I received a camera for my birthday when I was a kid and I’ve been taking photographs ever since. The cost of developing images made film cameras expensive to operate, so I had to learn to be selective with my subject matter—or my allowance wouldn’t last long.
I always loved having the opportunity to capture a special moment, a particular feeling or the beauty of nature. But then there was always the reality of needing to earn a living.
For me, with my own company doing project management for large Information Technology infrastructure deployments, my job was a means to an end. I worked to earn money to travel and take photos of interesting and exotic places.
But I longed for a job I could do from anywhere, which would permit me to travel as I worked. Sadly, for my project management company to be successful, a lot of face time was needed.
In the end, I decided on early retirement—and immediately stepped up my photographic activities. I completed a course from AWAI on how to make money from stock photography, which proved hugely useful. It explained the business side of taking stock images and the photography aspect was a useful review.
Now, I’ve got a way of earning money from my hobby—I submit my better images to online micro-stock agencies for sale on the Internet.
A lot of my photos have been accepted, and sales are clocking up. My best seller is an image from a trip to Alaska that has already sold nine times. That is one of the beauties of micro-stock—it gives you the ability to sell the same image multiple times.
My new life of photography is bringing in pay checks. And the best part? I’m finally able to work from wherever I want. In fact, as I write this I am sitting in a beach hut in the coastal community of Gorgona in Panama. I’m about 20 feet from the rolling Pacific and there’s a gentle breeze carrying the music of the surf into my “office.” I can safely say that this is the best working environment I’ve ever had.
I’ll be staying here for a few months. I chose Panama because I’ve been here before and because many parts of it are still unspoiled, exotic and a bit off the beaten track. It is a beautiful, unexploited source of wonderful opportunities for photographs and stories.
While I’m here, I’ll write and photograph travel related material as I explore the country. My life now is about having fun. I’ve finally got a stress-free lifestyle I have always wanted to have.
When I return home to Canada, I expect to have an image library of well over 2,500 items that I will process and selectively upload to the various micro stock agencies I work with. Then it’s just a case of sitting back and letting the money roll in.
Editor’s Note: If you’d like to learn more about ways you can pay for your life or travels overseas, including travel photography, sign up for Fund Your Life Overseas, a free e-letter from International Living. Sign up here and we’ll send you a free report: Fund Your New Life Overseas With These 5 Portable Careers.