When I first started out in photography I was under the impression that to get the best shots I needed the most expensive photography equipment I could get my hands on. I remember looking at various photo sharing sites, such as Flickr at the like, seeing the type of gear people were using to capture those shots and then thinking “I’ll never get a shot like that” because I didn’t have the budget for the top end cameras, professional spec lenses etc. It was quite demoralizing and the ‘reality check’ was a real kick in the guts.
That was a while ago now, and over the years I have begged, borrowed and saved to get some decent photography equipment. The gear I have isn’t the real expensive high end stuff, but it is at the “prosumer” end, which is still damn expensive.
Even though I have finally bought the equipment I need to capture those stunning shots, some of which I do think are pretty good but others that are pretty dire (we all capture rubbish ones from time to time right?), my top selling stock photos were captured with my first ever dslr camera, a Canon 450d combined with the Canon 50mm f1.8. I have a couple of lenses that cost three times more than the Canon 450d (brand new) and Canon 50mm f1.8, yet I have sold more photos and made more money with the cheaper kit. Hmmm……..
Compared to my current set up the Canon 450d and 50mm f1.8 lens is basic and entry level stuff, but some of the photos I was capturing with that kit during the early days have earned me a few pennies, and are continuing do so even now.
My top selling photo is one of beach huts on the coast, and I really do struggle to see why it is my top seller. The color version of the photo was terrible as the exposure was off, highlights were blown, shadows were too dark so I converted it to black and white. When I say converted, I mean no more than using the “remove color” function in Photoshop Elements. I didn’t even bother de-saturating the color channels and tweaking them, which is pure laziness. The black and white “conversion” is totally amateurish. The other issue I have with my beach huts photo is the composition isn’t that great. In fact, now I have more experience I would say the composition is terrible. Any photography enthusiast would rip my top selling photo apart, and they would be right to as well.
My top selling photo is available on a print on demand store, and it is not one I promote because it doesn’t reflect what I can do. I suppose I should really remove it from the site, but given the general public seem to like it, and I am earning money out of it I am loathed to. Consequently, I just leave the photo alone and let it do its thing. To date this beach hut photo has been ordered 403 times greetings cards, post cards and postage stamps and whilst some of the orders have been for single items there have been many where the order is for numerous cards/stamps. Whilst I haven’t earned loads of money from this photo (yet) the current level of sales is enough to have paid for the 450d and 50mm f1.8 lens, which is pretty cool as I effectively got the set up for “free”.
Based on this, it appears that you don’t need to have the top end photography kit to make money with stock photography and a basic camera and lens will suffice. So, if you only have a basic set up and don’t think the photos you are taking are good enough to sell give the print on demand sites a go. You may well be surprised and find you have a top seller on your hands even though the photo may not be that technically good.
Make money with your camera – related reading
If you want to have a go at earning a bit of cash with your camera you may find the following links useful/interesting:-
“Essential photography services” is an article exploring the services you can offer to make some money with your camera.
Event photography can be very lucrative, and once again you don’t necessarily need the top end equipment to capture photos that sell. If you fancy a go at making some money with event photography “Event photography tips” is an article you may find useful.
Corporate photography is yet another service you can offer to make money that doesn’t require top end photography equipment. If you fancy having a go at corporate photography “Making money with corporate photography” is an article that may be of use.
Product photography is another area that can be lucrative and “Earning money as a product photographer” is an article you may find interesting.
Keen photographer addicted to cameras, lenses and everything photography related. Feel free to follow me in my photography ramblings, and if you have any thoughts, comments, queries or anything else to add I would love to hear from you.