Photographer Mat Hayward wearing oversized red glasses and a red feather boa
Mat Hayward will be teaching at Photoshop World Las Vegas, taking place August 21-23, so register now to come see him in person!

When my family and I were searching for the perfect puppy, my wife thought we were buying him for our children and as a household companion. Little did she know that I had a hidden agenda. I was on the hunt for the perfect stock model. While she was worried about temperament and overall health, my only requirement was that he be photogenic. Hold your judgment; Hudson is by far my best-selling model earning me thousands of dollars, and his modeling fee is just one piece of popcorn.

Hudson the Golden Retriever, emerging from a pile of leaves to steal your heart.
Hudson the Golden Retriever, emerging from a pile of leaves to steal your heart.

It’s not just my dog. No one in my life is safe from my camera. My wife, my kids, friends, cousins and co-workers, really anyone who happens to be in my line of site. A few years ago my dad broke his leg on a walk. He was rushed to the hospital and as I drove to see him I was worried about the poor guy. All that worry disappeared when I entered his room. The first thing I saw was floor to ceiling windows…the light was beautiful! I thanked my dad for the great stock photo op and started shooting away. It doesn’t matter what the situation is, I’ve always got stock on the brain.

Broken leg in cast with patient in hospital bed

Stock photography has been an effective way for me to supplement my income as a professional photographer. For the past 10 years I have been focused on shooting celebrity-based entertainment events in the Pacific Northwest and around the world. I love this work as it presents so many unique challenges and diverse opportunities leaving me rarely bored. Every week is different whether it be in a photo pit for a concert, on a red carpet for a film premiere or festival, snapping portraits of various movie stars, musicians or whomever. 

Jason Momoa kissing his reflection
Jason Momoa
Lady Gaga in a white dress at the Academy Awards
Lady Gaga
Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters performing on stage
Dave Grohl
Russell Wilson getting slimed
Russell Wilson

When I find myself with a bit of down time I shoot stock. Not only does it allow me to push myself creatively and try different styles and techniques, but more importantly I enjoy the constant revenue stream it creates for me.

Watch Mat behind the scenes during an Adobe Stock photo shoot!

My stock portfolio is generating income 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I love waking up to sales notifications. I made money in my sleep! Here is a crazy fact about my portfolio. I have earned more money on this image of jellybeans than any celebrity image I have ever taken. I know what you must be thinking…well yeah, this jellybean shot is incredible! Right?…….

Bright, colorful jellybeans in red, green, pink, blue, yellow and orange colors.
Bright, colorful jellybeans in red, green, pink, blue, yellow and orange colors.

In my commercial stock portfolio, I have found the greatest success with general lifestyle imagery featuring real people, like my family and friends doing real things in real situations. It’s easy to upload and keyword images and videos for Adobe Stock, and the content is usually online within a day or two. My day-time career is to be an Evangelist for Adobe Stock, so of course I’m biased towards our service. But I was already submitting to Fotolia before it was acquired by Adobe, and you could say I’ve been walking the walk a lot longer than talking the talk. Anyone can create a contributor account and submit to Adobe Stock simply by signing in with an Adobe ID on the Contributor Portal.

Woman smiling on NYC street
Couple at home reading book

What should you shoot you ask? Let me answer that question with another question. What do you love to shoot? There is a huge market for authentic and diverse stock content. Whatever you are passionate about is where you should start. Shooting stock has become a part of who I am and is top of mind whenever I have my camera in hand. If you haven’t already given it a shot (pun intended) I highly recommend you do so. Good luck!

Woman with blue hair and red glasses wearing black and white striped shirt, standing in front of yellow background, holding pink and yellow balloons with confetti falling around her

You can see more of Mat Hayward’s work at MatHaywardPhoto.com, and keep up with him on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

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