was setup by Gregory E. Rouse (a home business entrepreneur) as a FREE resource to share how people can make money with their hobbies and interests.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Understanding Stock Photo Agencies

Understanding Stock Photo Agencies
Stock photo agencies can be loosely classified as service oriented or sales oriented. For the most part, service oriented agencies supply the editorial market and sales oriented agencies the commercial market.
Service oriented agencies are subject driven. When people are the subject, the look is more or less journalistic. Photos stocked by these agencies are generally not contrived or stylized but natural in appearance. Their photos are meant to show something real, whether it be people, places, or things. The primary market for service oriented agencies is editorial, the publishers of books and magazines, filmstrips or video disks, and the photo researchers who will send them call lists or come looking for practically any subject under the sun. Model releases are seldom required.
Sales oriented agencies are concept driven. Photos stocked by sales oriented agencies tend to be stylized or contrived. This is where the former or would-be advertising photographer will seek to market his work. It's where concept is king and strong graphics a necessity, with models playing the part of any people shown. The images are more commercial in appearance for what is primarily a commercial clientele, and model releases are a must. Sales oriented agencies may research requests, but the majority of their sales come from catalogs of specially selected images, CDs, duplicate transparencies distributed through affiliated offices, and now, digital images available online.
As a photographer, you can make sales by having a large quantity of material with a service based agency or generate sales with a potentially higher dollar value by having fewer but more carefully executed images on file with a sales oriented agency.
So, you want to build your agency file with several hundred stock photographs this year? The key is to write down the steps that you’ll need to take to get you there. What will you photograph? What will it involve? What will you need to do? Write all this down. List what you will photograph and what you will do to get those photographs. Will they involve props and models? Will it involve travel? Where? Then just do it!
Here’s a few Stock Photo Houses to check out:
Jupiter Images
Super Stock

Travel Photography
Place your work with a stock photo agency that's big on travel photography. Stock agencies that supply travel photos can best be found by studying the travel magazines and seeing whose pictures are frequently used within them. Let users of travel photography know what you have available in stock. Magazines using travel photography should welcome lists of travel-related material. When preparing your lists, stress location and don't mix in more general subjects with your "travel" stock lists unless you can tag them appropriately such as, "Hawaiian Sunsets" or "Grizzly Bear, Glacier National Park, Montana".
Also, if you’re working with a stock photo agency, let them know about your travel plans and ask them for suggestions or what they might be interested in seeing from your destinations. You may be able to help fill gaps in their files or supply them with up-to-date material that's needed.
When selling travel photography to publications, supply articles along with the photos you do. A lot of publications use travel pieces, not just the big travel magazines, but also the auto club magazines and the in-flight magazines of various airlines. There are also regional magazines and magazines for owners of recreational vehicles that feature travel. And don't forget the retirement magazines.
Wildlife Photography
Wildlife photography is more than a specialty, it's a lifestyle. Wildlife photographers are people who live for that special picture and are happiest in the pursuit of it.
Wildlife photos are widely used in the market place: in magazines that are completely devoted to them and some that are not, in textbooks, on cards, calendars, and other paper products, even in ads. Some agencies totally specialize in wildlife. While many wildlife photographers just sell their own work or publish their own books on the subject.
With so many animal species in existence, subject matter is plentiful. But needs can also be very specific and animals don't change very much. So the stock files aren't begging to be replenished, a good collection is almost timeless. This can work for or against a photographer: for the one who's established and against the one seeking entry into the field. Agencies, for example, will probably not be interested in more of the same kinds of shots of the same animals. They will want something different. This generally comes down to photographs depicting life processes and behavior, stuff that's harder to get.
If you're an experienced hunter, you're probably ahead of the game in what it takes to stalk and find animals. If you not, you'd do well to learn by subscribing to sporting magazines. You'll also be treated to some good photography and these magazines could be among the first markets for your work once you get started.
Like so much in photography, you've got to love taking wildlife photos and view it long term. Wildlife photography isn't for everyone. But if it's something you really enjoy, it could be for you. (in my next post Finding Freelance Photography Jobs I’ll give you a great resource in this area)
Finally, stock photo agencies are an area you need to research and develop in your portfolio, but they are just one area among many in which to turn your hobby into an income with photography.
NOTE: Seeing how digital is the wave of the future, a great free resource is the Digital Learning Center at Kodak. They’ve really done a nice job with this site and when you combine it with the course in my first post of this series “Freelance Photography“, you’re on your way to becoming a quality digital photographer. 

