Photographing Paradise for a Living

maldives

The tropical Maldive Islands in the Indian Ocean aren’t just a paradise for vacationers…they’re also a photographer’s dream.

I got to experience the beauty of the Maldives for myself when I went on vacation there with a group of 10 friends who love to surf. I was “the guy with the camera.” And every day presented me with countless opportunities to take stunning photos. Shooting sunrise…snapping the guys catching the early waves…close-ups of the waves…boats on the water…and the beautiful landscape. And all of this before breakfast.

After breakfast, we would set off on a boat for the day with surfboards, wetsuits, and sunscreen. While my friends surfed, I’d take more great photos of them…and when I wasn’t doing that, I was shooting underwater photography. As the guys opened their beers and joked about wipeouts on big waves, I got lots of lifestyle shots. “Lifestyle shots” are the moments between the action, when somebody is just looking off into the sunset, having enjoyed a beautiful day on the ocean. Later we would wander off into the pink, island sunset.

And all the time I would be clicking the shutter…and creating income to fund the trip. You see, I make my money from stock photography. It’s a great way to fund your travel adventures. There is no shortage of great opportunities when you’re abroad—if you know what to look out for. Take Barcelona—the beautiful Spanish city so influenced by the architect Gaudi.

Architecture is always a favorite subject matter for me when I’m in Barcelona. There’s such a variety: the old city with its textures…the glass reflections of new environmentally friendly architecture. Glassy reflective windows are a popular image for corporate use.

While I was there, I mostly visited tourist areas and spent hours drinking coffee or beer at the small bars and cafes spread around the city. In those cafes, I got some great pictures of beverages…and I used a small bar as a background in which to create food images later. I don’t just use my final destination for photo opportunities, though. When traveling abroad, I use airports as photographic subjects, too…escalators, big open modern spaces, people moving somewhere and others going nowhere.

It’s part of a traveler’s journey and if shot right, can be categorized in many ways—transportation, travel, on the move, modern architecture, communication. All in all, the trips generate a substantial number of salable images and ultimately pay for themselves. I had covered the cost of the Maldives trip in 12 months. It’s a great motivator for me to buy that next flight out of here…

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