Hey escapists of the 9-5 corporate routine,
Making money from stock photos is tough! As explained in my book, the Brutally Honest Guide to Microstock Photography, back in 2009, I submitted a pitiful 50 images to a few agencies and was disappointed that there were such few downloads. I soon quit.
When I decided to have another go at stock photography in 2012, competition was even tougher, but I had a better business mindset and made measurable goals. More importantly, I was committed to learning and improving.
Meeting small milestones keeps motivation high
One of the tricks I adopted on my second attempt was to set small measurable goals, such as:
- Submit 50 images a month;
- Post 3 images a month on contributor forums to obtain brutally honest feedback;
- Watch 10 YouTube tutorials a month.
Easy right? I just kept at it for months on end, but sometimes it wasn’t enough since results were few and far in between. I needed more to keep my motivation high and that’s when I relied on measurable breakthroughs.
Just keep at it!
How do you know you’re close to a breakthrough? Well, it’s difficult to say but your intuition will tell you…also, your energy levels remain high, regardless of set backs.
The next 10 images will highlight key breakthroughs in my photography career. These gave me motivation to keep going when times were tough – a small boost of energy when I was growing tired. Without these ‘exciting moments’, it’s easy to feel demotivated and even give up. It’s important not to forget to enjoy your photography.
Circa: Summer 2012
Circa: Late-summer 2012
10th Breakthrough…is yet to come
Future breakthroughs I’m fighting to achieve and I’ll keep working hard until I achieve:
- At least two $100+ Alamy downloads per month
- My first book cover license via Arcangel Images
- My first download at Robert Harding, an image-exclusive travel agency I regularly submit
- My first sale at Fine Art America
- Win a Major Photography competition
The funny thing is that achieving even ONE of the above in the next few months will help my motivation tremendously. Once all those goals are all ticked, I’ll readjust and push to achieve more and more. What is clear is that sometimes it’s important to get lucky!
What are some of your photographic short-term and medium-term goals? Share with me!
Until next time and keep on rocking! Check out my new article on catching a special moment in front of Milan’s iconic Duomo cathedral.
Great article! It is the small successes that keep us going to get the larger ones! Those big sales will come – they just seem to take more time!
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Thanks Steve. What would you say was your biggest breakthrough when you were starting out?
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Good article! I want to add the importance of own site. This can be a very simple site in which examples of articles in which your photos were used will be published.
I often use Google Search to find articles with my photos. I make a screenshot of this article and publish it on my website.
For example, my photo was used by Forbes magazine. I am proud of it) Viewing such achievements very well raises motivation. This shows that our work is used to make readers interested in reading articles. We do a good job!
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Nice examples! Thanks for sharing 🙂