Walk into your back yard, kneel down, and snap a photo of a flower in your garden…or capture a shot of your grandchildren playing with a football. Did you know that these photos could earn you $25…$50…even $150 or more for each one? Imagine if, every time you went on vacation, with your camera in tow, you could make up to $800 for those pictures you snap.
There is no great secret to breaking into photography—even if you have no experience and only use a simple point-and-shoot camera, it can still be a way to fund a new, more relaxed, and fun lifestyle. Photos are used everywhere…newspapers, magazines, billboards, websites, technical manuals, and almost any published material. Someone has to take those pictures. Why shouldn’t that someone be you?
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Photography really can open up the world to you. As a “working” photographer, you can pick-up-and-go any time you choose…get on a flight to any number of far-flung destinations…and enjoy the freedom of the photographer’s life.
See the articles below for more information on ways to earn a living as a photographer.
On my first two visits to Panama I tried, unsuccessfully, to get to the bizarre “Bahai Egg.” My first attempt, five years ago, (without a GPS) involved trying to navigate with a map given to me by the car rental company and an outdated guide-book. The “Bahai Egg,” also known by its actual name The Bahai Temple, sits on top of a hill with a beautiful view of the city, valley and jungle around it.
- Taking Photos of the Great Wall of China…Away from the Tourist Hoards
Posted on January 25, 2013 by J. Keith Howie
Everybody has heard of the Great Wall of China. It was built some 2,000 years ago to protect China from Mongol raiders and at 3,700-miles in length, it’s the longest man-made structure on earth. But while this ancient wonder is familiar to many, most people know little about it.
Formed 5,000 feet above sea level in the western highlands of Guatemala, the 11-mile long Lago de Atitlán is the deepest lake in Central America. It plunges to depths of over 1,000 feet. Three volcanoes dominate its southern fringe—Atitlán, Tolimán, and San Pedro; the latter two emerging from the lakeside. The lake itself changes as wistful breezes or surly gales whip up its sleek, glassy surface. The ever-shifting light reflecting off its belly…
Puerto Rico at Christmas time also gives me an opportunity to photograph beach scenes, rainforest landscapes and holiday decorations all in one trip. As an extra bonus, the weather is warm and I get to enjoy some of the best seafood found anywhere.
As soon as the mercury heads south, most photographers head inside. After all, who wants to photograph in cold, snowy conditions when you could be enjoying a hot drink in front of a roaring fire? Successful photographers who know the money-making tricks, that’s who.
In the part of Tuscany, Italy, known as the Val de Cecina, (“Valley of The Sea”), an hour’s drive southeast of Florence, there’s a privately owned Villa where I’ve taken some of my best and most saleable photographs of Tuscany. The early spring light held me captive there, for five days, one April a few years back.
The ancient Romans painstakingly carved out some 250,000 miles of road across Europe, every inch of which led to their home city. So the phrase, “All roads lead to Rome” was actually true. These days, though, you’ll probably arrive in the “Eternal City” via the airport.
- Guilin, China: “The Most Picturesque Place on Earth”
Posted on October 18, 2012 by J. Keith Howie
I’ve photographed in over 40 countries but on a recent trip to China, I found what I believe may be the most picturesque place on earth. I was on an extended trip to Asia with my camera, hoping to photograph some of the Mysterious East’s beauty spots. What I found stands firmly in my mind as one of the most exotic and incredible landscapes I have ever seen.
I’ve visited a bunch of times but I can’t remember ever being in Mexico on a rainy day. On my last visit, the sun was shining on the busy mercado (market) while women made tortillas. Brightly-colored parrots chattered with each other from cage to cage like a women’s coffee hour.
- Visiting the Rice Terraces of China’s Yunnan Province
Posted on October 11, 2012 by Caroline Maryan
“It will just take me a moment,” I say quietly, as I inch past my fellow photographers poised at the edge of the cliff. Their cameras and tripods are already set up. My equipment is still on my back. When I signed up for this trip to see the Yuan Yang Rice Terraces, I envisioned the rice paddies of Bali, built on gentle rolling hills. Now, I’m edging toward a drop-off that freezes me in my tracks.
