How to make money from stock photography

A few people have asked us how we have managed to move abroad with our dog, to a country where it's not straight forward to get a job and work legally. Yet still have money to live a decent life with a house, car and the freedom to choose a different place of work everyday.

The answer is fairly straight forward. My wife and I are photographers from the UK. We bought SLR cameras a several years ago and started taking photos as a pastime. It fast became a passion of ours and the next natural step was to want to make a living from it.

That's how we discovered making money from stock photography. We'd spent a few years learning how to take professional photos. Accumulated a decent amount of kit and photographed over 10 weddings before deciding it was all too samey. Part of the fun of photography is choosing your subject material and getting creative with a project. With weddings that wasn't happening so we made a decision to concentrate on stock photography instead.

The name ' stock photography' sounds a little dry and misleading. But the reality is you can take photos of almost whatever you want, wherever you are and they could be eligible to be sold online. Which means that you can work from anywhere in the world. Currently my wife and I have chosen to live in Chiang Mai north Thailand. We emigrated here so that we could lower our living costs to make it possible for us both to concentrate on making money from stock photos.

One of the most important things to note however, is that making money from stock photography isn't a get rich quick scheme. It requires a lot of time and effort before you will start to make a decent living from it. For example. We signed up with www.istockphoto.com in january 2009  By the end of that year, uploading images sporadically without thought or effort we only made $100 in royalties. Which is rubbish. However the following year in 2010, Sacha left her job in the city to concentrate on stock photography. She uploaded 15 photos per week which was the maximum a non exclusive contributor to istockphoto was allowed, until we finally made enough sales to qualify to be exclusive members. (which means you're only permitted to sell stock photos with www.istockphoto.com, no other agency) At the end of 2010 we had made $1658 in royalties. We used that money to buy better cameras and started contributing stock video as well in 2011. That year we closed on $4872. At that stage we decided it was time for us both to concentrate on building our microstock and stock video library so that we could live on the royalties as wages. Thats why we moved to Thailand. This year we have both left full time employment to upload as many photos and videos as we are allowed to with istockphoto. We project that if all goes to plan we could earn between $8000-$10000 in royalties this year and double that in 2013.

If you've read this much then you will probably be interested to see what we actually make money taking photos and videos of. Our istockphoto portfolio has quite a range of images covering different genres and subjects. But the best sellers are health and fitness stock photos, food photography and dramatic sport images.

So if you're into photography and want to make money online selling your stock photos. We have some tips that we've picked up over the years that we intend to share.

If you'd like to see what its like to emigrate to Thailand to start a new life, you'll probably be interested in watching cinematic travel vlog. Its quite unique!

To learn a little more about us check out our blog.

See you next time for some more in depth tips on how to get started with istockphoto

Alternatively if you're looking to buy some stock photos for your design projects you can Buy Istock Credits  and get your royalty free images right now.