This Photography Gig Just Keeps On Paying

It is another beautiful morning in San Miguel de Allende. My husband is always the first one up, and turns the fountain on in the courtyard so I can hear the trickling water fall into the pond below it and smell the coffee brewing.

It’s a great and relaxing life. So different from the one we used to have when we were working. Retirement is the best, especially if you can make money while you are sleeping.

The first time Bob and I came to Mexico we fell in love with its magic. It was on a one-week vacation to Mazatlan. We were in a beautiful beach hotel with pink flamingos walking around. We were enjoying poolside margaritas, walking the beach, and getting suntans.

We were hooked on Mexico.

Then one day we ventured outside the hotel and wandered into a construction site of a home being built. It was spectacular. So different from what we were used to seeing in our hometown of Spokane, Washington…stone columns, talavara floor tiles, and colorful handmade Mexican kitchen tiles.

We asked what the house was going to be priced at. It was shockingly low, almost too good to be true. We went back to our hotel, ordered another margarita, and talked about how in the world we could live in Mexico.

We needed to figure out a way to change our commercial advertising photography business so we could make money without being hired to make money.

Our answer was stock photography. We joined The Image Bank (which is now owned by Getty Images) 19 years ago. In the early years we did hundreds of photos. We knew the more we produced for stock the sooner we would be able to come to Mexico for good. All that work that we did back then sold internationally and some are still selling today.

All of our income at this point in time comes from our stock photography royalties.

Mexico allows us to afford things that we would never have in the U.S. It’s a lifestyle we consider quite luxurious. I go to the hairdresser every four weeks. I have my nails done every 10 days. I have facials and massages several times a year.

We have a gardener come once a week to help us keep our garden beautiful, and we have a maid clean our house two times a week. When we have dinner parties, we can afford to hire people to help in the kitchen to clean, help cook, and serve. We go to concerts and plays, and attend classes here for all kinds of things.

A lot has changed in the stock business. Submitting images is way easier in the digital age. Hunger for content is constant and ever changing. You can photograph something on your iPhone and submit it right then and there.

Stock photography can be a lifelong passion at any age that can give you financial and personal rewards way beyond your expectation. So go get your camera, step outside your door, study your environment, and take a picture.

Today, somewhere in the world, one of our images is being purchased by some company. So when we are sleeping we are making money. And we are enjoying the life we dreamed about so long ago in Mazatlan.

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