For those afflicted with wanderlust, or the irrepressible desire to explore and travel the world, one of the key challenges is figuring out how to finance those adventures. Some hop around between countries, hunting for part-time jobs, and others volunteer for labor exchange programs.
If this is you, and you’re also a photographer, know that there are several different ways to profit from the photos you take while traveling, the three most reliable being:
● Selling stock photographs
● Building a social media following and uploading branded posts
Selling Stock Photographs
You can find stock images on virtually every website, in almost every magazine, and in the vast majority of advertisements you see online and in the world. They are mostly used by advertisers to accompany ad text. They present a clean, well-polished image that does not distract from the product being sold.
Because there are many ways stock photos can be used, the possible subject matter is virtually limitless. However, that doesn’t mean that stock agencies will accept and pay for any old photograph that is submitted to them. Many require you to apply for “contributor” status, wherein your portfolio is vetted for quality and consistency. Your photos must be:
● Perfectly cropped: For many street and lifestyle photographers, cropping photos is often considered taboo or inauthentic. That standard doesn’t apply when it comes to stock photos. You want every image to be “picture perfect,” only including elements in the frame which contribute to the shot.
● Perfectly lit: Great photographers master lighting. It’s a facet of their dexterity. Learning to register how light is affecting a given environment and leveraging that to capture a perfectly lit shot (and how to edit the photo if you missed the mark) is essential to submitting perfect stock photos.
Organizations like Shutterstock (arguably the leading microstock agency) are great places to submit your photographs. Just make sure you read the fine print. Don’t sign away rights to photographs that you want to keep your ownership of.
Social Media Branded Posts
Developing a large social media following isn’t easy. If it was, everyone on Instagram would have the thousands of followers they crave. However, if you’re traveling to gorgeous beaches, exotic locales, and have a high-quality camera with you, you’re better situated to cultivate that following than your peers.
There are many different ways to grow your following. Some of the most tried-and true include routine posting and using hashtags effectively. If you reach a certain number of followers, and your content is visually engaging, companies will reach out to you for brand partnerships.
These are either one-time agreements or ongoing deals. You will post content provided to you by the company on your social media platform and be compensated in exchange. The more followers you have and the better your Instagram page looks, the higher your chances of securing a brand partnership.
Sponsored Blog Articles
Blogs can be about anything. From technical photography advice like how to clean printerhead cartridges, to photo essays on your trip to Nicaragua, the possibility is literally infinite. Whatever you decide to blog about, you should ensure the theme is consistent, your readers and viewers are returning, and, perhaps most importantly, that your photographs showcase your skill as a photographer.
If the photography on your blog is engaging and your following continues to grow, you will have the chance to create sponsored posts. Advertisers will notice that your blog is gaining traction and reach out to you in the hopes that you will photograph or otherwise cover their products or services.
Operating a popular photography blog can:
● Give you the opportunity to go on unique adventures, all on an advertiser’s dime
● Generate money by traveling and taking photographs
● Collaborate with other bloggers and build your network
Making Money with Your Travel Photography
All these money-making strategies can allow you to knock destinations off your bucket list while simultaneously creating revenue from your photography. However, that doesn’t mean that you should pick one and ignore the others. If these three strategies are combined—and they should be—you will soon have multiple sources of income and no problem saving money for your next big adventure.