To your success,

CHECK OUT: the site that finds and posts FREE software and tools for running an online business!

Friday, April 24, 2009

How To Get Started In Freelance Photography

How To Get Started In Freelance Photography
One of the easiest ways to making extra money is with a camera. More people own cameras than radios, and photography is one of the fastest growing hobbies in the world. Yet using a camera as an extra income tool is largely overlooked!
You don't have to have one of the popular, more expensive cameras. In many instances, an "off-the-shelf" camera will suit your purposes just fine. The only special piece of equipment you may want to invest in would be a good tripod for mounting the camera in different situations.
Beginners should avoid markets already overcrowded by professional competitors, like very well known magazines, which obviously deal only with professionals. The best markets for beginners are trade journals, special interest magazines and websites. Special interest publications attract very special groups of readers. For example, magazines and websites on mountain biking, pottery, golf, etc… which are bought by subscriptions, on newsstands or free.
By consuming a large amount of pictures, maintaining a constant demand for new ones and paying less than well-known magazines, they avoid the competition of professional and industrial photographers by buying mostly from beginners like you.
To begin with, the starting freelancer should concentrate on a subject he/she is familiar with. For example, a special hobby and/or what you enjoy shooting the most, whether it’s scenery, people, animals, etc. By finding out your specialty, you will be able to select your market and determine what magazines and websites would be interested in your work.
After you have selected the field you want to specialize in and found several magazines and websites related to your specialty, study what kind of pictures the editors are buying. A general description of picture requirements is often listed in the magazines and websites. You can also find out by looking at the pictures used in the past. Submit only the pictures you consider as good or better than the ones being used.
With a halfway decent camera, anyone can be a photographer. But, success in certain fields such as the outdoor market requires skills other than photography. You'll also need appropriate clothing for the regions and conditions, skills and equipment for the specialized activities and lots of patience, not only to get the picture, but because the pay off is not a quick one. Like so much in photography, you've got to love taking photos and view it long term. Specifically, the outdoor photographer needs specialized outdoor skills to even get to the places to take these kinds of photos. So to help you out visit my website on outdoor trips and skills and sign up for my newsletter at: CLICK HERE
Use Writing to Sell Your Photography
Here’s an important tip - Where freelancing for magazines and websites is concerned, your willingness to write can sometimes mean the difference between selling your photographs or not. Although editors work with words, they need pictures. They also need facts that are appropriate for their magazines and websites, facts that pictures can "hang" on. In other words, editors need information to go along with any photos they use.
What's most important to an editor is how useful the information they provide is to their readers. And, if photos can make that information more useful or appealing, which they do, then the editors will buy them. Now you might not think you can write, but remember that’s what an editor is for… editing. Let them do their job, they don’t need Hemingway, they need facts. If the readers aren't interested in what the magazine is putting out, the magazine won't sell, so give them something to work with.
Besides, if you’re willing to do the research, I can show you how to write (See the Freelancing Writing posts on this Blog). Article writing, the kind of writing generally used with photos entails facts. Which means observation, research and fact finding. This is where you, as a photographer, have the advantage!
First, you are to some degree already an observer. Second, you can supply ready-made photography involving whatever it is you're observing. Third, if you can research, either directly by asking questions or indirectly by using reference sources (i.e. the library, Internet, etc.), you can, together with whatever it is you've photographed, provide an editor with the “full meal deal”.
Yes, it pays to study the markets by reading the magazines and websites you submit your work to. But, ultimately the polishing process is the editor's job, not yours. So, if you want to improve your chances as a freelance photographer, study your markets and whenever you're out photographing something, look for an angle or idea, then use it as a written "Hook" on which to hang your pictures.

