Digital Nomad Jobs – Stock Photographer

How to be a stock photographer!

For a successful career as a stock photographer you will need:

  • A decent camera – you won’t get far without one! Since all good stock photography websites will have fairly strict quality control, a cheap point and shoot just won’t cut it. You’ll need a  digital SLR.
    • Image editing software. Photoshop is the industry standard but there are free alternatives available, like GIMP and if you’re not ready to splash your cash on Adobe software.
  • A fast internet connection. Uploading many large files is time-consuming and you don’t want to be stuck guarding your laptop all day!


Some kind of photography training would of course be helpful, but by no means necessary. There are a massive amount of resources available online, and of course practice makes perfect!


A good quality digital SLR is, obviously, essential. Along with that you might want some lighting equipment and a decent laptop for image editing, plus some memory cards for your camera of choice. Add a small tripod and some bags and cases to keep everything protected and you’ll be good to go!

Where to find work online?

There are a ton of websites out there to choose from – some have higher royalty payments than others, and most have special rates if you choose to sell stock through them exclusively. The big players are iStockphoto, Shutterstock and Dreamstime, but they’re just the tip of the iceberg. Whether you choose to go exclusive with one of the big companies or try to get more exposure by submitting to a few different stock websites, you’ll have to submit images for approval before you can start selling stock.

How much can I earn?

What you can earn with stock photography really depends on how big your stock portfolio is, and how commercially viable your images are. You definitely won’t get rich overnight, but if you consistently upload new images over a long period of time you can certainly build a decent residual income.

Gobos0028_1_MHow well does it suit the digital nomad lifestyle?

If you can get a large portfolio of commercial images set up, potentially you could sit back and relax (or scuba dive, or eat pho, or catch a train, or..) whilst the money comes in!  But to take and submit suitable stock photos on the road is more of a challenge.

Firstly, taking good photographs can necessitate a lot of expensive equipment, which depending on your travel style, you may not want to lug around the world.

Secondly, you might be slightly limited in the kind of photos you can produce to sell. Moroccan spices piled high in a bustling street market? Great picture, but if anyone is recognisable in it you’ll need to get a model release before you can sell it as stock. Amazing shot of the Louvre? Not without a property release, and good luck getting one of those!

However, some areas of stock photography are pretty well suited to the digital nomad lifestyle – food, animals, macro photography and landscapes, for example.

Useful Links Digital photography equipment reviews