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Breakfast Stock Club Reader of the MonthInterview with Kim BechtholdBonnie:

Hi Kim, can you tell us a bit about your background? Kim: Although I did some photography in my university classes, I made my career in investment banking. A couple of years ago, I got a digital camera for Christmas and dove into taking pictures. It was a wonderful contrast from my daily work and I embraced the creativity. A few months later, I received an International Living email talking about stock photography. I had been trying to create a plan for escaping the Canadian winters and this sounded like the perfect opportunity to do something fun while funding a life in the sun. Bonnie: How long have you been submitting photos as stock? Kim: After reading the article, I quickly picked three photos and submitted them to iStock. They were refused for every possible technical issue. I spent the next year trying to figure out what pixelation, artifacting, noise, etc. were and how I could take better photos. Finally a professional photographer enlightened me that my camera was not capable of taking stock quality photos. I invested in a new camera and everything changed for me. Using the Breakfast Stock Club Premium video tips from Shelley Perry, I started preparing my photos in Lightroom and had my first photos accepted in January 2011. Bonnie: About how much income have you made with stock so far? Kim: So far, I have made $993 from my stock photo sales. Although I sold over 1,000 photos last year, I revel in each sale. Who knew earning $0.25 could be so exciting?! (My co-workers don’t get it at all). Bonnie: Don’t worry, we get it! What do you think was the biggest obstacle to overcome when you first got started? Kim: My biggest obstacle in getting started was learning the terminology, why my photos were rejected and what I needed to do differently. Once I started getting photos accepted, it became easier. Agencies like Bigstock give helpful rejection comments making it easier to improve your skills, fix and resubmit photos. Bonnie: What’s your biggest overall achievement so far? Kim: So far, my biggest achievement was reaching $500 in sales at Shutterstock and getting my first payout increase. Bonnie: What is your favorite thing about shooting photos for stock? Kim: I love the creativity, flexibility and freedom that stock photography provides. I can do it anywhere, anytime and take photos of whatever I want. I can get together with other photographers to take photos or hide out in my kitchen. Some of the most fun shoots have been with my family. My stepdaughter loved the shoot we did of her throwing snowballs at her Dad. She kept requesting another take — to make sure I had good shot, of course! She has a whole list of shoots planned for summer… most involving her Dad and water. Bonnie: What is your ultimate stock photo goal? Kim: My ultimate goal, aside from finally getting accepted with iStock, is to earn enough to fund my life overseas. Bonnie: Looks like you’re off to a great start. Any tips for folks who haven’t yet made the leap? Kim: Stick with it. Do not be discouraged when your photos are rejected — everyone’s are. Review the rejection comments, but don’t dwell on them. Some agencies send vague notices stating “your photo contains one of following errors” and then list all the issues a photo could have. Ironically, you will receive one of these messages immediately after another, more stringent, agency just accepted the same photo. Just shrug, laugh and submit more photos. Although it is slow at the beginning, it does work. Bonnie: Thanks, Kim! [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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