It's important, even in your older years, to set goals and to work to achieve them. It may seems frivolous, (not having any purpose or value) to say that you want to sell 100 photos in your first year at Dreamstime or that you want to have your photo chosen for an assignment this month, but really it's the substance of life; the idea of feeling important, valuable or significant. Even tiny goals add to your happiness.

When I began selling photos on DT I was quite an amateur, but I really loved the process of capturing my life in pictures and sharing them with others. I still remember my first submissions that were rejected, it was devastating! And that's when I decided to set some goals. I wanted to be accepted, really bad.

Goal number one. Learn everything I could about taking photos, editing them, and researching what a photo stock site was all about.

Goal number two was to get involved with the Dreamstime community by blogging, exploring other people's portfolios, and familiarizing myself with everything the site had to offer. Once I understood what I needed to do my shots got better and they began to be accepted. As my portfolio grew I started to sell, then I began sharing my experiences with social media, I created a greeting card website to share with others and it's been getting better ever since.

Being successful is a great feeling, so when you set your goals, make sure they are achievable, otherwise, it will be counter productive and you will feel like a failure.

A successful, seasoned, professional photographer might be reading this and saying, "who is she to be advising me, she's only sold eighty something photos?" And, the answer is, it doesn't matter how good you are, it matters how happy you are. If you are happy selling 100 photos or 10,000 photos then you are successful and it's because you attained the goals you set.

So my point here is to keep plugging, keep learning and keep selling if these are the goals that make you happy. Everyone needs a purpose in life no matter how old.


The dog is my first upload and the silhouette/sunset is my latest


Bagpipe player silhouette sunset

Photo credits: Debra Tosca.
  • Debratos
  • Bonita Springs, United States
Several years ago I was diagnosed with a rare degenerative eye disease; macular telangiectasia. It was devastating news but I refused to let it stop me from living my life to its fullest. I joined a research group from the most prestigious eye institute in the USA, I volunteered to receive the latest and greatest investigational treatments and I set out to "see" the world before it was too late.

One of the most recent and best things I did was to purchase a Canon 5D Mark III digital camera. The eye and the camera lens are very similar, especially when they work together and create beauty. My Canon and I soon became inseparable. It didn't take me long to realize that I could once again see perfect through the lens of my DSLR. The leaves had veins, the bugs crawled in and out of flowers silently and the sunsets created rainbows of color often undetected by my naked eye. Babies had dimples, fences were covered with cobwebs and food displayed amazing textures. It was a whole new world!

I set out on a mission to duplicate the world to the best of my ability, for everyone to admire. I created a website,, designed e-cards from my photos and sold subscriptions to make donations to eye disease research. I began taking photos of my friends and family for my own memories as well as theirs and I started selling stock photos on Dreamstime.

Although it's only been two years since I first learned how to use my camera, edit my photos and create and run a web business, it's proven to be the most rewarding time of my life.

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June 17, 2017

@Bradshawj567. I'm so happy you have decided to never give up. You sound dedicated to reaching your goals and have the right attitude. I wish you lots of luck and happiness in your new pursuit. I'm having a lot of fun with all this photography "stuff"! 😀


May 02, 2017

Very good advice for photographers at Dreamstime...( & other sites as well). We are a goal oriented specie. We HAFTA set goals for ourselves, otherwise, life gets mundane. I had to set goal number one (learning all about photography & what stock sites accept & what they don't.) Goal number 2 came pretty easy, being that I am a talker. :-) Goal number 3 (not listed...I'm talking about myself now) was what you listed in as part of goal #1...learn photography ( I am a trained pipefitter by trade, although job injuries have more/less turned me into a photographer, as I am no longer able to work my chosen profession.) I knew NOTHING about picking up a camera...didn't really have the time...nor the "want to". I have had to scour this site & others to see what sells, what gets rejected, how to use light to your advantage, how to "frame" a really awe inspiring shot, and lots of other "new" (to me, of course) things & ideas too numerous to continue, in short ( too late...LOL :-) ) thank you for writing some advice to help me & the multitudes of newbies who come here trying our hands @ this stock photo game.


September 21, 2015

Thanks Tangatawhenua


September 21, 2015

Thank you for sharing your bio info and the goals that you set. I really love the scotsman with the bagpipes at sunset - stunning!