About Me

My photo
Monroe, Ohio, United States
Began my photography career as most people do...the highschool yearbook. Upon graduation I attended the US Naval Photography School in Pensacola Fla. After getting a qualification in basic photography and then later attending their Portrait School,was assigned to a military operation. Experiences included USO photography for Bob Hope, Brooke Shields, Kathy Lee Crosby and Wayne Newton.Have also had the opportunity for travel assignments to places such as Beruit, Israel, Africa, Australia, Brazil, Italy, Spain and England. Upon exiting the Navy in 1984,opened up a Tanning Salon and Health Club in Oxford,Ohio and began photographing weddings, all as a vehicle to fund my way through college. I enjoy travel, sports photography, special event and Cincinnati Reds photography. I am frequently contracted as a sports photographer by parents, sports teams, and organizations,throughout the Cincinnati and Dayton, Ohio areas, to provide the highest quality sports photography, both on an individual and team basis.

September 28, 2009

Wide Open

Making Money Selling Stock Photography

By Bonnie Caton in Portland, Oregon

BONNIE: Thanks for joining us for an interview, Efrain. We're excited
you’ll be with us in Santa Fe next month, too. Can you tell us a
little bit about how you got into photography?

EFRAIN: My father was a school portrait photographer, so I was around
cameras from an early age. It was not until the mid-90’s, however,
that I got into photography in earnest. I immediately gravitated
towards travel photography. At the time I lived in Denver, Colorado,
an area that provided world-class landscapes and popular travel

In 1999, I began marketing my images and articles on a part-time
basis, and I was pleasantly surprised that I was able to make some
money licensing my work.

BONNIE: On your website (Padroimages.com) you mention that you were a
lawyer before switching to stock photography full-time. What made you
decide to switch to selling your photos?

EFRAIN: In 2003 my wife got a job offer at the Los Alamos National
Laboratory near Santa Fe, New Mexico. By then, I’d been a part-time
photographer for five years, and I was not planning on going full time
until retirement. As luck would have it, New Mexico doesn’t offer
lawyers “reciprocity,” meaning that lawyers wishing to practice law in
New Mexico have to take and pass the state’s bar exam, regardless of
experience. Instead of taking another bar exam, I decided to take the
plunge and become a full-time photographer once we moved to New
Mexico. I was 45 at the time.

BONNIE: Now you sell stock photos through your website, correct? How
much do you generally make per image (if you don't mind my asking)?

EFRAIN: I use my web site to sell stock, although my web site is not
set up so that photo buyers can download my work. The web site is more
of a marketing tool, an electronic portfolio. Typically, an editor
will look at my web site (or receive one of my promo cards, for
example), and contact me with a request for a particular image. I then
forward that image via an FTP site. I send selected images in high
resolution via a disc. I also sell my photos through two stock
agencies: Color-Pic and New Mexico Stock.

On average, I make about $100 to $150 per image.

BONNIE: You have a wide variety of stock travel photos listed for sale
on your site. Where do most of them sell, and which photo subjects do
you find sell best?

EFRAIN: Most of the photographs I license are to local or regional
clients such as New Mexico Journey, Santa Fean Magazine, New Mexico
Magazine, the New Mexico Film Guide, and the New Mexico Vacation
Guide. The articles I write, on the other hand, are most commonly
published in national or international publications (Photo Life
(Canada), Outdoor Photographer, Lighthouse Digest, and Shutterbug
Magazine, for example).

Photo subjects that sell best are often iconic images of a particular
location. For example, in New Mexico, that would include adobe
structures, chili ristras (strings of chilis), historic churches and
missions, and landscapes (Carlsbad Caverns, White Sands, Chaco
Canyon). In Puerto Rico (where I was born and raised), best selling
subjects include Spanish Colonial architecture (as in Old San Juan),
Spanish forts, folkloric dancers, salsa musicians, and typical food.

BONNIE: What would you say is your top piece of advice for a hobbyist
photographer who's looking to sell his/her photos online? (Or, what do
you wish you knew when you were just starting out?)

EFRAIN: It’s important to be aware of two things before trying to sell
your stock photos online: First, selling stock images is a numbers
game (more pictures = more money), and capturing, editing, optimizing,
captioning, and downloading images can be time consuming. Knowing this
ahead of time is important to avoid disappointment if results don’t
come immediately. Patience and persistence will pay off, however.

Second, producing images can be expensive if you’re not careful. When
traveling to photograph for stock, have a budget and make sure you
have a shooting list to help focus your image-gathering efforts. At
the same time, be flexible enough to make sure you capture unexpected
images while on a trip. When I travel I also have a handful of ideas
for articles that I can work on during the trip that I can pitch to
magazines on my return.

The idea is to travel with a plan and budget, and with specific ideas
of how you will market your work after the trip.

BONNIE: Thanks, Efrain!

Posted by Cincinnati and Dayton Sports Photographer Vincent Rush of Monroe, Ohio. For more information (877) 858-6295

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