Vietnam might not be on most people’s list of ultimate travel destinations, but if my trip to the Southeast Asian nation was anything to go by—it should be. Amazingly friendly people…deep, colorful history…tropical climate, great value for your dollar—and there is an endless list of exotic things to see and do. One of my favorite stop-offs was the city of Hue (pronounced Way).
With a train ticket and a point-and-shoot camera, I left the gloom of a late summer storm in Paris, France. When I arrived at my destination, I emerged from the depths of the train station into the colors of a brilliant sun just going down on the turquoise Mediterranean waters off Marseille. I was enchanted. I set my suitcase down right there, took out my camera and started snapping away.
Nobody gets in the way of the Carnival celebrations in Panama. This party is country-wide and a full week long. Businesses close, Panama City is abandoned, and music is everywhere as what sounds like the world’s largest collection of speaker systems comes together to blast pop, reggae, and pop music to the masses.
The travel bug runs rampant in my family. That’s why, when I was headed to France for work, my mom and I decided to turn it into a girls’ getaway adventure. My mom flew into Paris the day after my work ended and our adventure began.
When I was Young I had dreams of being an artist and traveling the world…then came a short spell imagining life as an astronaut…ﬁnally, I settled on saving the planet. I grew up, spent an insane amount of money on an environmental science degree, and went to live and work in the Mojave Desert counting tortoises. It was while there that I started taking photographs.
On the morning of my birthday this year, I woke up to the view of the Caribbean Sea. It wasn’t just a pretty view from an average resort – I was looking at the Belize Barrier Reef. If I got out of bed, walked downstairs and stood on the beach, the Reef would be a stone’s throw away.
During a recent stay in Panama, I took a trip to the country’s under-explored Caribbean side in the hope of getting some photos I might sell. My destination was a little town called Portobello. Christopher Columbus landed here back in 1502, naming it “Puerto Bello” or “Beautiful Port.” It later became a key strategic asset of the colonial Spanish, to export gold and silver.
Halfway between Iceland and Norway you’ll ﬁnd the Faroe Islands—an isolated North Atlantic haven of pristine natural landscapes, ancient traditions, and marine wildlife. Gaelic monks from Scotland and Ireland arrived here in the 6th century, but it was the Vikings who left a permanent mark. The Faroes still have a close cultural and political relationship with Denmark. Tiny and often uninhabited villages dot the 18 major islands, where you’ll also ﬁnd waterfalls ﬂowing over the sides of cliffs into the ocean below.
Renting a car is the best way to travel and it gives you total freedom. Most of the islands are connected by car ferry, sub-sea tunnels, and two—Streymoy to Eysturoy—by a bridge.
Pucón is wedged between a beautiful lake and a spectacular volcano. Its extreme location combined with its stable weather, have helped make it Chile’s adventure tourism capital. Water skiing…snow skiing…backpacking…white water rafting…kayaking…horseback riding…zip line rides…natural hot springs…if it involves excitement and the outdoors, it happens in Pucón.
Taking a trip is wonderful in-and-of-itself, but it becomes even more satisfying when you can turn that trip into a lucrative adventure. I make money from my trips by taking photos and selling them online. What is really special about my job is that I can take pictures from anywhere in the world I like and still make money. I can shoot anything that strikes my interest, whether it’s a luxurious spa…
If I stand in my living room and look out over Panama’s Pacific coastline early in the morning, I can see the local boats of the Gorgona fishing fleet heading east toward their favorite fishing spots. Later in the day, I hear the purr of outboard motors as the fleet returns home to Gorgona beach. Some boats travel far out to sea while others stay just off shore.
I squeeze the brakes of my handlebars and skid to a stop at the edge of the plateau overlooking Peru’s Sacred Valley. More than 2,000 feet below us is the Urubamba River. A small town nestled on its banks was our destination for the evening. My wife and I were at the start of six weeks of unpaid leave from our jobs to travel in South America. That brief moment in time epitomized what we were seeking.
A Garifuna dancer strikes a pose at the annual junkanoo dance contest, a Caribbean tradition. Shaking themselves, arms half raised, the dancers move toward the drummers. Their feet and bodies respond to each beat of the pulsing drums. Chanting women and the cheers of the crowd drown out the lapping of the ocean waves, only a few yards away. I wiggle to the front through throngs of smiling Belizeans to get a better view.
