Recently I’ve earned nearly $900 in just two and a half months with my stock images (mostly from event photography) and all because I was in the right place at the right time.
I was staying with my daughter in Abu Dhabi when the Louvre Museum (a collaborative project between France and the United Arab Emirates) opened there in November 2017. Soon after the opening, I went to take pictures as I realized it was going to be a big deal.
I took a couple of days to process and keyword my images, but my son-in-law kept saying, “Have you uploaded your Louvre images yet? You should do it now.” He had Googled Louvre Abu Dhabi images, and all he could find were old ones of the museum being built, or images of President Macron of France at the opening. After two days of nagging, I finally uploaded 11 images… and once they were accepted, they sold immediately.
Looking at my images, I realized I could have done better. I needed more detail and more upright shots, and they lacked a human element to show scale and provide interest. Fortunately, I was able to go back the following week, with my husband in tow as my model, to increase my portfolio. I then uploaded an additional 17 images.
So far, I’ve had 14 sales on Alamy (11 of which were of the Louvre) and 245 sales on Shutterstock (including 162 of the Louvre). In two and a half months, I made a total of $874.33.
Now I’m hooked on going to events to shoot for stock, and I always upload them immediately so I can be among the first to offer these photos for sale. I did well with the Louvre Abu Dhabi, because I was the first to get my images accepted. Since then, there are a few new images out there… but overall, I didn’t have much competition.
At the moment, I’m in Australia looking for events I can photograph, and I plan to get my images up while the events are still fresh in people’s minds. However, I’m sure occasions like this don’t have to be of world interest. Many local events would also have interesting, saleable images.
Had I known then what I’ve since learned through reading Marianne Campolongo’s article “Cracking the Alamy Code”, I would have uploaded to Alamy first… and I may have earned even more.
However, I’m glad I didn’t wait to take action—I’m happy with what I’ve achieved, and I’ve been inspired by my recent success. If I had waited, then I might have missed out on that opportunity.
I’ve learned quite a few lessons from my Louvre Abu Dhabi experience:
1. Remember to shoot both vertically and horizontally.
2. Take detail shots, as well as the big picture.
3. Add a human interest.
4. Before you go, search Google images and your stock sites. That way, you can see what’s already been done, and you can add something different. Or, if you’re lucky, you might find there aren’t any images available—then you’ll know there will be a big demand.
5. Most important—upload to Alamy first, then wait a few days before uploading to your other favorite stock agencies.
As Efraín Padró (a successful Alamy stock photographer and my first teacher at a Great Escape Publishing Workshop) always says, “Now get out and shoot something.” Getting started is the most important step!
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