How It Feels to Get Your First Stock Photo Sale

Your heart races… your palms sweat… you want to scream out loud -- YES!!!

It’s an exhilarating feeling the first time you get a stock photo sale.

But it’s an even better feeling when you start getting consistent sales. When you can watch your numbers go up… up… up each week.

I’m collecting my first check from Shutterstock, now, and that’s a pretty nice feeling, too!

Carve out some time this weekend and get started. The sooner you start, the more you’ll make.

And if you’re already started, go out and shoot something new.

To help stoke the fire, this week I caught up with Breakfast Stock Club reader Marianne Campolongo, who’s up to over 400 sales and counting.

Read on to see how she got started and what’s selling for her…

Interview with successful reader, Marianne Campolongo

Bonnie: Which stock sites did you start out with, and how did it go at first?

Marianne: I started with Alamy and later joined Shutterstock and Dreamstime. After I started, I didn’t really submit very often. It wasn’t until late last year that I doubled the number of images on all sites.

I started out slowly but as I passed certain milestones in 2010 (50 files on Dreamstime and 100 files on Shutterstock) I saw a big jump in revenue.

Bonnie: What were the first photos that you got accepted?

Marianne: My first accepted photos were travel and still life photos that I shot purposely as stock to illustrate concepts such as eco-friendliness and relaxation.

Bonnie: How are sales going now?

Marianne: I made my 100th sale on Dreamstime last week. I’m also starting to see daily sales on Shutterstock, where I’m approaching 300 downloads, including one Mardi Gras still life that was downloaded nine times on four continents when I uploaded it last week. I’ve licensed about a dozen photos through Alamy, the best one going for over $250.

Bonnie: Wow, that’s great -- congratulations! Is there a certain kind of image that sells better than others for you?

Marianne: The types of images that sell for me vary widely. Right now my best–sellers are editorial images and backgrounds on Shutterstock and Dreamstime, and travel, particularly lighthouses, spa, winter/holiday and eco-friendly concepts on all three sites.

Bonnie: What’s your stock photo goal for 2011?

Marianne: I had another 10 to 20 images per site accepted so far this month and made three times more than I did in December! That has motivated me to keep adding more. Analyzing my sales and trying to be realistic about how much time I can devote to this, I’d like to have 1,000 photos online in 2012.

Bonnie: Thanks, Marianne, and here’s to your continued success!

By talking to readers who are making sales, I want to show you that you can do this, too. And that succeeding is really about two things:

  • Deciding to make it happen.
  • Putting in the time and doing it.

Come Monday, I want to read on the Breakfast StockClub Facebook Page that you’ve taken the next step… signed up to an agency, applied, or submitted something new.

That goes for me, too. I told you last week that I’d be taking some St. Patrick’s Day photos, so that’s what I’ll submit this weekend. I didn’t end up doing a leprechaun shoot, but instead went for something simpler and more tasty:

I still need to brighten them a bit, but you get the idea!

-- Bonnie

Bonnie Caton
Great Escape Publishing
Breakfast Stock Club

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After I asked for links to your portfolio last week, I heard from at least eight people who are submitting shots and building their stock photo portfolios. Great work, guys.

Caroline Maryan brought up an interesting point, too: By the way, have any of you Googled yourselves lately? I just did and couldn't believe how many blogs, etc, have used my photos and given me credit! Wow!

[Editor’s Note: Learn more about how you can turn your pictures into cash in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel.  Sign up here today and we’ll send you a new report, Selling Photos for Cash: A Quick-Start Guide, completely FREE.]