- Why the Caribbean Tourism Board Said: “You’re Hired!”
Posted on May 21, 2012 by Lebawit Lily Girma
It’s 8.00 a.m. on a Friday morning and I’m in Gouyave, on the west coast of Grenada. The beach is crowded with fishermen at work. Some are fixing their nets and sharing stories. Others are already out in the water in their canoes.
While on a working vacation in France, I decided to take a week-long side-trip to Spain. I had some friends from the Catalonian region in the north of the country and they invited me to visit. I’d never been there before, so I jumped at the chance to see a new part of the world.
The West of Ireland, away from the bustle of Dublin, is a stunning part of the world. On my latest trip, I decided to use Killarney as my travel hub—it put me within reach of must-see locations like the Ring of Kerry, Ross Castle and The Gap of Dunlow. Killarney also comes with bags of small-town charm and friendly locals eager to make visitors feel at home.
Straddling the border between Argentina and Brazil, the Iguazú Falls are one of the world’s most dramatic waterfalls. I got to see them up close recently—but I wasn’t there just to admire the sights. These massive waterfalls, combined with the lush subtropical vegetation and varied local fauna, makes this UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site a top-tier photo destination.
I love to travel to exotic destinations—like on my last trip to Panama. I trekked in Cerro Azul in the majestic mountains overlooking Panama City and visited Santa Fe—one of the country’s hilly frontiers. The rugged natural beauty of these places begs to have a camera pointed at it. Bring a camera with you, and you can start making money right away.
I knew very little about Chile—I had an idea of a long, thin country full of lamas, Spanish colonial architecture and Indians dressed in homespun wool. But, I was about to find out a whole lot more about the South American nation—I had just agreed to accompany a friend on a trip there.
- Hundreds of Reasons to Bring Your Camera When You Travel in Ireland
Posted on April 19, 2012 by Ginger Sanders
An Irish breakfast is something to behold; and something to photograph. A lovely array of oatmeal, toast, eggs, black pudding, white pudding (not the sweet treat it sounds), Irish bacon (really more like a slab of ham), grilled tomatoes and tea—lots of tea.
It’s always good to have a theme or two in mind before you set off on a photography trip. Take my last visit to Puerto Rico. I had seen a number of articles about the famous lighthouses of Maine and other parts of the East coast in various publications. I was also aware that Puerto Rico happened to have its own string of colonial-era lighthouses along its coastline—but I had never seen anything written about them. Since editors were keen to publish articles and photographs about the Maine lighthouses, I was willing to bet they would go for something similar from Puerto Rico.
- Simple Photos Gave Me an Income I Can Take Anywhere
Posted on April 17, 2012 by Andrea K. Gingerich
Like many photographers, I had a dream that one day someone would pay me to travel around the world and take photos. I never thought this “someone” would be me. I learned about stock photography early in my career. It works like this—when a newspaper, magazine, website or advertising company needs a photo of something they go to stock websites to find it.
Zanzibar is one of those places we’ve all heard of, but don’t know where to find on a map. The name conjures up visions of exotic tropical beaches and trading ports that haven’t changed much since the heyday of the spice trade. When my sister accepted a one-year assignment in East Africa, my wife and I booked a trip to see her. It was a great opportunity to visit this fabled island just off Tanzania’s coast.
After dinner one night, Simon and his wife Lisa decided to take on a massive fund-raising expedition—they would ride around the world raising money for charity and taking photographs and documenting their story online as they went. In 2002, they sold their house and all of their possessions—and bought two BMW motorbikes.
I’ve wandered into a spa in Shanghai, China, and managed to arrange a manicure. No English has been spoken. Instead, I relied on the universal sign for a manicure—wiggling my fingers with a smile. Suddenly, my neighbor awakes with a start—he seems surprised to find me here. I’ve come to China to visit a place called Yuanyang.
The monumental ruins of four different empires line its busy streets. Beside trafﬁc lights and tram stops you’ll ﬁnd the marble columns of triumphal arches, Roman aqueducts, and the overgrown tombs of Ottoman court ofﬁcials.
- Travel and Photography: How Keith Made Money Overseas From His Two Favorite Hobbies
Posted on February 24, 2012 by J. Keith Howie
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.