10 Aug 2007 Your First Microstock Photo
Mine was back in August 2005, making me neither a laggard nor an early adopter. Admittedly I had to look up that date, but the rest of the details are crystal clear. I was living in an inner-city apartment in Melbourne with my partner, Flavia. We’d been introduced to microstock through a friend who at the time wasn’t involved himself. The idea of earning money this way suited us perfectly given our plans of moving around frequently. So we’d registered with iStockphoto and uploaded a few photos.
It was early morning. Flavia had been into the home office to check her email. As we were in Australia and most of the microstock action happens in the States, anything that was going to happen would happen overnight. She came running into the kitchen shouting, “We sold a photo!” We both hurried back into the office to check the details.
It was a photo of a plate of breakfast we’d taken while in New Zealand on holiday with my Mother’s point-and-shoot 4 megapixel camera. Definitely a snapshot! It sold for US$1 and our commission was US$0.20. Wow, we’ve been paid money for a photo – we’re technically professional photographers!
Even though it was only 20 cents, for us to be earning money in this way was exciting. We could work when and where we chose and with none of the obligations and restrictions of a job. At the time, the exchange rate between the US dollar and Australian dollar made it even more worth our while. We saw the potential and quickly got to work shooting, repairing and uploading. In that first month we sold more photos and our total earnings for the month were US$7.70, all from iStockphoto.
Our costs went down and our productivity went up when we finally got our hands on a digital SLR camera. We were now able to shoot in high quality and focussed in improving our knowledge and skils. Since then we’ve built up our portfolio and registered with other agencies. We’ve been earning between US$400 and US$600 per month for a year and a half. But we’ll always remember that first sale. The thrill of earning money online, selling photos, and the potential of microstock.