Stock Photography Series… YOU Choose!

by SomeGirl on March 7, 2011 · 40 comments

I’ve mentioned before that my husband shoots stock photography for a living, but have I ever mentioned that I’ve shot and sold some? I don’t have an impressive portfolio at all, but I have been making $10-20 a month from my photos…

and I have a few photos on my husband’s account that have sold very well…

I know that’s not much money, but it’s where my husband’s account started when it was the same size. And now, we live very comfortably off his earnings.

So, after purchasing a ticket to The Relevant Conference coming up in October, and wondering how I would pay for my airfare and lodging to go with a friend… I decided to work my stock photography account a little harder and bump up my earnings.

Then, I started thinking… Why keep it to myself? Why not share with you guys, if you’re interested, how to shoot and sell stock photos?!

When I posed the question over the weekend I received a good number of replies saying, “YES! I want to learn more about photography and stock photography!” (not your exact words, but a good representation).

Now, I’m left wondering how detailed on the actual selling of stock do you guys want me to get? I would be happy to walk you through EXACTLY how to get accepted at, if you’d like. It’s not too hard if you know what to look for, but without some helpful tips it’s MUCH more difficult.

So, here’s my question for the start of our new series… Would you be interested in learning exactly how to set up an account where you can sell your photos and make a little extra cash, or do you just want tips on how to take better photos? Either way is fine with me, but I wanted to know where to spend my efforts and set my focus. :)

Btw, when my husband and I started working his account we moved from $5 /month earnings to $22/month in 30 days. Very shortly after we bumped up to $75/month (if I remember correctly). I remember clearly the day he said, “When we make $300/ month you can get a housekeeper.” I scoffed, thinking, “$300 a month!? That’s CRAZY! We’ll never get to that!”

Less than three years later we were earning enough for my husband to quit his corporate job and shoot stock photography on his own full time (and I have a housekeeper)! ;)

So, I guess this post is like one of those “pick your ending” kind of books from when we were little…

What will happen next Wednesday at SomeGirl’s Website??

A. Michelle teaches us the specifics of how to apply for an iStockphoto account.

B. Michelle teaches us some basic photography tips, starting with ______________________________ (fill in the blank with what you most hope to learn).

YOU choose! Leave your choice in the comment section below. :)

(Thank you!! Your input will help me develop this series with YOU in mind! Think of it as a little fraddle from me to you.) :)

Oh, I almost forgot… If you choose A there’s homework! Before this time next week I’d like you to surf around to get a feel for what sells (you might want to go into the advanced search area and make sure the adult content filter is on). And look through magazines and ads you get in the mail paying close attention to photos. See if you can notice any common threads between the photos. :) See you next Wednesday!

Btw, there is NO FEE to set up and account or sell photos. You upload the photos, they accept or reject them, they market and you receive a percentage of each sale. NO CHARGE at all. (and I don’t benefit in any way if you do sign up to sell, other than the joy of knowing I helped you and the fun of having another friend online selling with me!) :)



wow!! what a great idea! sadly i have no great photos, but i have several friends I am going to forward this too!


I choose A. I would love to know how to do this! (I like detail too.) Thanks!


I choose A. I seriously had no idea there was money to be earned in stock photography. I’ve very curious!


Can I choose all of the above? ;)

Actually, I’d say start with B, with the tips you’ve given me in the past, and then move on toward A. That way we can be working on taking better photos while we go along.
That said, I’m happy with whatever everyone else is interested in. I’ll just grill you for any other details during teatime… LOL.


michelle…i reread your post. a housekeeper? holla! i suddenly am VERY interested in selling stock photos:)))

would love more tips for a regular point and shoot. i am not at slr level yet:)


Great post! I’m passing this one on. Inspiring!
BTW – good work.

ali @ an ordinary mom

They really don’t charge a fee? I did not know that…

My BIL sell some on iStock, not enough to quit his day job, but an extra $100 here and there has been such a blessing for them!


Can we choose A and B?? Please! I would love to hear your thoughts on both but will be happy with either and will wait with anticipation for the start of this series. I just purchased a dslr and am wanting to take some classes now so I can’t wait to read what you have to share. Thank you for offering this.

Heather @At The Picket Fence

Dawn @ Two-Handed Mommy

I would say A – please! :) It’s something I had looked into some time ago when I was spending a lot of time working on my photography, but then haven’t pursued since (babies #3 and #4…plus some other interruptions! ;)). I’d definitely be interested. Thank you!

