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I’ve been selling photos on microstock sites since 2007. Back then, I was out of work and trying to find ways to pay the bills. In 2011, I returned to work full-time, so I’ve been adding a lot less to my online portfolios. Still, this last year has been my most successful to date, with my microstock photo income increasing to about one-third of what I make at my full-time job. If you’re thinking of getting started with microstock photography, here are some of the best tips I’ve learned along the way… 1. Ignore the naysayers No matter how many negative things you read about the demise of microstock photography and how it’s getting harder to make money from all the competition, stick with it! Right now, photography is just a healthy side income for me (something I dabble in after work). But I know somebody who started less than two years ago and already makes about three times my monthly income. There’s still a lot of potential in stock photography – and stock video, too. Learn from people who are doing well in stock and, once you decide to start, don’t ever give up. 2. Stay on trend When I started out, almost all the microstock agencies wanted tech perfect photos and liked images isolated on white. Now you can get by with much more artistic photos. And “ordinary” people are in and selling better then high-end models in a lot of cases. You have to keep up with the trends if you want to do well in this industry. 3. Pay attention to keywords When you finish a photo in Lightroom or Photoshop, always add your keywords right away, so that when you later upload through an FTP program, the keywords will show up and save you a ton of time. (I’ve learned this the hard way, of course.) If you need ideas for what keywords to use, you can just go to your favorite agency and look up the most popular photo that comes close to yours and start there. Take out the words that don’t go with your photo and add any new words that do match, and you are done. Today, every site that takes an FTP upload will have your information in each photo and you only have to keyword it once.  4. Keep it up When I first started back at my full-time job, I had to transfer to New York for about five months. In the middle of winter, the last thing I wanted to do after work was to go out to take photos in the cold. But I pushed myself to do it at least once a week. And it paid off: my New York photos soon paid my rent, food, and other costs while I lived there…just from a few hours a week of taking and uploading photos. During this time in New York, I also shot one of my best-selling photos. It has sold almost 1,000 times for me. Stock photography is like a marathon, not a sprint to the finish line. Nobody starts out making tons of money. But if you keep with it, you’ll see the rewards. Even if all you gain is better understanding of photography, then you gained something worth more than money. And, if you stick with it, the money will follow. Share on Facebook

[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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