As I snuggled into bed for the night, I grabbed my warm water bottle, closed my wild eyes, and enjoyed the fresh breeze and complete silence the Serengeti offered me for one serene instant.
A second later, my eyes snapped back open to the thunderous roars of the king of the jungle. Every hair on my body stood up. The adrenaline pumped through my veins. And, I’ll admit, my brain may have had a thought about lions tearing through the tent to eat me.
Luckily, that feeling quickly passed, evolving into an excitement describable only as the closest feeling an adult can have to being a child and waking up to a mound of presents under the Christmas tree.
In that moment, I knew those lions were out there waiting for ME. My brain was already making photos.
Hearing those roars is just ONE of the magnificent moments I thank my lucky stars for every day.
Over the last year, I have been splitting my time between Alaska and Africa as a full-time photographer. It’s a far cry from where I started just six years ago.
As a bright-eyed and bushy-tailed amateur, I don’t think anyone at the Ultimate Money-Making Photography Workshop in Phoenix would ever have pegged me to sell a single photo. I literally googled what settings I needed for every photo I wanted to make, and then asked my husband to set them in the camera.
After taking what I learned at this workshop and putting it to use, I went from “dodo” to “damn, girl!” I generated $30,000 from my images in just a couple of years as a very part-time photographer still working a full-time retail job. But more importantly, I gained the confidence, knowledge, and freedom to step into the career I was meant for. It has afforded me the opportunities to take on personal photography projects, give back through conservation causes that matter, and travel to destinations most people only dream of.
The lion photo above is one of my favorites, but I also have simple photos like these in my portfolio…
Some of the biggest secrets to my successes are these three tips that anyone can do to get started improving their photography and selling images today!
#1. STUDY. Train your eye by studying photos you find beautiful: online, in magazines, anywhere you can find them. Study sales trends on stock sites. Study what’s selling at local—as well as online—art galleries. Study new and challenging photography techniques. There is always something you can learn.
#2. ASK. Never be afraid to ask. Ask for help. Ask for opportunities. Ask to join groups. Ask local businesses to hold an art show for you. Ask friends, family, and businesses if they need great art for their walls. Every little success I have had is because I swallowed my fear and asked someone.
#3. GET OUT THERE. Join groups. Carry your camera and tell people you are a photographer. Keep your all-time best favorites handy on your phone… that’s what those 256 gigabytes are for! Hang your photos on your walls. Upload to stock agencies. Post teasers on social media. Be proud of your work, and don’t be afraid to share it with the world!