getting started in stock photography

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Motivation doesn’t always strike at the most opportune or convenient times.

If you ask successful people what motivates them, they may not have a satisfying answer. Sometimes it’s just a leap of faith and you give it your best shot.

The people who write in to tell us about their successes are everyday folks from a variety of careers and backgrounds who decided to just go for it. They found the time to get started, and so can you.

Today we’ll hear from Caroline Dollemore and Jeff Kontur – two fellow readers who love collecting stock photo income. Read their tips on getting started in stock photography, below…

>>>>Photo Success Case Study #7: Caroline Dollemore

Professional background: Controller for a construction companygetting started in stock photography

Main photo market: Stock photography

See her portfolio here  

What’s been the most rewarding thing about adding photography to your repertoire?

The most rewarding thing is that photography spurs my memory. Things that I did, people I met, and places I’ve seen – they all come back to life when I review my photographs. 

So, maybe the photograph itself didn’t make the “cut” in terms of stock, but it made the grade for being published on my blog/website or as a reminder for a blog/story I needed to write. 

I love seeing my work on my blog – seeing my pictures online…and someday, just maybe, I will do this for work, as well as pleasure.

What’s the most recent photo you’ve sold?

By getting started in stock photography, you can make money from photos wherever you go

I’ve sold a number of photographs since getting into a few stock agencies. 

One was of the Central California coast, just outside of Cambria – a scenic photo of California poppies against the rocky shoreline. The other, more popular shot of mine (above) was taken on a Great Escape photography expedition to Istanbul. It was shot inside Suleymaniye Mosque – a beautiful image taken at floor level of the entire prayer floor.

What would you tell someone who is hesitant to give photography a try?

Don’t be shy! It’s a lot to take on, as there are so many things to learn and practice.  Although I may not have had an enormous amount of financial success just yet, I have met people and been to places I would not have otherwise. 

I have pulled my hair out in frustration. I have spent hours at the computer learning new software. I have cursed at myself for failing to do X, Y or Z.  But in the end, I wouldn’t trade what I’ve learned, what I’ve done, and what I may do – not for anything.

Photo Success Case Study #8: Jeff Kontur

Professional background: Marketing strategist and freelance copywritergetting started in stock photography

Main photo market: Stock photography

See his profile here: JeffKontur Stock Image and Video Portfolio – iStock 

What’s been the most rewarding thing about adding photography to your repertoire?

I have been taking photos for nearly 30 years, so I’m not sure how fair it is to say that I’ve “added” it to my repertoire. 

Taking pictures is simply in my blood. What I have added to my repertoire is making money from them. Throughout the ’80s and into the early ’90s, I tried my hand at several different kinds of professional photography but found that intense competition and evolving technology made it a hard way to make a living. So, I gave up that pursuit for many years. 

What I didn’t know was that there are many ways of making money with photography that I had never considered. Great Escape taught me a bunch, and I started dabbling in a few of them in just the past couple of years – with pretty good results so far.

What’s the most recent photo you’ve sold?

getting started in stock photography
Getting started in stock photography is as easy as taking a minute to shoot your meal (before eating).

I had to look it up since I mainly only sell through stock photo agencies these days. This photo was taken in September 2016 on a trip to Amsterdam. 

It’s vegetarian eggs Benedict that I had for breakfast one morning. I eat really well when I travel, so I usually take photos of my food before I eat it. This breakfast was so photogenic that I uploaded 8 photos of it to stock agencies, and the images have been selling.

What would you tell someone who is hesitant to give photography a try?

What is there to be frightened of? A camera won’t hurt you. Like any complex skill – and yes, cameras these days can be very complex with all their various buttons and menu options – it can take time to become good at it. Just get some training, read up on the subject, and practice. 

Thankfully, unlike in the old film days, practice is free. Take as many shots as you want.

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