An Introduction to Making Money Selling Digital Photos

Who doesn't want to make a little extra cash these days? The price of digital cameras is dropping on what seems to be a daily basis. Why not put yours to some use? For the past five years, I have been selling royalty-free stock photographs and will share my thoughts, ideas and concepts with you, along with some suggestions for getting started.

What is stock photography?

The Wikipedia entry for stock photography states:

Stock photography consists of existing photographs that can be licensed for specific uses. Book publishers, specialty publishers, magazines, advertising agencies, filmmakers, web designers, graphic artists, interior decor firms, corporate creative groups, and other entities utilize stock photography to fulfill the needs of their creative assignments. By using stock photography instead of hiring a photographer to perform on location shooting, customers can save valuable time and stay on budget.

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Money Blueprints: What Our Parents Taught Us About Money

I had dinner with two friends from high school last night. We shared good wine, good food, and, especially, good conversation. Much of our discussion focused on our shared history: the things we did twenty years ago (or 25!) that now seem as if they might have been done by a stranger. (Yet those strangers were us.) We talked about how we perceived money when we were younger.

Sparky and Stew grew up down the road from each other. I didn't meet either of them until junior high school. Stew's family was poor. They lived in a single-wide mobile home. His father built bar stools in the garage; his mother waited tables. "I remember your dad as an entrepreneur," Sparky said last night. "I remember him building those stools. I admired that."

"Yeah, he was a sort of entrepreneur," Stew said. "He tried, but he could never really make a go of it. We couldn't survive on the money he brought in making bar stools. In fact, he financed that operation on credit cards. We lived on the tips my mom brought home from waiting tables. It seemed like she was always working to get us money. She hoarded her money. She watched it. She had to make it last."

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Six tips for money-making hobbies

You can make money from your hobby.

Whether you knit, or write, or make photographs, or grow a vegetable garden, or tinker with cars, or build websites, or collect ancient coins — you can make money from your hobby.

I'm not saying it's possible to get rich by playing your violin at weddings, or by weaving baskets from pine needles, but earning money from a hobby is a nice way to get paid for doing something you would do anyhow. Continue reading...

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24 Craigslist tips, tricks, and resources

Yesterday The Consumerist pointed to a couple of Curbly posts about how to buy stuff on Craigslist [one, two]. These articles have some good tips, but I think there's more to say.

My Craigslist Experience

Cragislist is one of the seven wonders of the internet. You can use it to find a job, buy a car, get a date for Saturday night, and sell that old couch. The site is free to use for almost everything. It's community-policed, which means spam is taken down as users flag it. Kris and I made extensive use of Craigslist when we bought our new house. Over the past three years we've purchased:

  • 67" x 36" antique mirror with beveled edge: $45
  • Another mirror, battered but okay: $20 and a long wait in traffic
  • Solid cherry Dania shaker desk: $175 and buyer's remorse
  • A housekeeper to perform a final, thorough cleaning when we moved out of our previous house: $75
  • A futon bed/couch in excellent condition: $100
  • "Cool, stout wooden chair" for my smoking porch: $25
  • A 30 x 60 folding table: $30
  • Two shelving units stolen from Borders by disgruntled employees: $20
  • Free-standing metal cabinet that matches those in our kitchen, delivered: $75
  • Newer double bed with metal frame: $50
  • Doctor's balance scale: $30
  • Box of 40+ wine glasses: $20
  • An old rototiller: $50 (which I sold two years later for $30)

We've also swapped some stuff, too.

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Money-Making Hobbies (from 1938)

Note: For a modern look at this topic, check out six tips for money-making hobbies.

What would Get Rich Slowly have been like if it were produced seventy years ago? Maybe something like this. (Or maybe not.) All text and illustrations from Money-Making Hobbies by A. Frederick Collins, published 1938 by D. Appleton-Century Company. I am not making this up. Enjoy!


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You, Inc.: How to be the CFO of your own life

In the very early days of 2002, I realized I needed to change a few things about my life.

My girlfriend and I returned from a vacation in Phoenix, Sedona, and the Grand Canyon in the middle of December 2001, having had an excellent time despite some nervousness about flying so soon after 9/11. Upon returning, four things happened to me that forced me to change my outlook. I suppose the older, more rational me can look back and say on some level I caused them to happen.

  1. My girlfriend left me.
  2. I lost my low-paying non-profit job in the arts — a job for which I had just moved to a horrible apartment in northern New Jersey.
  3. My car was impounded by police. Unbeknownst to me, I had been driving with a suspended license due to my failure to pay a years-old speeding ticket I don't remember receiving.
  4. My landlady somehow got the impression that I was moving out at the end of December (although no such decision was ever communicated). While I was out one night, she removed my belongings from the apartment so someone else could move in.

I moved in with my father so I could take some time to look for a new job and to contemplate my existence for just a couple of months. It was during this time I realized that I was losing money every month while working at that non-profit. It cost me more to travel to the job and pay rent and other necessary expenses than I was earning. I decided to start focusing on my financial situation (among other things). Continue reading...

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Book review: The Millionaire Maker

Loral Langemeier claims that she can turn anyone into a millionaire. In her recent book The Millionaire Maker, she writes:

You can give me someone who's severely in debt, you can give me a single mom on a low income, you can even give me a guy who's living a big lifestyle on fumes. I can take all of them and make them millionaires.

The Millionaire Maker attempts to codify Langemeier's "proprietary Wealth Cycle Process". (That's how she writes it — with capital letters. Langemeier is big on capitalized jargon, tossing around terms like Financial Baseline, Gap Analysis, Freedom Day, Cash Machine, Wealth Accounts, Forecasting, Wealth Account Priority Payment.) Continue reading...

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Money interviews: Imagination Movers

This is the first of a planned series in which I interview friends and family about their attitudes toward money. Most of these will be anonymized (and much shorter). Some will not. This first interview is with Scott Durbin, a member of Imagination Movers, a rock band for kids. This band is an entrepreneurial venture that required a huge leap of faith.

Scott, what made you and the other Movers decide to form a band? And why a band for kids?

Once you get into your 30s, you begin to feel opportunities to be creative evaporating. This time in our lives is often devoted to starting families, working for the company, paying bills to stay above the proverbial water, or working on our various relationships (wife-husband, boyfriend-girlfriend, other). I could get philosophical about the conflict and guilt of doing something seemingly self-indulgent versus being a good father/husband/worker, but let's save that for another day. Luckily I have an amazing wife!

Several forces led to the founding of the Imagination Movers.

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I Was a Grade-School Entrepreneur

My father was an entrepreneur. He was always starting businesses. Most failed. Some succeeded in a wild fashion. (The inheritance he left the family is in the form of his most successful business, the source of my day job.)

It's no surprise that as a child, I wanted to make money too.

I made my first business venture when I was in the second grade. I sold lemonade by the side of the road. It was miserable failure. I was trying to sell lemonade in March, on an infrequently-traveled stretch of country road, in rural Oregon. I didn't sell any lemonade.

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Flipping cars for fun and profit

The No Limits Ladies have posted an article on how to flip cars — how to buy used cars for cheap and sell them again for a profit.

I find used vehicles for sale, often times through, and I price them using When I find one that I know is in more demand, with a motivated seller at or below private party pricing, I go look at it and sometimes buy it. Then I drive it for a while for free, and sell it when I'm ready, for more than I bought it for. Then I roll that money into the next vehicle, or sometimes keep a bit for myself.

According to the article, the steps to flipping a car are: Continue reading...

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