My goals and hobbies for 2019 include setting up the infrastructure to be both a freelance photographer and a freelance writer. To achieve this, I am allotting myself one calendar year and a maximum of $1,000. Assuming that I reach my goals, hopefully on budget and on time, my 2020 goals will include generating income from the hobbies that are accommodated within the infrastructure. I will be focusing on Stock Photography first as it has the potential to generate passive, residual income. Writing will be a secondary objective, as that income is less residual based. If you read my blog entry about the conversation that I had with the American woman at Angkor Wat, this is a direct result of that conversation. Can I use freelance photography and/or writing to fund additional travel adventures? Let’s find out! Read on to see the status of the initiative.

Here is a list of my goals for this project:

  1. Create a web repository (blog) for my hobbies by July 1st 2019. I’m starting to regret using Facebook as the storage facility for my photos. I want a storage location that I control, and that is independent of any particular social media platform. As I begin to travel to more exotic places and enjoy photography more, this has become a higher priority for me. Another objective is to post samples of my writing style on the web. As I responded to potential freelance writing clients, I found that the majority of my body of work is considered confidential. So, I could not provide them as samples of my work. At that point I wanted to write a few documents to simply showcase my writing style. That’s why I wrote the personal finance articles. This portion will expand in time as I move more towards cultural commentary articles, written in academic style. Lastly, I like to document any additional hobbies. As I buy and sell real estate, I would like to document each move that I make, so that I can chronicle my progress. COMPLETED April 2019.

  2. Create blog entries that can serve as writing portfolio. As my previous writing for my employers is confidential, I cannot post any of my previous writing as samples. Therefore new writing is required as a portfolio. I have created three articles, with one more required for the Personal Finance set. I will also write articles for the Real Estate set, to details my real estate transactions. But, as freelance writing is not my priority until 2020, three articles is enough for 2019. COMPLETED March 2019 (but final edit/format required).

  3. Identify existing photos that may be good candidates for stock photo sales. Posting my photos onto this website was a natural beginning of this process. In posting images into the blogs on this site, I have eliminated many of the photos that just weren’t good shots. Only a sub-set of the photos posted here will be edited/uploaded for sale on stock sites. Only after editing will I decide the exact list of photos to be uploaded, I hope to have a couple hundred for my initial upload. COMPLETED June 2019

  4. Edit (if required) or Delete the photos identified. In Progress, see below.

  5. Upload photos to Stock Photography sites

My Progress:

  • (1 – Above) My first move was to create this site. This was a rather time consuming part. Apart from the technical nuts and bolts, one has to also deal with the creative portions of the site. It was definitely a learning curve for me. Yes, I work in IT so I’m a Geek, but I’m not a WordPress Geek. I did really enjoy the creative aspects of it. But that was tempered by the frustration of not knowing how to do what I want to do. And so the learning began. I received a lot of assistance from a good friend, Chris O’Brian. He creates and supports e-commerce sites for a living. He provided the infrastructure and a bunch of website work along the way. While I bought a few dinners along the way, by and large he worked for free on this. He’s a good man and a good friend. He jokes that he only does it so that he can live vicariously through my travels. But all joking aside, I owe him a lot. Although this part of the project does not directly allow photography sales, I wanted to use this as a staging point to post my photography. COMPLETED

  • (3 – Above) I had to go through my pictures and separate the wheat from the chaff. I wanted to create a subset of pics to put on this site. This site shows ones that I like, not ones that I expect to market. I expect to market only a few of the best ones in an effort to ‘test the waters’ on my approach. First I had to draw a line in terms of raw quality (picture resolution). It is recommended that any pictures uploaded for sale be between 4 and 6 megapixels. That was easy, as I started taking pictures with my Rebel T4i in 2014. Any pictures from before that will have been taken with my Nikon. Marketing any pictures from the Nikon will have to be spectacular pictures to make up for the lack of resolution. You will notice that any galleries, or topics, that includes pictures from both cameras have been separated out by quality/camera used. While all of the photos posted here are raw, I will be editing any that I intend to upload for sale. COMPLETED

  • (2 – Above) I wrote the Personal Finance series of articles to provide writing samples to prospective clients for freelance writing. I have written and posted articles on personal financial infrastructure, budgeting and personal credit scores. In the future I plan to write an additional blog post on credit and debt. In phase II of this step, I will be writing blog posts that detail my real estate transactions. While those will come under the heading of my hobby of investing in real estate, they will still serve as examples of my writing. Since I have enough blog posts to outline my writing style, I am going to consider this element completed for now. PHASE I COMPLETED. Phase II, writing the credit/debt and real estate blog entries, has been deferred until I have posted the initial set of photos.

  • (5 – Above) I have been investigating websites that sell stock photographs. My research indicates that my best bet is to start with the following sites; Shutter Stock, iStock and Adobe Stock. I will join them as soon as I have edited my initial set of photos. Also of note is that I will have to ‘classify’ each photo that I upload. Each photo will have to either Commercial or Editorial. Commercial can be used by companies for advertising (etc.). If there are identifiable people or brand trademarks in commercial photos, the appropriate release forms must accompany that photo when uploaded. If there are no identifiable people or brand trademarks in the photo, the photo can be classified as commercial. Editorial photos do have identifiable people or brand trademarks, but do not have the appropriate release forms signed. Editorial photos cannot be used commercially. To start I have joined ShutterStock, and I will be uploading galleries as I finish them. COMPLETED

  • (4 – Above) Purchase/download/install software to edit photos. I am investigating these three; Adobe Photoshop, Luminar 2018 and PhotoLemur. Adobe Photoshop, for general photo editing,  is now a cloud based software that requires a monthly fee ($200). Gimp is a free product that does the same general editing. For now, I am starting with Gimp 2.10.12, I may upgrade if this endeavor becomes profitable. Luminar, for color and light balance,  seems to won a ton of awards, and it’s very affordable ($45). So I have downloaded and installed Luminar. I have installed the software onto my work laptop, I will also install it on my home laptop (I am allowed 5 installs for the Luminar software). I also have access to a bunch of training videos for Luminar. COMPLETED

  • (4 – Above) Edit photos. I’ve isolated an additional copy of the images posted to this site. I will now go through those images, one image at a time, and either touch it up, allow it to pass as is or delete it. This step is the ‘make or break’ step that is horrendously time-consuming. I’m trying to teach myself something that is both difficult and complex. Even worse, I trying to learn it by watching YouTube videos. No courses, no teachers. Just me, sitting in my living room watching other peoples’ amateur videos.

  • (5 – Above) In uploading finished pics to Shutterstock, I’ve started to learn about their standards. To date, July 12th 2019, I’ve had 117 pics approved and about a dozen that were rejected. My pics have been rejected for one of the following reasons; under-exposed or over-exposed, main subject out of focus, possible copywrite violation and resolution too low.