When most people think 'wildlife photography career' they immediately think of selling their images. Yes, this is an option for you and there are a few stock photo sites that you can submit your images to such as
These stock photo sites will pay you between 20 and 60% of the the price upon the sale on your images. But in order to sell, your images must be good quality, well exposed, sharp, high-resolution images.
All the above photo sites are free to join but they do not market your images. You will submit your images and then you will have to wait until they contact you.
If you would prefer a more proactive stock photo site then you should consider Global Eye because they will market your images and generate sales and leads for you. They do, however, charge a small joining fee BUT you get 100% of the sales price of your image - there is no 50% commission payable on each photo!
If you're still wondering how the business works, what's required and how to get started, get a copy of the free Stock Photography 101 report as it answers all the big questions from photographers looking to get into stock and not quite sure how all the pieces fit together.
And if you're wondering just what your photos are worth, or how you go about determining prices when a client comes knocking on your door, here's a free
Stock Price Calculator
If you go with the free options above you will need to advertise your business and you can do so free at sites such as
You will obviously need a website and you can create one for free or at a reasonable cost at sites such as
If you want to just own a website and sell a few images in order to make some extra money to supplement your income then selling images to stock sites is for you - but if you want to create a photography business that will allow you to eventually give up your current boring job then read on...
A wildlife photography career was our dream yet both Jennifer and I used to have nine to five jobs with most of our bosses leaving much to be desired.
A wildlife photography career was our goal as this was our hobby and passion but we were stuck in a corporate world where we got to go to the national parks once a year - on our annual vacation.
Can you relate to this? We thought so!
In 2005 we realised the power of the world-wide-web and decided to create a web site to see if we could make a wildlife photography career from our hobby.
We knew nothing about HTML and not much about creating a web site. We hired a designer who created the following web site for us...
There were a few things wrong with the web site:
• It was created in 'flash' - not a good idea if you want all the search engines to find you!
• The pages were not centered but left-justified, leaving a lot of barren white space to the right of each page
• The site had about a dozen pages - not very impressive to visitors or search engines
• And lastly the designer would take from a few weeks to a month or two to make changes. And then some of the changes were not what we wanted, leading to more waiting - all of this is what drove us mad!
So much for our wildlife photography career!
Then in 2008 we heard about Site Build It! or Solo Build It! as they are now called, and how many people were able to give up their day jobs as they were making a good living from the internet. We were skeptical and procrastinated for the whole year.
We tried to find other ways to build a website but by the end of the year, and after much research, it seemed that SBI! was the way to go for our dream wildlife photography career.
We could create our own website without having to rely on unreliable designers and we did not need to know anything about web design or HTML! And any changes we wanted to our web site could be done in minutes.
In December 2008 we paid our annual subscription and within a year we had created over 120 pages and our Google PR ranking had jumped from 0 to 3. Within two years our ranking had climbed to 4 and by year five we had a page-rank of 5.
This page ranking (PR) is Google's impression of the site in terms of not only number of visitors but the importance of the information provided and the length of time visitors stay on each page.
The beauty about SBI! is that they have a template that you populate with your information - you then preview the page, click 'analyze', and if it meets the search engine spider and human visitor criteria, you then click 'Build' and viola! - you have a page that is live on the web. You then repeat this with each page and follow their ten-day program to success.
We are selling our images, the web site is making money for us and we are now able to visit the Kruger Park, Kgalagadi, Etosha the Pilanesberg and any other national park a few times each year. We wish we had started with SBI back in 2005!
Then in 2012 SBI updated their systems and went from SBI! 2.0 to SBI! 3.0.
In addition they have upgraded their old block-builder template (BB1) to a new BB2 template that is much more flexible.
SBI! has a good product and we are getting about 250 000 visitors per annum. Back in 2005 our web site cost us about US$500,00 and we ended up with a 'dead' website. The designer designed the site as best he knew and then left the rest to us - we would need to notify the search engines, market our site to the directories and so forth.
We also looked at converting to a WordPress website but it would cost US$1800,00 and that does not include maintenance, security etc. We would therefore be looking at US$2000,00 just for year-one.
With SBI! our costs are US$299.00 per year and this annual subscription cost has stayed constant for these 5 years and includes all the SEO, maintenance and security stuff that needs to be done regularly!
