I am by no means a professional photographer. As you can find out on my profile I call myself a hobbyist, and not even an armature. However, every now and then I get the opportunity to shoot some photos which I feel are worthy of sharing with the world. Dreamstime is not something which pays my bills, or even pays for the electricity it takes to upload images. For me Dreamstime is a photography school.
About a year ago I received my first SLR camera as a gift. Ever since my photo-classes in Jr. High (you know the ones where developing images meant using film, paper, and chemicals, in a darkroom), I have wanted a quality camera. When I got it I tried my best to remember all the things I learned about photography in my school days. As many people do for information, I went to the web to get some pointers. In that journey I discovered Dreamstime and thought, "It would be cool to try and sell some of my images." That thought soon faded as I thought, "how could I even get any images approved."
After showing some friends and family some of the images I had taken they responded, "You should try to sell some of those." So, I returned to my laptop and signed up to be a contributer to Dreamstime and submitted about five images to test the waters. One of those first five were accepted, and I was so excited about the one I didn't even think of the four rejections.
Over the next couple of months I began shooting more and uploading more. I soon realized that if I was going to continue to get images approved I needed to increase my skills. Dreamstime had motivated me to become a better photographer and the forums on Dreamstime gave me many ideas and techniques. As my approval rating grew I became more and ore confident in my newly developed photography skills.
After about four months of being a contributer my wife was in a friends wedding and the bride allowed me to take as many photos as I wanted (no she did not hire me as her photographer). I took many shots at her wedding and was really impressed when I got home and began uploading them in photoshop. As our wedding gift to her, my wife and I created a photo album for the bride and groom. To our amazement this angered the couple. They said that every one of the photos in our album far surpassed the photos which were taken by the photographer they hired.
In only a few months I went from taking snapshots, to taking quality images which people are willing (and have) paid for. I have yet earned enough for my first payout, but I don't think it will be very far off. Dreamstime has been a stock photography school for me and the best part is they are paying me to attend. I have tons of gratitude for Dreamstime and the Dreamstime community. This is a place where people just getting into commercial photography can learn and grow alongside of the Yuri Arcurs' of the photography world.