most travelers, a vacation is a time to relax, take in a few
museums, enjoy coffee in an outdoor cafe, eat out, and meet
new people. But to me, a vacation is also the ticket to some
easy extra income…
Paris, for instance. (I’ve been there twice.) I enjoyed the
cafes… the lavish meals… the leisurely strolls along the Seine.
And I took pictures as I went - just like we all do when we’re
big difference for me is that I don’t just slide my pictures
into an album when I get home. I sell them. And the truth is,
thousands of websites, magazines, and travel agencies buy vacation
photos from travelers like me all the time. And it’s not hard
to find buyers…
stock photo agencies, also known as "microstock sites,"
are how I make most of my cash. Enough, in some cases, to cover
the cost of my trip.
happy to work with amateurs, but they do expect near-perfect
photographs. So you’ve got to have a good digital camera and
an eye for composition.
agencies, art directors, and even high school kids looking for
photos to illustrate their MySpace page or their geography and
history papers are all customers of these online stock sites.
It doesn’t cost you anything to upload your vacation shots,
and buyers can download whichever pictures they choose for anywhere
between $1 and $20 a pop, depending on what size image they
in exchange, get a percentage of the sale. I average 80 cents
per image per month for all the photos I have on file at the
stock agency I use (Istockphoto.com). That may not sound like
a lot - but, at the end of the month, I get a check for a thousand
or so dollars for my efforts.
time, I’ve collected several thousand images from my travels,
and even pictures from inside my hotel room and from my house
and backyard. I don’t have to do any marketing. I just upload
the photos and they sell in my sleep.
fast, easy, and fun.
are three things you can photograph on your next trip to sell
for stock. Keep these in mind when you travel, and you can have
fun, take lots of pictures, and make some extra money to boot.
markets are teeming with stock shots… from the repeating patterns
and colors of seasonal fruits and vegetables to signs scrawled
in chalk and people picking out their wares.
every online stock agency requires you to submit a model release
for images that contain recognizable people, so I suggest you
focus on the fruits and vegetables at first. Model releases
are specific to each site, so get your account up and running
before you try to submit people photographs.
2. Your Hotel
photo of a front desk bell has sold 1,021 times on iStockphoto.com.
And I’ve sold photos of curtains, tassels, pillows, and more.
Do some research and look up hotel pictures on the stock sites
before you leave to take inventory of your competition. It’s
okay to photograph the same things - just be sure to make them
yours by making them unique. But look for what’s selling and
what’s not. Put your attention on the type of photos that sell
Textures and Patterns
like to buy photos of simple textures or patterns to use as
backgrounds for their websites… fine art on their wall… and
a myriad of other things. Keep an eye out for them as you travel.
Peeling paint, rusted metal, brick walls, cracks in the sidewalk,
bark on a tree… can all make for interesting patterns and textures.
sure you read the site’s technical requirements and submission
guidelines before you start uploading pictures. Some of the
leading sites are: Istockphoto.com, Bigstockphoto.com, Shutterstock.com,
Note: Shelly Perry specializes in documentary or lifestyle portraits.
Her images have been seen all over the globe on music CD covers,
books, magazines, catalogs, websites, ad campaigns, and even
on the American Music Awards. She’s a contributor to Turn
Your Pictures Into Cash: A Comprehensive Program in Taking and
Selling Amazing Photographs. Find
more ideas for how to turn your vacation shots into cash here.]
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