Earning online with your passion is everyone's dream. There are thousands of photographers who already do it, but often they don't bring home more than a few euros a month. The story I'm about to tell shows that, if you study and work hard, you can turn a dream into reality.

I (Daniele Carrer) have earned hundreds of thousands of dollars with microstock. I did it over many years. I know that the period you need to persevere for to have good results is long, and this slowness is one of the reasons why many photographers and video makers give up.

To earn your first 100 dollars, sometimes you need more than 6 months, as happened with Domenico Fornas (read Domenico's story). But you can be made to wait even longer if you decide to be a do-it-yourself producer.

The story of Alex Di Martino is completely different because his timing proves that, if you sacrifice yourself, you can still make good money by selling your photos and videos.

Daniele Carrer

The story of Alex Di Martino

Photographer Alex Di Martino portrait

I'm Alex Di Martino. I've been working as a clerk in a company in Milan for 25 years. It is a safe job, even if today it is nothing more, and I often travel to Rome where I have my family (a wife and daughter) and many passions that I have been pursuing for years:

  • Music (DJ and Radio Speaker)
  • hobby modeling, which led me to a job as a model maker and to publish a website (www.animedalmondo.it)
  • photography (and then video making)

My grandfather gave me my love of photography and taught me many things about it, since the time when we used film instead of cards. I started taking pictures with an old Pentax reflex camera.

I discovered the stock footage and microstock business many years ago, when the business was starting, but at that time I had scarce results. This was due to:

  • complete inexperience in the business
  • partial inexperience in digital photography, which caused me a lot of rejections from the agencies I used, like Istockphoto (visit the website) and Fotolia (now Adobe Stock).

The turning point for making money with photos and videos

I discovered the website of Daniele Carrer, a person I think is fantastic even though we have only ever talked over e-mail.

I:

when I was looking for updated information on the microstock business. I trusted him immediately, enough to buy his course (learn more about the course).

On the internet there is a lot of information about microstock, but Daniele gives tips and practical advice. I recommend it to everyone, because what he says is not obvious. I am not paid to say this. Despite already having 25 years of photographic experience, the course has provided me with what I needed to shoot more with confidence.

After watching Daniele's course, I wondered:

Can I really turn my passion into a paid hobby if I use this method?

I got the answer a few moments later:

Yes.

I didn't think I could get rich with my photos and videos. But, as Daniele managed to turn his passion into a job that supports him and his family, I thought I could try it, too.

Everyone has their own concept of wealth. For me:

being rich means being able to support my family in the best possible way, and that's what Daniele does.

Produce content on vacation

Photographer Alex Di Martino while shooting

I'm writing this story in August, while on vacation. As well as staying with my family, during holidays I can dedicate myself to photography and my other passions. These are the best periods to produce stock footage and stock images, because you have enough time to:

  • set up a strategy
  • research
  • produce content

If you are passionate about photography and video, it will not be difficult to turn that passion into stock images and stock footage production.

My equipment for producing photos and videos

My story as a photographer is perhaps the same as many others. In 25 years, I created an arsenal of photographic equipment:

  • three cameras
  • eight lenses
  • tripods

but Daniele says one thing I agree with:

When you start, you just need basic equipment.

To make money with microstock, you need to have a production strategy. I believe that having 1000 pieces of good quality content online gives you more sales opportunities than having only 2 of perfect quality.

Anyway, this is my equipment. Three cameras:

  • Nikon D3100 APSC. Lens: 35 mm F1.8 and 18/200 F3.5/5.6 optics
  • Nikon D300 APSC. Lens: 50mm F1.8 vintage optics and 18/200 F3.5/5.6
  • Panasonic Lumix Gx80 micro 4/3. Lens: 12/32 F3.5/5.6

Several other lenses for all needs.

Tripods of various kinds. Recently, I bought a Manfrotto 290 with fluid head included that I found perfect for shooting stock footage. I also use other two tripods:

  • Manfrotto pixi Evo,
  • Manfrotto pocket MP3.

I always carry them with me when I produce, except the Manfrotto 290, which I use only for some shooting. They are small and light and I keep the pocket MP3 always mounted on the mirrorless (Panasonic Lumix Gx80), the lightest of the three cameras.

My first two weeks after the course

Photographer Alex di Martino while shooting outdoor

I want to share some data of my sales since I bought Daniele's course and followed his advice:

I produced 147 pieces of content in a couple of weeks, divided as follows:

  • 48 stock images
  • 57 time-lapse (6 to 10 seconds)
  • 42 real-time videos

Statistics with agencies

The agencies I upload to are:

  • Storyblocks
  • Pond5 (this is my portfolio)
  • Shutterstock

Mine is common stock footage and images, but conceived with personal criteria, and following some of the suggestions that Daniele gives.

This is the analysis of what I uploaded:

  • Storyblocks – 99 pieces of content sent (only real-time video and time-lapse, no photos) and 99 accepted
  • Pond5 – 147 submissions and 147 accepted files
  • Shutterstock – 147 submissions and 145 accepted (2 photos were not accepted due to my mistake, as I had not noticed they were out of focus and with artifacts)

Immediate sales

I sold my content within the first week after uploading:

  • Storyblocks: 1 video (it was in 4K resolution, $179 paid to my Paypal account!)
  • Pond5: 2 Full HD videos and 1 picture: $14.50 x2 + $2.50 = $31.50
  • Shutterstock: 1 Full HD video and 2 photos sold. $20.70 + 25c x2 = $ 21.20

Altogether, $231.70 in the first week!!!

I was surprised by the result, both in terms of the acceptance rate and the sales.

I am not Edward Weston, or Ernst Haas, who has made colors and movement his peculiarity. I think that the "luck" factor made a lot for me, but those sales also depend on the study and work, and on Daniele's precious advice.

I hope that sharing my experience is useful to all producers, and thanks to Daniele for giving me the chance to publish this page. In case you want advice from me, or something else, my e-mail is:

a.lombardidj@hmail.com

Good Microstock to all!

Alex Di Martino

This story was originally published on the Italian microstock blog of Daniele Carrer.

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