At the end of the day SBI has a winning product and if you stick to their 'tortoise' formula you can have a successful website business. That's the key - SBI helps and guides you to build a business that makes money and not just build a website.
The winning formula of
SBI! is C-T-P-M (create good Content, drive relevant Traffic to your site, Pre-sell the visitors and then Monetize by selling your goods or services). This is where SBI excels as they show you, via 10 steps, exactly what you should do to make a successful on-line business.
Keep in mind that creating an online business can work for a wildlife photography career as well as many other careers.
You need to take what you are passionate about - be it wedding photography, sport photography, travelling to certain places, dogs, cats, health, sports, finance or anything else - and then provide information to other people who will benefit from your knowledge.
All of them started their careers before the advent of the internet so had to rely on the quality and uniqueness of their images to win photo competitions or to catch the eye of a publisher so that they could publish their first book or magazine article.
The one thing the above professional photographers all have in common is that they are prepared to work hard to build their businesses.
Most started their wildlife photography career by selling their images and publishing books.
Times have changed and their book and photograph sales have decreased but they looked for other income avenues such as photo safaris and creating their own websites where they blog, publish newsletters and market their various products and services.
In addition to a website you should write articles like the ones we write for Ezine@rticles.com and you should write articles for quality websites such as Digital Photography School and for quality magazines such as PhotographyBB.
Here are three of our PhotographyBB articles that you can download:
• Kgalagadi - a Nature Photographer's Paradise
• Etosha - the Ultimate African Self-Drive Photo Safari
• Photographing South Africa's super-seven on a budget
If your articles are quality articles (meaning they are original and provide value to the reader) other websites may see them and republish them like our articles on PictureCorrect and on FindTripInfo.com
You should also look for opportunities to be interviewed. If you tell exciting stories and show your good images there is a good chance that people will approach you in order to interview you.
You can download a PDF of our most recent interview
Remember that your website won't market itself - SBI will let the search engines know about each of your new pages but in addition you need to drive extra visitors to your site and this is accomplished by articles, which also adds to your credibility.
If you decide to sell eBooks like we do then you must do a press release. We submitted this press release for The Photographer's Guide to Etosha National Park to just four free press release websites and within a few days our search engine hits had gone from just 2 pages to over 10 pages of results for our eBook!
There are many PR websites but most charge for their service but the following four have free options so you can test their results:
For our Photographers Guide to the Pilanesberg eBook we used a paid press release service that cost US$700,00 and we had a few hundred reposts and mentions but got no more book sales than when we sent out the free press release for our Etosha eBook!
We will therefore be sticking to the free press release services in future!
A photographer friend of mine wants a wildlife photography career and so he was watching how I was building my online business. He was very interested and then said "It looks like too much hard work!"
This is just one of many excuses some people will use in order to procrastinate, yet for motivated people who are ready to work the internet now enables amateur photographers to display their photographs and market themselves to millions of people.
To read some of our marketing tips please scroll down to the bottom of
Some photographers are making a living via their websites by selling their photographs, selling mousepads and calendars containing their photographs, while others are selling eBooks, like we are doing, that provide advice on how to take better photographs.
A wildlife photography career is not impossible as there are many ways for you to earn a living from your hobby via a website.
You have the cameras and lenses, you have the photographs, now all you need is a business and SBI! or WordPress provides that online business for you!
Take us as a case study - we have a successful wildlife photography career based on our passion, equipment, skill and the world wide web!
"It's 764 pages of the most amazing information. It consists of, well, everything really. Photography info...area info...hidden roads..special places....what they have seen almost road by road. Where to stay just outside the Park...camp information. It takes quite a lot to impress me but I really feel that this book, which was 7 years in the making, is exceptional." - Janey Coetzee, South Africa
"Your time and money are valuable and the information in this Etosha eBook will help you save both."
-Don Stilton, Florida, USA
"As a photographer and someone who has visited and taken photographs in the Pilanesberg National Park, I can safely say that with the knowledge gained from this eBook, your experiences and photographs will be much more memorable."
-Alastair Stewart, BC, Canada
"This eBook will be extremely useful for a wide spectrum of photography enthusiasts, from beginners to even professional photographers."
- Tobie Oosthuizen, Pretoria, South Africa