How One Photo Can Keep Paying You for Years

Each October, the German town of Munich celebrates its beer festival. The Germans dress up in traditional costume and there is fun on the streets every evening.

When we arrived it was like a giant party with large beer tents lining the streets. A huge Ferris wheel dominated the middle of the town and the people were out to party.

Munich is a place of old brick architecture and paved stone streets. The older buildings have intricate stone and brick work which is perfect for photography. And that is what I had come to Germany for—to take pictures.

My friends and I had flown into Frankfurt, rented a car and driven to Munich for the festival.

Along the way, we stopped at a lot of small towns to get photos of castles and landscapes and to ask directions. Germany is a beautiful country to photograph and a lot of the images I took are very saleable to stock photography agencies.

I started shooting stock photography after I was laid off from my aircraft repair job from one of the major airlines. I had been taking photographs for my wife who had an events company when someone suggested I try stock photography.

I got some advice from a friend who was doing very well in stock. It was a little different to the kind of shots that I was used to. After my first rejection, my mentor sat me down and went over my photos—showing me what to look for…like composition, focus, and lighting. I learned a few tricks and on my second attempt I sold 11 photos on my first day.

The first year I had a goal to make enough by the end of the year to pay my mortgage.

I almost made it.

I started at the end of February 2009 and by April 2010 I was able to make my mortgage payment from stock photography…and I did so every month after that.

A year later I had doubled my income.

Now I take photos everywhere I go and of almost any subject I can think of. I have got several people started in this business, as well. I know at first it doesn’t look like much at just 25 cents a photo…but it does start to add up fast.

I’m not a big player in the stock photography industry but I have sold over 52,000 images so far just at ShutterStock…and every year my income keeps going up from the year before.

I now show people who are starting out everything I’ve learned over the years…and I tell them about the mistakes I made on the way. It seems to help them get started.

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