photographers on how to compose great shots.

*    An interview with John Lund, an award-winning stock photographer.

*    National Geographic magazine is well-known for its photos. Here’s a great tutorial they put together on taking portraits and other shots of people.

*    Film and camera maker Kodak also has a great tutorial on taking photos of people, places, nature, and more. Check it out here.

4 Responses

  1. rudy

    Fair article but am disappointed that one of the main requirements has not been pointed out. There are legalities that must be done such as getting releases from all persons that can be identified through facial recognition. Think about this when taking street pictures as this could be almost impossible. Also buildings that identify addresses must also be considered. Without doing this you could get sued which would be a nightmare. Please in fairness let people know this as anything can be lucrative but you need to know all the facts. Rudy

  2. Madan Kumar

    That’s Great news! But i really wonder if an opportunity like this really does exist. I wanna know one thing… I have gone through all the stock photo web sites, but I can’t find where it is written that one can make money while posting photos there.

    pls suggest

  3. League Of Power

    League of Power Replies:

    @ Rudy. No prob. Here you go. Let me know if this works:

    That’s a great point to bring up. But I don’t really think this is a stumbling block at all.

    First, there are plenty of stock photos that do not feature any people at all.

    Second, model releases are part of the stock photo process if you plan to shoot people for your stock photos. But when starting out I recommend you take photos of friends, family, even yourself. You should have no problem securing the model release in those cases.

    Once you have some experience and published photos under your belt you should feel more comfortable approaching strangers about taking their photo. To keep profits up, don’t pay for anybody to “model” for you. It’s not necessary anyway. Really, you can get all the shots you need with people you know.

    As for the requirements for model releases, you’re correct that if you can see the person’s face, you’ll need a release. But you’ll also need one if someone looking at the photo can recognize who the model is, even if you can’t see their face.

    For this reason, as you said, it’s best not to take street photos with many people in them, unless they are far enough away. Most good stock photos won’t be of this sort of street scene anyway. Most stock photos focus in on the subject.

    IStockPhoto publishes a great guidebook with very clear examples of when a release is required. You can check it out here:

    http://www.istockphoto.com/article_view.php?ID=648

    About securing releases for shooting property, including buildings: you do need the owner’s permission. This rule also applies to works of art and other structures. For example, you can’t shoot a picture of a famous sculpture and hope to sell it as a stock photo. And if you shoot a picture of a house that can be recognized, you would need a release. But again, most good stock photos will be much more generic, unless a publication is looking for a picture of say, a famous landmark specifically.

    The article from iStockPhoto above has some information about this as well.

  4. League Of Power

    The League of Power Replies:

    @ Madan. That’s a good question. You would go to the stockphoto website of your choosing and look for a link that says “contribute” or “participate” or “join”. It is going to be slightly different with each company. Click the link, and then follow the appropriate prompts to join. We have provided an example below from istockphoto.com

    Thank you for your questions. If you should have any further questions or comments, just contact us and we will be happy to help.

    http://www.istockphoto.com/sell-stock-photos.php


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