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I’m one of those people who thinks that we should all love what we do. To be honest, I have loved photography and photographs for most of my life.  It’s been in my blood since high school.  But I always worried about ruining it by turning it into a job or by some other means letting others dictate who, what, when, and how I would have to take pictures. To me, that idea seemed to take the fun, joy, passion, romance, and creativity away. So I resisted for a very long time. Once I decided that I was seriously going to make a go of photography and jump in with both feet, I discovered another hurdle …I’m shy. And, well, perhaps a little intimidated when it comes to marketing and selling. That’s why selling my photos to online stock photo agencies works so well for me. I don’t have to worry about directly marketing or negotiating terms and prices with clients or photo buyers directly.  The agency takes care of all that. I don’t really see my work as quintessential stock. My photos are usually more artistic than generic commercial. But the great thing is that I can still be as creative as I want, and I still make my living through stock photo sales. Sure I would make more sales if I shot only those things that sell best in these agencies (lots of business-themed images… subjects on a white background, etc).  But it’s really important to me to enjoy and have fun with what I’m doing. So I continue to shoot the kind of photography I choose, and that works. I can basically shoot anything I want, any way I want and when I want, because I am my own boss… I don’t have client deadlines or demands to attend to. With stock, I just upload my work. And, if it suits the buyer’s need and they buy it, great…I make a sale. If it doesn’t, that’s OK, too. The buyer moves on to the next photo and I’m none the wiser, which means that I can just be happy with my sales and not worry about the ones that got away. Here are two of my favorite shots: Maybe you like them.  Maybe you don’t.  But that’s what I mean about getting to be the type of photographer I want to be. Both of these images were totally un-staged and un-scripted. I had the luck of being in the right place at the right time.  One has done very well in sales for me and the other hasn’t. I still really like them both. I also take a lot of photos of friends and family. It’s something I’ve done for years.  Now I can take them beyond the family photo album and use them as stock. Like this shot of my nephew and his six-week-old baby … I see this shot every day, as it’s my computer screen wallpaper … and, for purely personal reasons I’m sure, it’s one of my all-time favorite shots. In fact, so much so I almost didn’t upload it for sale as stock. It felt and still feels very personal. It’s shots like this one, though, that make me feel 100% satisfied being a photographer …To have that moment forever before me, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Then there are shots like this big seller … I’d never in a million years know how to market and sell to a photo buyer in need of a guy in a sweatshirt, but it’s my number-one best-seller and clearly lots of photo buyers have needed it. Recently I was driving down the street here in Portland and I saw his face looking out at me from a bus stop, advertising a local college … I have to say it’s still thrilling to randomly see photos I’ve taken in use. And finally, it’s the opportunity to see the world and take pictures of the places and people I meet all under the umbrella of my photography business … For instance this shot of Ecuador … This shot is currently my number two shot on iStock.com’s “Best Match” search for Ecuador and has had steady sales since I uploaded it last year. You might ask “why this shot?’ and I can honestly say I have no idea … But of more than 145 shots I’ve uploaded from Ecuador this one is my best seller of all.  It sells consistently. That makes me happy that I can travel, see, and experience a place and then return home to make stock sales of the adventure. If that’s not a dream, I don’t know what is. Photography is a big part of who I am as a person. It’s how I see and relate to the world. It’s what I would be doing no matter what. The fact that I get to sell my photos and make a living at it makes it a job, I guess … the best dang job ever! [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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