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Traveling the world and getting paid to take photos or write about it has got to be the best job in the world. But it’s not all lazing in the hammock and sipping mai thais. You DO have to work at taking high quality photos and/or writing compelling stories. And you DO have to learn how to sell them to magazines, stock agencies, and websites if you want to make money. (That said, it’s a lot easier — not to mention more socially acceptable — to sip a few mai thais while you’re out taking photos or writing a travel article about your favorite local restaurant than it is to do it from your desk while you’re at your day job.) But here’s something that can make your travel writing and photography “work” even easier… Some of our readers, like Kathy Burns-Millyard (who sells her photos to online stock photo agencies), and Roy Stevenson (who sells a lot of his travel articles online and to magazines) have perfected techniques for getting more mileage out of their photos and travel articles by selling them to multiple publications. They take something they’ve already done — a photo that’s already up for sale with one stock photo agency… or a story that’s already been published in one magazine — and sell it again somewhere else. Once that’s done, they sell it again. And again. They’re virtually getting triple or quadruple the pay for half the work. So this week, in lieu of your regularly scheduled e-letter, I thought I might send you their stories. Maybe you, too, can make more by working less. Today, we’ll start with Kathy’s techniques for how to sell more stock photos online. And tomorrow, I’ve asked Roy Stevenson to show you how he gets paid over and over for a single travel article. Then, on Saturday, we’ll branch off our theme a little and talk about how to get more out of (and pay less on) your air travel. I’ve asked one of our readers to tell us how he managed to bag first-class seats for himself and his girlfriend to Costa Rica without paying a dime. We’ll call this our Make More, Work Less Series and start today’s with Kathy’s secret to sell more stock photos online below… Enjoy! — Lori Lori Allen Director, Great Escape Publishing ******************** August 6, 2009 Make More, Work Less – Strategy #1 ******************** SPREAD OUT YOUR PHOTOS AND GAIN MORE WEALTH by Kathy Burns-Millyard If you love the freedom of choosing your own photo subjects and the flexibility of working to your own schedule, the online stock photography industry is the perfect marketplace. While you can sell exclusively with one stock photo agency, I prefer to sell my pictures in as many places as possible. It’s like getting two or three times the income from one photo. Several agencies offer higher royalties for exclusivity, but that can limit your potential earnings since each agency has differences in their client base. Best agencies, in my experience, are: ** ShutterStock — A good portion of these buyers are large corporate clients and publishers. They generally purchase many photos, frequently. ** Dreamstime — This one has a mix of small and large, U.S. and international clients. ** BigStock — Here, mostly small businesses, entrepreneurs, and webmasters buy. ** Fotolia — This one gets strong international sales. I also submit photos to 123RF and StockXpert. They’re smaller agencies with slower but steady sales that add up. I sell photos steadily at iStock, too, because it is so large and popular. My portfolio is still quite small there though, at just under 70 photos compared to 1,000 to 1,500 at most of my other agencies. TIPS ON WORKING WITH MULTIPLE AGENCIES Submitting your stock photos to more than one agency can be more time consuming, but it’s definitely worth it, as the sales add up. Here’s how I do it: First, I review all the pictures I’ve taken in a session and move the best of them to a processing folder on my hard drive. Then, I process the ones I chose to make color corrections or change the saturation; adjust tilt, and so on. I do this step using free software called The Gimp. Lastly, I add descriptions and keywords to each photo using software called IrfanView. Once all of these preparations are finished, I simply upload all of my processed pictures to each of my stock photo agencies. While I’m able to sell more stock photos online by submitting to multiple agencies at once, it’s important to know that not all stock photo agencies are alike. Each agency has its own style and subject preferences. Getting a photo accepted at iStock does not necessarily mean it will also be accepted at ShutterStock. And just because ShutterStock accepts something doesn’t mean Dreamstime or another agency will. Getting started with stock photography is quite easy. The trick is to take pictures that sell well across the board. TAKING PHOTOS THAT SELL OVER AND OVER Since I shoot a lot of food-themed images, these tend to be some of my best sellers across all sites. I have different types of raw meat on a white background, which sell well, and moist fudge brownies are also top sellers for me. I sell backgrounds and textures regularly at my smaller stock agencies, but the same shots sell less often at larger agencies. My top selling food photos, on the other hand, sell best at the big agencies, like ShutterStock, Dreamstime, and iStock, but sell infrequently at the smaller sites. And, any photos that are unusual, or cover a rare topic, tend to sell steadily across all sites. Some of my most popular photo subjects include: ** Christmas and holiday photos. These tend to sell year-round. ** Business. With or without people, business photos sell well. ** Isolated objects. Almost anything you see in your day-to-day life makes for an excellent isolated photo shot. I even have a shot of an empty toilet paper roll which sells regularly. ** People. Family activities are particularly popular, but people doing specific activities sell well. ** Seasonal photos. Barbecues, camping, back to school and graduation, for example. Concepts related to finance and investing or health and fitness sell well on the larger sites, and food is a steady seller, too. Over the last six to eight months, anything depicting budget or economy issues has sold well. Environmental, alternative or green energy topics are quite popular, too. THE EARNINGS ALL ADD UP Some photographers are put off by stock photography because the pay per image sale seems low. Royalties range from $0.25 to $0.50 per image sale at the low end. But this actually adds up fast. Many photographers earn a part-time income and some earn enough to live off. Top producers earn $10,000+ each month. The best way to earn a nice regular income from stock photography is to keep taking high quality photos. The larger your portfolio, the more money you can make. On average, most stock photographers earn $1 per month per photo they have in their portfolio, so with a little time and effort, you can create a very nice residual income stream from doing what you love… taking pictures! [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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