How to Earn Cash From Your Photos

I was born in Vancouver, British Columbia and moved to Calgary when I was about 25 years of age. I started my own business about 15 years ago, doing project management for large IT projects. Project work was challenging and always interesting—which also happens to be what I love about photography.

I’ve been making images since I was a kid and got a camera for Christmas. I never really made a leap into photography—it’s something that has always been a part of my life. When I transitioned from my work life into retirement I looked for ways to develop my photography into an income stream.

Before I retired, my job required too much face time to be considered portable. I always said that I would like to develop something that could be done on a wire, as we travel extensively. Photography is just that.

I am happy to shoot pretty much anything I am asked for or see an opportunity to do. I have shot a number of weddings as well as some kids sports, but the majority is travel related. I just returned from the Okanagan area of British Columbia where I had the opportunity to photograph the magnificent fall beauty of several of the wineries there.

I like to shoot wildlife when I get the opportunity and because we have been able to travel extensively my library contains images from well over 20 different countries, all over the world.

We have traveled a great deal in the orient, and I would have to say that is my favorite spot in the world. Everything is so exotic and old! Bali, China, Vietnam and Malaysia are all great locations that are great to photograph.

You need to be careful about choosing the time of year to go to most of Asia, due to the climate. That is a minor inconvenience easily traded off for exotic locations, friendly people and different food. We love to travel on our own due to the many opportunities to talk with locals. When you travel in a group, locals are reluctant to approach you, but when you are alone, they will talk freely. We have had some wonderful exchanges and have made new friends all over the world. A great way to set the stage for such an encounter is to book travel on the train, particularly overnight trains.

I will often wander off on my own, completely consumed with the subject matter I am shooting. I need a keeper! My wife often has to come and find me, when it is time to leave the shooting location.

One of the ways I generate income from photograph is by selling images on several micro-stock agencies via the Internet. This is also an easy thing to do on a wire. To make money from this you need to carefully investigate and shoot the kind of images that sell well on the sites and submit large volumes. If you’re willing to do that, there is money to be made.

But I don’t do large volumes. Instead, I explored the Micro-Stock world to see if my style of images would sell. I have 131 unique images on six different agencies and I’ve sold 66 images. My best seller is an image of some warehouses built out over the ocean in Ketchikan Alaska. It has sold seven times.

But of course, there are reasons to go into photography other than to produce an income. I love the opportunities and excuses it presents to travel. It’s worth remembering too that if you are set up as a business, there are lots of expenses that you can legitimately claim from the tax man.

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