Behind the Scenes – How I Monetize This Blog

Hello, hello my web friends! I’m back with another behind the scenes post and this time it’s a behind the scenes of food blogging rather than food photography.

I’ve gotten several questions recently about whether I get anything out of this blog other than the fun of creating it and the fun of connecting with other food and photography lovers and the answer is yes, this blog does produce money and I thought I’d write a post for you that explains how.

So if you want to learn about blog monetization because you’re thinking about starting a blog yourself or if you maybe just find it interesting to look behind the curtain of an online business this post is for you. For all of you who come here strictly for the recipes and photography, I’ll be back with more of that next week! :)

So, let’s get to it. I make money with this blog in four different ways:

Blog Monetization


1) Photo Licensing Sales. I sell licenses to all of my photos to photo buyers (magazine editors mostly) who want to use them in their publications. Buyers can either use the buy button that I have underneath each photo or they contact me and I e-mail them the photo along with an invoice. 

(I also license my photos through stock agencies but that’s not actually related to the blog. You can read about the stock photography business here if you’re interested).

Selling photo licenses


2) Affiliate Sales. I am an Amazon affiliate (also sometimes called associate). What that means is this: when you click on a link on this blog that directs to an Amazon product page (like the equipment links on my FAQ page) and if you then buy something (anything) on Amazon during the next 24 hours I get a commission of a few percent. The cost to you is the same and, of course, this is anonymous, I can see what was bought but not who bought it.

I also have an Amazon link in my sidebar and that link works in the same way. If you click on that sidebar link you’ll be taken to the Amazon homepage and when you buy something there within 24 hours of clicking on the link, I’ll get the commission.

Thank you all so much for using that link, I really appreciate your support!! <3

Amazon Affiliate Link


3) Product Sales. By product I mean the eBook and the two Photoshop video courses that I’ve created and that I am currently selling. You can find them in my sidebar or on my store page. I am planning on producing more of my own products in the future but for now I have those three. 

The Spice Train Products


4) Business Advertisement. My blog is an advertisement for my food photography business (granted that’s an indirect way of monetization). The blog is basically a living portfolio where I showcase my photos and that can lead to food photography assignment work. I have a static portfolio website as well but because the blog constantly gets “refreshed” I find it to be very useful as a tool that attracts the attention of potential clients.


Now, what I currently don’t do is run network ads. Network ads are advertisements that are served by a network and they appear in the sidebar of a blog, in the header or footer or sometimes in the middle of a blog post or on top of a photo. A blogger who runs network ads gets paid to do so by the ad network.

The reason why I don’t run network ads is two-fold: 1) they slow down the load time of a blog tremendously. And, more importantly 2) the blog owner (me) has almost no control over what ad is being shown. I don’t want to advertise for companies and products (or even persons, such as political candidates) that I don’t like and that’s the main reason why I removed all network ads from The Spice Train about a year or so ago. I haven’t missed them and I’m sure you haven’t either. ;)

And that is it! I hope some of you find this information useful or at least interesting. :) I’ll see you back here with another recipe next week!

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