Finally, send your pictures to the Picture Editor of the magazine or website by finding the address in the publication itself or in the Directory of Trade Journals at your local library if the publication is not online or sold on newsstands.
To your success,

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Freelance Photography

Freelance Photography
If you own a camera and can take some reasonably good pictures, you definitely can make money as a freelance photographer. Simple equipment should produce pictures good enough to sell, but of course, if you own special accessories, use them!
The market for pictures is tremendous. It has been estimated that magazines and newspapers buy over 60 millions photos a year. Many freelancers make a good income selling their pictures to specialized markets, little known by the majority of people.
In outdoor photography for example, a lot depends on seeing a picture rather than on setting one up. Still, if you can't translate what you see onto film with good technical and compositional skills, your audience may not think that you see very much at all. So how do you get to the point where what you see is what you get on film? By exposing an awful lot of film and learning along the way.
Assuming that you already know something about operating a camera and taking pictures, the posts that follow are intended to help you find a market for your pictures. If you feel that your photography skills need improving, there’s a great course that’s not based on equipment, but instead shows you how to do it with a point and shoot digital camera. It’s a great course on compositional skills or technique, check out this link to learn more: CLICK HERE

Understanding the Industry
Photographers use their cameras and film to portray people, places, and events much as a writer uses words. Those who are skillful can capture the personality of individuals, animals or the mood of scenes on film. Photographers usually specialize in a particular type of photography, such as outdoor landscapes, wildlife, portrait, scientific, medical, engineering photography, etc.
Although their subject matter varies widely, many photographers use the same basic equipment. The most important tool being the camera. The professionals' cameras are generally constructed to use a variety of lenses designed for close-up, medium-range, or long-distance photography, along with the use of tripods and other equipment to aid in their shots. Besides cameras, tripods and lenses, photographers also use a variety of colored filters to obtain the desired effect under different lighting conditions.
In addition to the skilled use of cameras and accessories, photographers must be able to compose their pictures with creativity and style. Some even develop and print their own photographs, in order to enlarge or otherwise alter the basic image.
Whatever there educational background, photographers must have good eyesight and color vision, artistic ability, and manual dexterity. They should be patient, accurate, and enjoy working with detail. Some have basic knowledge of mathematics which is helpful for the use of various lenses and light sources, not to mention computers. With digital technologies growing, computer knowledge is the wave of the future.
Salaried jobs for photographers are found for the most part in photographic or commercial studios. Other major employers include newspapers, magazines, advertising agencies, radio and television broadcasters, motion picture companies and government agencies. Nearly half of all photographers and camera operators are self-employed, a much higher proportion than the average for all occupations. The majority of these are freelance photographers who do individual projects on a one-time-only or occasional basis for ad agencies or various publications. This is where you come in, when it comes to photography freelancing is wide open!
5 Steps to Success
  1. Find a niche market that you’re enthusiastic about.
  2. Research a subject of interest not being covered or not being covered thoroughly enough.
  3. Photograph the subject matter.
  4. Prepare and submit photos to agencies.
  5. Develop a portfolio for marketing.

To your success,

CHECK OUT: the site that finds and posts FREE software and tools for running an online business!

Monday, April 20, 2009

How To Write Articles

How To Write Articles

To be successful, work on your article every single day, preferably for regular hours. Research, rephrase and rewrite until you are satisfied. Do not ask the opinions of others, especially during the writing stage. You don't need to know how 15 other people would put it. You simply want YOUR ideas from YOUR perspective.
Other opinions can be needless distractions and disheartening. They can prevent you from following through on your idea and becoming entwined with someone else's. If you want advice, get it before starting your project or after it’s finished.
There are two kinds of articles, those covering things in general, which can be published at almost any time, and those that cover current events and are more time sensitive. The best place to start is with the kind of articles that are more general and can be delivered in a less urgent manner as you get your writing legs or pen under you.
In order for acceptance by the editor there must be a twist of personal interest to the readers. The unusual and odd things about people and places that give the reader a departure from the daily drudgery are the best and most salable articles to write about. This includes adventure, mystery, money, accidents, discoveries, obsessions, rip-offs, struggles, etc.
First, let the readers know what is in store for them in the first paragraphs of an article. You must attract attention from the first words when writing articles, where as a novel or short story can build to a climax and generally clears up all the loose ends at completion.
For a article to sell to the publisher "action" in the first and last part is a must, while the body is devoted to narrative or explanations with a number of vital incidents to keep the action alive. Keep the writing "flowing" in such a manner that the reader will anxiously read ahead to see what happens next.
Submit 8x 10 glossy print photos if possible, as often the picture will be the difference between acceptance and rejection. It pays to get a good camera so you can snap pictures along with the articles (see future posts on freelance photography).
Submitting Your Work
Submit your article in the correct format as stated in the guidelines. If they don’t provide guidelines, the typical format includes:
  • Author’s name, Social Security Number, word count and title are all at the top.
  • The body should be double-spaced and have a number on every page.
  • Type only on the front side of each page.
  • Sidebars should be included if any.

