Can you live off of your stock photo earnings?

Most photographers dream of the day when they can give up the day job and focus one hundred percent on their photography. But how hard is it to actually do?

I've often wondered about this, so I did some research. Everyone's cost of living will differ, but most people probably need to earn at least $30,000 per year. How hard is this to do with stock photo earnings? Well, assuming that the photos you sell go for the minimum $.25 then you would need to sell three hundred fifty images per day.

That's seven days a week. In order to reach this number, you will probably need at least a thousand photos(probably more) in your portfolio that are spread across several different stock agencies. Five or more seems like a good number to me. Obviously, if the majority of your images sell for a dollar then you will not need to sell as many of them. Keep in mind that these images need to be high quality images that are in demand.

Also, try to take pictures that will stand the test of time. If your pictures or designs are not created for the long term then future generations will stop purchasing them.

So it is possible to live off of your stock photos, but it will take a lot of hard work to get there. Good luck!

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July 27, 2007


It's extremely difficult to do, considering the highly competitive environment of today combined with (all due respect to Dreamstime) agencies that foster an environment of extremely cheap, royalty-free photos. In order to truly profit from your photography/art, you will need to diversify your strategy and consider more than simply stock photography as a source of revenue.

July 26, 2007


Good luck, hope you can make it happen. I think it would take more than 1,000....maybe more like 10,000. But then again, I'm new to stock photog. and have alot to learn.

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