How to start with stock photography.
Getting started with stock photography is easy! Making money on Shutterstock with stock photos is hard! In this article I’ll cover the techniques I use to upload my photos to Shutterstock and save time. Stock photography can be worthwhile but it can also be a time consuming waste!
Working and making money is an addiction. The anxiety and fear surrounding not having this security can cause any number of mental issues. Coming out of 17 years with one company that addiction was strong and the fear overcame the reality that I didn’t need to immediately replace the income flow. Between now and four months ago when I stopped working I have spent a lot of time thinking about the relationship between time and money and I look forward to sharing more of that journey.
Why did I invest in stock photography?
In my panic of replacing my income, I went to the internet to try to find anything that would work. In retrospect, I was like an addict desperately seeking to replace a drug. Online I found a video of someone who had made 24 cents from uploading a photo to Shutterstock. In his video, he had put just one photo online and within a few weeks, he had made that amount.
I did the same and created my first Shutterstock account and uploaded 14 photos. The photos weren’t anything special, just things from my Instagram, and I have attached a screenshot of them below.
To my surprise, within a few weeks, I too had earned 25 cents for the photo in the top left corner. For whatever reason, someone in Russia who subscribes to Shutterstock purchased that photo. Woo! I was so excited that I called my parents and my wife to tell them the news. Finding out what sells on Shutterstock is a real struggle!
I didn’t do anything with my stock photography for two months when someone, again in Russia, purchased the same dog photo for two dollars and thirty cents.
I learned an important lesson here in my search to understand the relationship between time and money. The brilliant thing with intellectual property is that when it is placed in something like Shutterstock it can continue to produce income. It is also very evident that the stock photo does not need to be amazing for someone to find value in it. In the journey of entrepreneurship, it’s important not to listen to anyone who criticizes your work. Only the market will dictate the value of your product, not your mates, and not yourself.
How to scale on Shutterstock
The next step for me is to go to scale. I have a VA in the Philippines from another project and I am migrating her to work on Shutterstock. She will be spending a few hours a week for four dollars an hour titling, putting in keywords and submitting releases on my behalf. I currently have 700 hundred photos ready for such a task. My goal is to leverage other people’s time (Claire) and eventually other people’s money (income from Shutterstock) to put digital assets online that will continue to generate cash flow well into the future. By utilizing my VA for this I will have an initial expense however, I intend on using this time to create more assets (like this blog post).
Will any of this work out to be cash-flow positive?
If you would like to try out Shutterstock for your photos this is the link (I get a commission when you sign up – this is a digital asset as I said).
If you would like to hire someone on Upwork here is the link as well (They do not have an affiliate program – so I do not earn a commission). Message me and I am happy to refer one of my VA’s to you depending on the project you may have. All the best in your journeys and I look forward to updating this as I go. P.S. While there is no affiliate program for Upwork I am a shareholder and have made a nice increase as this platform continues and gains momentum.