The idea of living traveling with our camera in hand, makes many who like me, hope to do it one day, sleep over. Since we were little we have scanned the pages of National Geographic dreaming and trying to imagine the adventures that those photographers and explorers who showed us their experiences will have had.
Fortunately we live in a time when I think it is easier to achieve. Internet is a profitable source of income , with a lot of effort, yes, but profitable. If we add to this the work of a photographer, there are more possibilities to make it happen.
I have proposed to collect information on ways to earn money to travel with a camera and a laptop and who knows, maybe one day we will find our camera in hand, buy me a beer (reducing expenses is the beginning: D) and Let’s talk about what it took us to get there.
What is Travel Photography?
I will define travel photography as one that is responsible for providing images to the tourism industry. It ranges from photographs of hotels, landscapes , local festivals, cultures, customs, etc.
The images are purchased in order to advertise these destinations, generate merchandising or sell them in print.
As there is such a variety of themes within travel photography, you will have to move in various fields such as portraiture, landscapes, fauna, underwater photography or reporting.
How can I finance my photography trips?
I know travel bloggers who earn money from their photos by shooting in automatic mode (get a point there) or taking pictures with their mobile, promoting themselves and financing themselves through Instagram .
There are many financing possibilities, personally I prefer to cover several to focus on just one. That is, seek income from photography and a blog, or from photography and the publication of a book, through YouTube videos, etc.
It sounds very easy I know, but I assure you that it is not at all and whoever tells you otherwise is lying a lot.
Sell photos through microstock pages
Who has not read about these agencies, in photography forums there are hundreds of threads that talk about them, but when you get ready to try it it becomes an odMake sure your photos are accepted the first time. Not to mention the commission, I understand you perfectly, your 9 best photos uploaded to iStockphoto are sold for less than few dollar of which you get 15 to 45% if you only sell on their platform.
The photographers who make a living with these types of agencies have thousands of photos that are sold daily for all kinds of purposes, so the commission does not look so bad when you have such a large file, focused on advertising. The best thing about these pages is that you only have to worry about taking good photos, nothing on the web, or online stores, yes, your work should be focused on advertising, people smiling, performing daily actions, tourist photos, etc.
Offer your services as a photographer
- If you see yourself prepared to give photography courses or have a style and techniques that may interest the rest of the world, go ahead. Notify photographic associations in the area to show them your work and propose a course, talk or Photowalks that are so fashionable and give such good results.
- If you are a fashion photographer or you dedicate yourself to taking portraits, perhaps there is someone interested in taking advantage of the fact that you are in the city to do a session.
- Use Facebook Ads , how could it not remind you of the power of Facebook Ads and its magnificent targeted ads! If you have a Facebook page you can promote your course or Photowalks through this tool that will only show your ad to potential customers in the area you choose and with the tastes that best suit what you offer, we will see how to configure campaigns advertising.
There will be countries in which it is not worth offering this type of service because a language that you do not control is spoken, there is unfortunately too much poverty or little fondness for photography.
Offer your photographs to local agencies and services
If you are serious about travel photography, it may be interesting to send your photographs to these stock agencies (not microstock) to let them know that you are traveling to a country and see what kind of orders they need. In these cases, the client usually contacts the photographer to order what he really needs or the agency that will be in charge of finding the photographer.
In the same way, writing to the tourism services before traveling to advise you on what they need or perhaps offer them after doing them can help you.
You never know which company may need images to renew their website, brochures or print your fantastic panorama of their city for their office.
In the event that you do not have travel photographs focused on tourism or money to start the adventure, you can offer images of the nearest tourist areas . You don’t have to travel very far, the tourist agencies and services here also draw on spectacular photographs that take full advantage of the beauty of a specific place.
I don’t know to what extent it could work, but offering photos in exchange for a night’s lodging can be a good idea to save money.
Sell photos in your online store
The first thing is to have a website where you can collect your work , you already know that WordPress is my favorite option and you can install it by following the article « Install WordPress «. If you don’t dare to ride it, get in touch with me and we’ll talk about it.
If you prefer to do it by following the tutorial, I recommend you take a look at webempresa’s WordPress hosting . You can also make your photography website with platforms that make life easier for those who don’t have time to learn how to do them.
Creating an online store is relatively easy with WordPress and Woocomerce . The idea is to categorize the photos according to the place you visit or the subject matter in order to send the gallery to the local services that I mentioned earlier.
Do not forget about social networks, analyzing for example some of the Instagram accounts of the most famous travel photographers we can draw several conclusions and ways of financing:
- Show your destination differently . The photos of the photographer Murad Osmann went viral thanks to the #followmeto project that gathers images of his partner leading him by the hand around the world and shares them on all his social networks. The result, 2.8 million followers on his official account and a book that compiles the images of the project
- The photographer Marianne Hope knows how to play very well with perspective, depth and reflections, that has led her to have a wonderful gallery of images. He created the SeeMyCity website where he promotes his photography courses all over the world, obtaining another form of financing, in addition to his store in Society6 where he sells accessories with his printed photos
- Another totally different option is Nicole Warne who, although she is not a photographer, mixes fashion with travel , another example of how different is liked . One of his tricks to finance himself is his blog, he has an online clothing and accessories store monetized by affiliation (commission per sale).
- Then there is my Instagram gallery that has nothing to do with the previous ones but I hang it here for when it is
- YouTube is also a good source of traffic and a great way to show the world to those of us at home, an example is Charly Sinewan and his round the world motorcycle tour sponsored mainly through Sponsors .
In short, if to how relatively easy it is to add an online store to your blog or portfolio, we add a method of affiliate sales or drop shipping , in which you do not need to have physical products in a warehouse or make an initial investment, you will get a good financing idea for your trips . And social networks are the best promotion engine that currently exists.
This blog is my little source of “passive” income and I can work on it from anywhere in the world with a laptop and internet connection. You can do the same with the options that I have proposed previously. If you need advice write to me.
Organize a travel photography course
Lately you see many photographic tours to Iceland, Cuba or the Serengeti. Fully organized, flight, itinerary, accommodation and meals, with photography course included . They are a great idea to travel, sharing your knowledge and enjoying. Where you will also all have the opportunity to photograph and use the images with any previous option, do we organize one?
Don’t limit yourself to just photographing
- Think about the amount of material that you can generate with a single trip, not only photographs, you can also make time lapses, tourist videos, different videos, focused on making them go viral on the internet.
- The ebooks and guides are a great opportunity to publish extra content quality on your blog in pdf format , to your insurance public love to read them your experiences, tips and recommended sites, the Lonely Planet guides have good reputation, but experience told by someone you follow is doubly enjoyed and seems more credible.
Finance a trip through crowdfunding
The crowdfunding may sound a far too big for you or something, but if your project is good, sure there is much public who bet on him.
You can offer services such as those I mentioned above, ebooks, printed books, access to courses, exhibitions, printed copies, etc. in exchange for a financial contribution.
Travel while making money, conclusion
There are many ways to earn money traveling, I repeat that at no time do I want to make you think that it is easy, if not, I would already be doing it. It is about preparing the way to be able to do it one day.
I believe that this topic gives for a second part, talking about photo reports , exhibitions, even peddling of photographs.
I will continue investigating but I would like you to tell me what ideas you can come up with to achieve it. It is not worth working 8 months and traveling 6, we will try to do it with a camera and a laptop.