Stacy @ Delighting in the Days

This is great! I have wondered about doing this. I figured my photos weren’t good enough. But maybe they are. I am not sure of the quality they should be. Can’t wait for you to tell us more :)


This is fabulous! I’m so excited that you are going to share!!! :)
How about choice A one week and then choice B the following week?


I choose option C because I think you are so talented and I would love to learn more from you and I would love to use what I learn to maybe sell on istock. That could be a very good thing for me to try after I move.


A! and B! :) Either or both! Please?


Oh yes please! Please both! I spent some time on iStock and am very excited!


I choose A with a little bit of B thrown in for good measure! Sounds like a fabulous start to something fun that could grow to something Great!


Oh wow! I didn’t know people could sell their photography to istock! I have a few I could submit. :)
I don’t have a GREAT camera, but I am pretty good with the macro setting. :)

Hmm…I’d say option A. :) Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge! I had no idea!!!

Gail Debenport

Michele, I am very interested in A. I set up an account but understand it was not set up to post/sell photos. So, yes, count me in. Now, how do I send this to Robin?


GREAT post. Flamingo shared this with me, and I am glad she did! See you at Relevant!


oh, and I would pick A. no use taking great pics for this idea if you don’t know how to get started, right?? thanks!


Can I choose all of the above?! :) LOVE, love, love this idea! So excited to learn more from you!


A please :D…I’ve never heard of this before, and I would love to continue being at home with my boys, what a great way to make a bit and enjoy photography!

Sara @ Happy Brown House

I choose both! Not sure if I have anything people would be interested in for stock photos, but I’d totally try it! We’re looking for extra things to do to help fund our adoption.

Gail Debenport

Would like to revise my earlier comment. I like the idea of teaching both A. and B. or if you do one first, will you follow it with the other? I hope so. Thanks for being willing to do this. I have often wished I could just spend a couple of days with you and learn these things. What a great offer to do it online.


I’m interested in A!! Mom and I are going to “take your class” together ;) Love you, Cousin!

martha brady

could i choose B first so i could start an acct. and with the learning, hopefully the photog would improve. (it’s spring in East TX…and beautiful!)
will they take ordinary photos from a digital camera? or do they have to be done w a fancy one? i’m trying to get to a regular schedule and away from nsg. (very hard physical work!)

Sharon O

I would love to learn the only problem is my camera. Well my husband has a nice camera I have a basic one. Making a profit would always be welcome since I am semi retired and trying to pay off bills.



Also, what if my underage daughter took some great photos ? Can I use those and then use the money for homeschooling or for buying siblings gifts?

Betsy at Zen Mama

I love this Michelle!! You got me so excited about excited about this. My husband and I have always wanted to make a little extra money this way!

I would like to learn about A first. Then the photo tips!! I’m going to head to istock now!!!

Cranberry Morning

I’m all for choice A. I’d love to learn how to get accepted at and sell photos. Yes, yes, yes!!! I vote for Choice A. :-)


I’d love to read posts on the second option. I need to know how to take interesting photos before I even think about the first option. :)

Kristen @ Joyfullythriving

I’d love to hear more about I-stock photos! It is definately something that I would consider. What a great idea!

Leslie, the Home Maker

Can I choose “C”?
Michelle teaches how to take pictures the iStock photo needs/wants- what kind of pictures can a home maker take around the house- so I can be an accepted photographer with iStock ;)
I’m a stinker.
Looking forward to whatever you talk about!
That is awesome that your hubby gets to do free-lance! Just awesome!
Who knew you could do so well taking pictures?!
If I could make a little extra, I’d go to Relevant, too :)

Deb Chitwood

This is an awesome idea for a series! I’m so impressed with what you and your husband are doing with stock photography, Michelle! I’ve never taken the time to study photography, but I love taking photographs. So I’d like A and B (or C like Leslie suggested)! I’ll be happy reading whatever you write here – I’ll just wait awhile before I’m ready to actually try selling any photos, though.

Kristy @ Making Financial Cents

I’m interested in both! But if I gotta choose then I pick “A”….but I look foward to reading about either one!


oh oh oh!!! please do tell us how to get going with istock!! hubby’s been encouraging me to pursue this and I think it might be doable for me!


I’d have to do B before I could A. So both!?! :)

Hope Wilbanks

I’m interested in learning about both, so either way you go, I’ll happily join in. :)


What a brilliant idea… I would love to learn some tips first, then how to get started with stock photography. I’m in:)


I too would be intersted in both, so will happily read whatever you decide!


Thanks you guys!! Your input has helped me SO much!! Looking forward to sharing what I know and can’t wait to do some fun photo stuff with you guys! Love, Michelle

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