How to Make Money from Your Travel Photos
These days, expressing yourself online, whether it’s through writing or photography has never been easier. Gone are the days of trying to land a deal with a magazine or newspaper. With the expansion of social media and the ease of building your own website, nowadays anyone can put their thoughts out to the world with zero friction or regulation.
This has led to greater opportunity for people to realise their dreams and make a steady living from doing what they really enjoy; rather than settling for what seems more practical.
However, the easier it becomes to be a ‘travel photographer’, the more competition there is in the industry and the harder it is to stand out. The great thing, though, about photography is that anyone can do it, there are no gender or age restrictions. There are a growing number of ways to start selling photos online and make money from travel photography whilst magazine deals are being pushed down towards the bottom of the list.
This article aims to inspire you to try to monetise your passion for travel and adventure. With a steady hand and a good eye for a photo, here’s how you can cash in on your next trip away.
1. Build Your Social Media Following
To earn a good living making money from travel photos, you don’t necessarily need to be the best photographer out there. In fact, some of the wealthiest ‘photographers’ aren’t at all the most talented; they just know how to market themselves.
Brands and companies of all sizes and sectors are always looking to connect with social media influencers. There can be big money in branded posts or commissioned work for having a large social media presence. Instagram is without a doubt one of the biggest players when it comes to this.
Building a large following takes time but reaching that stage can allow you to combine your love for travel and make money.
2. Stock Photos
One of the easier ways to sell your photos as stock images is to sell them to ‘microstock’ sites. Microstock websites make their money by selling stock images and then pass a bit of the money to the photographer who took the images.
Starting out, you will earn a fairly small percentage from their sales, maybe 15%. However, as you start to grow and prove to be popular you have the potential to make up to 50% commission from your photos.
The images will need to be of good quality to be attractive for people to buy, so it will be worth investing in a decent DSLR camera. A couple of the big name sites to check out are shutterstock.com and istockphoto.com, but there are hundreds of smaller ones which will be an easier starting point.
Combine your eye for a photo with good writing skills and you’re onto a winner. Like we said earlier, it has never been easier to set yourself up with a good looking website to start your blog.
If you manage to get a decent amount of traffic through your site, you can begin to generate an income by selling advertising space, do sponsored articles or take part in an affiliate marketing programme wherein a brand will pay you a commission for referring people to buy their product.
If you are a budding blogger and live in the United States but don't currently have the funds to start this career you might want to check out camera rentals who have a selection of equipment and cameras to rent for short and long term projects.
4. Event Photography
This will likely require you pitching your service to someone but it can be a fun way to make some money. There are lots of different kinds of events you can try to capture, such as birthdays, weddings, ceremonies, sporting events or fairs.
Local events like carnivals or festivals is another option as this will allow you to have a good time and hopefully earn whilst you do. You can then upload them to a website like pixieset.com which takes care of the printing and posting for you.
5. Run a Photography Tour
Have you got to know a local area very well whilst you’re away? Why not try to organise a photo tour? Take a group of people around some of the most popular or iconic places and show them interesting and unique vantage points to take photos. This is also a fantastic way to meet new people and will give you a great reason to go and explore places.
Think you can do it?
It might not be enough to have a good eye for a photo and a smart phone. Photography can be an extremely competitive market and will take patience until you can earn a good amount of money from your photos.
Whatever way you decide to try and do it, remember that patience and consistency is key. You don’t have to be the most talented photographer, but you will have to be one of the hardest working and willing to be in it for the long run.