close up of hands woman with old camera

Testing the boundaries of traditional business models is something of a habit at Fotolia. But we didn’t realize our rebellious streak might be both a creative outlet and viable career for so many of our contributors.

Particularly our female contributors.

We spoke to some of Fotolia’s best-selling female contributors about how they came to the industry and how it’s changed their lives. The stories are surpisingly similar around the world: women raising families, often unable to commit to the hours of the traditional workplace, but keen to use their talents and reap the rewards.

Marisa Ruiz from Spain, spoke for all our female contributors telling us, “When I became a mother, my family situation kept me out of the photography world. When I discovered the stock industry I was encouraged to pick up my camera again. It was challenging to get up to date with the technology, to carry on learning. However, the most important thing was that I could do it at my own pace.“

Samantha Craddock is from the UK and had a similar experience. She continued to work part-time as an Artist after having children, but says she “still had to work mainly admin jobs to keep financially secure. I still felt unsatisfied with my career and over the years was constantly searching for what it was that I wanted to do.“

As a single parent with two children Sam didn’t feel very optimistic about the future. Until, that is, “I discovered stock images online and spent many months reading up and generally wondering if this could be something I could be involved with. About four years ago I took the plunge and was pleasantly surprised to find that it did have real opportunities.“

Sam started on a very small scale, submitting mainly still life photographs, but then bgan working on more creative images with the theme of technology. How difficult was it to get started? “Not having the time or a budget for travelling or more photography equipment I then focused on producing 3D illustrations, which I could do in my own time, with no financial outlay or expense, and also use a lot more creativity.“

This was a huge turning point in Sam’s life, she says. “My portfolio steadily grew and I was rewarded with a slowly growing income from my new venture. It took a couple of years and a lot of patience to produce a viable income from it but I can honestly say that I enjoy every minute of it!“

Dulce Rubia Ramirez

Dulce Rubia Ramirez

Dulce Rubia Ramirez is a housewife, also from Spain, and “was just taking snap shots of my children, as all parents do.” Dulce’s story was just the same. “I had always loved photography,” she told us, “but my housework and children would not leave me time to learn and make it a profession.”

But that wan’t the end of the dream. “Almost four years ago, I saw a camera in the window of a shop I wanted to have. I wanted to take pictures and find a way to earn some money doing it.

A few days after […] I discovered the concept of stock photography […] a job without bosses or hours doing something I liked. This was when I discovered Fotolia.

Cathy Yeulet

Cathy Yeulet

“It’s a dream job, I work the hours I want, and if I go on vacation I still make money.”

It may sound almost too good to be true, but Cathy Yeulet from the UK reports a similar experience. “The great thing about shooting stock is that it doesn’t have to be nine-to-five so you can make it fit in with your life.

I think you should shoot what interests you and what you understand. If you are a woman with a family, like myself, start by using your family to catch unique, authentic moments. Use your own style to make your images unique to you.“

In Germany, Diana Drubig first became interested in photography when she was voted “Miss Germany” aged just 19. Her desire to become a photographer arose because “I usually worked with male photographers that tried to capture my image. Seeing their photos I often felt unhappy with the results and became interested in taking photos myself.”

Diana Drubig

Diana Drubig

Modelling work became harder to find when she became pregnant, and meant finding another career. But Diana says, “Since I had more time to spare, I eventually took up photography. In retrospect it took me about six years to arrive at where I am now.”

Hélène Cottin from France, recommends a career in stock to anyone looking freedom in their work life: “The Stock industry is an extraordinary tool […] It is a real way of life. I can plan my working days and set objectives.”

Kirsty Pargeter

Kirsty Pargeter (with Jake)

And Kirsty Pargeter from the UK, agrees wholeheartedly, describing her own home arrangements:  “The stock industry […] has enabled my partner and me to work full time from home, and to be at home with our son. It has also enabled us to move to the countryside and to live near the beach, which is perfect for my family (as I have seven dogs!)”

What do you think? You may not be looking to have seven dogs and one child in your life, but a career in stock photography is one of the few options that makes such an arrangement even possible.

If you’re interested in joining our contributors then it’s free and simple to do, and we have some great articles from experts, sharing their experiences, tips, and recommendations for anyone hoping to become a stock photographer – even men!