NOTE: Always follow the submission guidelines, but if not given include with your submission, a hard copy of your manuscript, a computer disk in text format, photos with negatives and appropriate releases from photo subjects and finally, a short note proposing another article. Don’t under estimate this last step, if you do good work and you’ve made the editor’s job easier, you can usually expect future jobs!
Again, if you don’t feel like your writing skills are up to par or you need a refresher, there are some an excellent online courses. Here’s one I can recommend: CLICK HERE
Also, to stay on your game, sign-up for all the free email newsletters for writers. With the Internet and all the competition among new websites, there’s a wealth of information and tips available for the taking. Websites are trying to get people to their sites and are offering info for free in order to get them there. Yes, they will try to sell you something, but who cares, if there giving you what you want, you may just buy what they have to offer, otherwise you still get all that free info.
Ultimately, in the end, you just need to write! So, get busy. Pick a subject, write a query, gather the information and type it up! You'll be a hero before you know it. Neighbors will begin to label you as the notorious writer. You'll be able to hold your head high and you'll be able to start putting "Writer" at the end of your name!
To your success,

Friday, April 17, 2009

How To Write Query Letters

How To Write Query Letters

Getting into the writing field may be no more difficult than asking your hometown newspaper if they will accept (and possibly pay for) a short article you have written. But, the standard for the industry is to send QUERIES to the publications you want to write for. A query is the writing industries standard way of proposing an idea or future article for a publication.
Many publications will not accept unsolicited manuscripts. Even those that do would rather read a well-written, creative letter outlining a proposed article than wade through a 2,000 word piece to find it acceptable. Your query letter can open the door that might have otherwise been slammed in your face. Your letter should be an example of proficient writing that piques the editor's interest in your subject and the angle you're planning to use.
While many publications will not accept manuscripts currently being considered by another publication, you can send query letters to several at the same time. If you are fortunate enough to have more than one acceptance, you can always write two articles with different slants from the same research.
After you send out your query, one way to avoid hovering over the mailbox is to do it again. Don't just send off one query and wait for the verdict, send numerous query letters out constantly, never waiting to hear from one before sending the next. If you receive a rejection, move along to the next publisher and pump out a new cover letter, so you can do it again. You can't sell what's sitting in a rejection pile.
The Components of a Query Letter
First off, always follow the publications submission guidelines. Don’t re-invent the wheel, follow them to letter. However, if they just request a query letter, here’s the components. The best query letters have 3 paragraphs:

  1. The first paragraph is your hook. Editors are very busy and under a lot of stress to meet deadlines. If you don’t grab their attention in the first paragraph, you’ve lost. Hint: When your query is accepted, use the first paragraph of your query as the first paragraph of your article.
  2. The second paragraph should be used to briefly summarize your article.
  3. The third paragraph is for your bio. Briefly describe qualifications, experience and credits. Also, indicate any experts you plan on interviewing and if you can supply photos.

Finally, always include multiple methods of contact (i.e. phone, email and address)
To your success,

Monday, April 13, 2009

Freelance Writing

Freelance Writing

Just as all doctors are not neurosurgeons, all writers are not novelists. A look into the field yields categories you might never have imagined. Magazine articles, local newspapers, newsletters, greeting cards, books, business writing, websites, even advertising copy are all areas in which freelancers can and do make money.

Right now, publishing companies are producing more and more specialized publications to satisfy different niche markets, which means more and more freelance writing assignments. With a computer, a desire for writing and the discipline to meet deadlines, you’re on your way to earning $50,000 a year or more! To cash in, all you need to know is how to find your specialty, how to establish yourself as an expert, how to protect your work (covering your backside) and where to find the jobs.

The series of posts that will follow are intended to help you find a market for your writing, assuming you already write articles good enough to be sold. If you need some help with your writing, here’s a great website for writing. For both the beginner and seasoned veteran, it can give you the boost needed to get over the block - to learn more CLICK HERE

What’s A Freelancer?
Freelancer is defined as; one who pursues a profession without long-term contractual commitments to any one employer.

Anyone can be a freelance writer! It’s one of the cornerstone home-based businesses of the entrepreneur. For those who feel the calling, freelance writing can be both enjoyable and rewarding.

Everyone is qualified to write something! About the only absolute prerequisite is the ability to explain yourself. Of course, to break into the higher income potential, experience, talent and a good knowledge of the language are essential.

