I have always been interested in photography. I got my start working in the movie industry as a non-union camera assistant. After almost two years of not making much money, I thought I could start my own production company. Unfortunately, it never got off the ground. Since I didn’t know much about business, I decided to go into the airline industry. My hope was to travel around the world. In 1987, I got a job at a major airline. In the first couple of years I traveled consistently and took photos and movies all around the world. At the time it never occurred to me that I could also sell my photos. I thought my job would be safe until I retired. But when our airline went into bankruptcy, I was laid off and had to think of other ways to make money to support my family. My wife had a small business entertaining at parties for kids and companies with face painting and balloon animals, so I started doing event photography along with that. We made it by alright, but still the bills piled up. At one of our events, I met a photographer who asked me if I had heard of stock photography. I had, but I didn’t know much about it, so he said he would send me a link to get started at ShutterStock. I uploaded 10 photos that I thought were good, but they were rejected. I figured that I needed more time. After asking my friend for some advice, the next photos that I submitted were a success! Now I sell to 6 other sites though I receive the best profits from ShutterStock. Here are a few of my best-selling images… You can see that they are very simple ideas. This is a top seller of mine on Shutterstock.  It’s also sold a few times on Dreamstime. This colored paper shot made the front page of Shutterstock’s website for a month last year and so got a lot of sales from that.   And this string of Christmas lights does well, too. After working hard at the stock photography for almost two years, I could see the earning potential. I could go a month without uploading any images and still make as much money as I did the month before. My stock photos paid my rent, electric, trash, and were a major part of our income. I eventually got my job back with the airlines in January 2011. Now, at 53, I’m making about 1/3 of my total income in stock. And my new plan for retirement is to stick with stock photography until I’m making what I make at my airline job. After that, I’ll retire and spend my time traveling around the world with my family. No matter where I go, there will always be new opportunities for stock photos. [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.]

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