So here we go.
This first blog is going to be about why and how I started in photography as a hobby. Why I have decided to start a blog. A bit of a background on my self as you will find out this was a random and a bit unexpected venture. How I got in to contributing to stock in the first place. My experience so far including sales from each month of starting to upload images and the sites I use. I will get into my work flow, equipment and software used in another blog as this one will probably be long enough as it is. Also please excuse my punctuation English is not my strong suit.
A Bit About Me.
Three years a go I moved from North Lincolnshire where I have spent the majority of my life to West Yorkshires great city of Leeds. Reason for moving to Leeds was due to my partners family moving here as they original are from Yorkshire. So I tagged along taking a massive risk leaving a well paid secure job as a manual machinist to venture out to do CAD work which I had never done before. Fast forward a year after landing a job and basically getting sacked after 10 months due to struggling at a small company which really didn’t give me any help or guidance. I was actually glad to be out of these to be fair. Then managed to join a big firm as a trainee which with in 2 years i was promoted twice. Which now I am running my own projects. But I digress.
With everyone I know still back in Lincolnshire I needed to find something to do while my partner was at work instead of sitting around doing nothing.
I spent alot of time watching YouTube channels such as Casey Neistat and Peter Mckinnon. This really started to spark my interest in photography and film. We had booked a holiday to go on a cruise in 2017 and I thought why don’t I create a highlight video of our holiday.
So I started to look on ebay at DSLR camera soon realized how much they cost and ended up buying a second hand 600D for roughly £200 including a 18-55 crappy lens. I spent most weekends going round Leeds learning how to use the camera while my partner was at work to get used to using it before our holiday. I created a Instagram account (separate to my personal one) just for a place to put them. If your interested @mat.latham is my page.
Fast forward past our holiday after running around Europe taking ridiculous amount of photos and video creating our highlight video, I thought whats the point in having all these photos with no use apart from sharing on social media which people are going to look at once.
After scrolling through YouTube watching the usual content there was a video on how to create money from Stock Photography. After watching the video i did more research watching other youtubers on the subject. One guy I came across call Hunter Bliss he uploads videos and breaks down his monthly gain from his photos which was great to see what sells and how much you could make. Link to his channel its great to see the insight and very useful https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCIpOiTNo-Ak3RgEIXRS6-yw
So after going down the rabbit hole of videos I signed up to one site to see how it went.
To start with I went to ShutterStock and signed up as it looked to be the best to start with. You don’t pay a single thing so what is there to lose mining your hard drive for photos which otherwise would be do absolutely nothing.
Thinking this was going to be easy I uploaded 5 photos of buildings from around Leeds to get approved first so I could then upload as many photos as i wanted. They all got rejected. They were rejected for not having property releases or there was a logo in the image. I soon released i needed to learn Photoshop to get rid of logos from the images, and take the time on how I could take pictures of buildings so they got accepted. As long as a recognizable building was not the main focus it got accepted.
The first image sold
So after deciding to start selling through Shutter Stock I went out most weekend as usual but instead of just taking photos I thought were going to be good for Instagram. I took photos of everything I thought someone might use, well just took picture of anything really. Taking photos of random signs and photo-shopping out all the text so it was blank, taking unique angles of buildings so they wasn’t recognizable so they would not get rejected.
The first images I uploaded was June 9th 2018 by the 24th of August I had only uploaded 43 images. Not a lot by any means after 3 months. On August 3rd I sold my very first image only made $0.25 from the single download but it worked, someone actually downloaded one of my images.
I only had 43 images to the end of August and already had a download. By the end of August (the 30th) I had another $0.25 for a different image. Doing this part time I didn’t expect to get any downloads within 3 months with having less than 50 images but people found a few images of mine out of millions that are on ShutterStock. Even though its sod all money its a great feeling that someone values your image as they are paying monthly subscriptions to use images on ShutterStock.
The first image to be downloaded was from a photo of Leeds and it was download in Korea of all places:
All this image would have done is be posted to Instagram and that would have been the end of it, if I hadn’t uploaded to a stock site. End of the day this image has made me $0.25 more than it would have just sat on my computer and social media.
The second image this month to be downloaded I really did not expect to work at all.
As you can see nothing special. Just a random image of a plaque a quick Photoshop to remove the text on it. Now it has been downloaded 3 times overall I know 3 download is nothing but it goes to show it doesn’t have to me an amazing photo to sell.
In September i had only uploaded 7 more photos. Not really good enough if i actually wanted to get a worth while passive income from stock photography. This month I had a single download on the 3rd making me $0.25.
It was a long exposure image I took of Leeds river aire. Again a simple image nothing that took alot of thought.
October Best Month Yet
This month I uploaded 132 photos. I had been to Chester zoo and a log cabin so was easy to rack up plenty of photos. Mind you only 1 of the 132 was download this month. I managed to get six downloads from ShutterStock in October.
I decided to branch out and start to upload to other stock websites. I chose to go with Adobe Stock and Getty Images. No Real reason apart from these were also big names.
Same as ShutterStock I had to upload a few images to get reviewed before I could upload as many as I wanted. Learning from my ShutterStock application it was easy to pass straight away. I started by uploading most images I had on ShutterStock as i knew these would pass. Or so I thought. Apparently depending on which site you use and the person reviewing the image. Some may get rejected by one, but not the other. Fair enough at least there is one or more of the 3 with the image on.
Adobe Stock nothing happened in sales which i didn’t expect too as it was the first month of uploading images.
Getty Images is a strange one. The other two (shutterStock & Adobe Stock) tell you straight away your image has been downloaded, but Getty Images doesn’t. It tells you what images have been viewed but you have to wait till the 20th of the next month to see your sales. I managed to get a couple of views straight away from Getty Images and by the 20th of November I was notified that there was 2 downloads of the same image that had been viewed.
Sales in October were:
Shutter Stock 6 images at $0.25 Total $1.60
Getty Images 2 downloads for the same image Total $1.40
Altogether I made $3, not much but its growing to say I have less that 200 images that were going to do nothing but sit on my hard drive for eternity.
November I only uploaded 15 photos, and only had 2 downloads from ShutterStock. Adobe Stock I saw my first download at £0.74. This was great nearly 3 times more than ShutterStock it was definitely the right move to upload to more than one site.
As for Getty Images I do have 8 views so far for my images but I will be waiting till 20th December to see if there was any sales.
Sales in November:
Shutter Stock 2 Images $0.50
Adobe Stock 1 Image £0.74
Sorry for the different currencies but this is what each site uses so exchange rate could change when I earn enough to cash out.
I have had 3 downloads so far from shutter stock, and 2 from Adobe Stock.
Sales in December so far:
shutter Stock 3 Images $0.25 each total $0.75
Adobe Stock 2 Images 1 at £0.25 1 at £0.74 total £0.99
Getty Images sales will be In January for December
It’s working… slowly yes but I’m seeing consistent downloads each month now, usually beginning and end of the month. The more I upload the more I see my downloads increasing. So I really need to up my game and upload more frequently.
If you would like to take a look at my Portfolio so far on Shutter Stock please follow this link:
And if you are interested in starting your journey with stock photography please use the following link as a referral which will show them that you got the link from me:
Or if you are looking to purchase stock images/video please use the following link as this will show them you have followed my link to purchase images:
If you do use these links. Thank you, as I will receive a little commission for your support.
I hope this first blog wasn’t a load of rambling and waste of your time and you found it interesting. If there are any topics you would like me to have a stab at, or there is any feed back you can provide please contact me. I will do my best to take on your comments. Hopefully this will grow into something and give an insight of what you can do to start.