Interview with stock photographer, Teresa Otto
Bonnie: What attracted you to stock photography?
Teresa: I like the variety. The subject matter can range from landscape to food and everything in between. If you have willing models, you can take people pictures. If you have access to something unique (I am in the medical field), you can photograph things that not everyone else can.
Bonnie: That’s a great point! How long have you been submitting photos as stock?
Teresa: I’ve been submitting stock photos to Alamy, Bigstock, Dreamstime, Fotolia, and Shutterstock since August of 2017. Last year I got up the nerve to apply to iStock (I was very intimidated by them since they are a part of Getty). I was accepted and have consistently sold the most photos there each month.
Bonnie: Congratulations! What’s the story behind your best-selling image?
Teresa: My best-selling image is a close up of an American flag. I had gone to a local wildlife reserve to photograph what turned out to be very uncooperative bald eagles. On my way home, I noticed a flag that I’d driven by hundreds of times. I didn’t even get out of the car, I just rolled down the window (the lazy approach).
My highest single commission, though, has been $100. I photographed Tina Turner, my friend’s Polish chicken. (Pictured below.) She was a bit shy but lots more cooperative than the eagles.
Finally, my single highest selling price for a photo was on yet another bird. He sold for $500 on iStock and my commission was $75. Believe it or not, I’m not that crazy about birds — just imagine the photos you could take if you are!
Bonnie: About how much income have you made with stock so far?
Teresa: I’m up to $1,750. It grows every month since I upload consistently.
Bonnie: What’s your favorite thing about shooting photos for stock?
Teresa: You can photograph anything you like. When I need to have a humbling experience, I try to photograph bald eagles. When I want a sure thing (and it’s freezing outside), I can set up a little shoot at home and photograph my lunch. Stock is so versatile you can photograph just about anything that makes you happy.
Bonnie: Any tips for folks who are just starting out?
Teresa: I joined the Breakfast Stock Club before I started submitting photos. Not only do you have one of your photos edited by the instructor, but you also get to see other students’ photos edited. The instructor, Shelly Perry, offered suggestions for taking saleable photos. She also offered encouragement. When she said it was stock-worthy, I took the leap and it has definitely paid off!
Bonnie: That’s so great to hear! Thank you for sharing Teresa and here’s to your continued success with stock photography!