Building a good relationship with your editor through good writing, dependability and strict adherence to deadlines is also a plus. It makes you a reliable resource for future projects the editor may be interested in.

Understanding the Industry
Writers and editors communicate through the written word. Writers develop original fiction and nonfiction prose for books, magazines, trade journals, websites, newspapers, technical studies and reports, company newsletters, radio and television broadcasts, and advertisements. Editors supervise writers and select and prepare (edit) material for publication or broadcasting.

Writers start by selecting a topic or being assigned one by an editor. They then gather information on the topic through personal observation, research, and interviews. From the information gathered, they select and organize the material to be used, revise or rewrite sections and finally put it to the reader with the desired effect.

Whatever their educational background, writers must be able to express ideas clearly and logically. Creativity, intellectual curiosity, a broad range of knowledge, self-motivation, and perseverance are also valuable assets. Familiarity with word processing equipment is useful and since writing requires research, writers must be familiar with research techniques.

Nearly 40 percent of writers work for newspapers, magazines, and book publishers. Substantial numbers also work on journals and newsletters published by business and nonprofit organizations. Others write and edit advertising and public relations materials for advertising agencies, public relations firms, and large corporations. Some also work in radio and television broadcasting, others develop publications for Federal, State, and local governments. Thousands of others work as freelancers earning income from their articles, books and less commonly, television and movie scripts. My goal here is to show you how to be a freelancer for niche markets or how to take your hobbies and interest and make moeny with them. Imagine getting paid to do what you love!

4 Steps to Success
  1. Find a niche market that you’re enthusiastic about.
  2. Research a subject of interest not being covered or not being covered thoroughly enough.
  3. Write excellent query letters. There are many sources out there.
  4. After being accepted, write your article and then submit it for pay!

I'll try to cover each of these steps in the next few posts.

To your success,


CHECK OUT: the site that finds and posts FREE software and tools for running an online business!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Money Making Hobbies

Money Making Hobbies - How To Get Started

It's great to delve into an interesting hobby such as rafting, outdoor art or photography. It's even more exciting (and financially rewarding) to turn your special talents into a successful home-based business.

Men and women across the country are joining the ranks of entrepreneurs converting hobbies into money-paying propositions. Do you want to make a $50,000 a year or more? Maybe you’re interested in a new equipment, paying for the cost of travel or just an extra $1000 a month. Whatever your ambitions are, people are currently doing it.

I remember the first time it dawned on me that I could be making money playing in the outdoors and doing what I love. Imagine being in the outdoors at that special place where the cool mist of the waterfall refreshes you after a long hike. As you’re sitting there taking your photos, you realize that not only is this trip going to be paid for, but you’re going to make a lot of money doing it!

The fact is, the first time I actually thought of making money with my hobby, I was thinking big, I was thinking possibilities. Dreams allow us to see ourselves at our fullest potential. They show us what we can be and what we can do when we remove the barriers of fear, insecurity and doubt. I cannot think of a good purpose for FEAR, other than to hold us back. So, keep your dream alive and nourish it, protect it and always, always, treat it with RESPECT!

How to get started
Never forget that this is the age of specialized information. People are completely willing to spend their money for different forms of information, provided it is useful and relevant. Your job is to find a need and fill it. To provide real value by helping others find what they seek.

Where can you find information that others seek. For the best results, start with your own hobby or field of expertise and turn it into a book, manual, report, newsletter, photos, video, etc. Focus on providing your targeted market with simple, understandable and helpful information.

To get started sit down with some paper and write down every subject you have some degree of knowledge about. Don't force it, when ideas no longer come, stop and start up again at a later time. When you feel comfortable that you have covered most of the areas you know, start picking out the topics that interest you the most, the ones that you can get excited about!

Now, use one of the methods that will be described later in this Blog to make money with your hobby. Once you’ve done that try another method and soon there’s no looking back. Even though I’ve used a number of the methods to follow, it would be ridiculous to claim to be an expert in all of them. So to help you out, I’ve researched and put links to experts whenever I find them, because who better to learn from than a seasoned veteran. Modeling those who are already successful is one of the cornerstones of success.

Remember, I’m a teacher by trade, so I believe in the infinite potential within us all. Hopefully this Blog will give you the ball, than it’s up to you to RUN WITH IT!

To your success,

--Gregory Rouse 

CHECK OUT: the site that finds and posts FREE software and tools for running an online business!