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.
A freelance opportunity to photograph Paris presented itself over drinks at a cocktail party. The president of a small publishing company complained to me about a freelance photographer who did not obtain shots needed to complete a French language textbook. The project deadline was fast approaching. I asked what was required.
Photography was always my passion. But I hesitated making it my “job” because I did not want to ruin the joy it brought me. I was one of those people that thought art was a hobby, not something that could sustain me. So I went off to college, got a Bachelor of Science (in psychology, sociology, and anthropology), and emerged into the “real world” with a career in social services.
It’s possible to pursue your hobby and bring in some cash before and during retirement. These hobbies can help you to fund your life as a retiree overseas. If you’re dreaming of an apartment in Paris…a beach house in Ecuador…a farmhouse in Italy…and the only thing holding you back is lack of capital…then read on. Your interests can turn into a career that you love…
When I first started uploading photos to an online stock agency I had no idea how it would change my life. I had stumbled on stock agencies while looking for a photo for a small design job. But once I saw how much money people were making from their photos, I realized I could do the same. A year after I started, I was making $600 a month. And my best-selling photo has now earned me more than $3,500.
When David Hagerman went on business trips, he always kept a camera stashed in his briefcase. Early in the morning, well before his day’s round of meetings started, he would leave his hotel to take photos of local people and places, from women preparing bowls of noodles in busy street-side stalls to piles of brightly colored spices in bustling morning markets.
Winner of the 2013 Global Retirement Index, Ecuador offers sophisticated historical cities…miles of unspoiled, sun-kissed beaches…fertile farmland…and temperate mountain hideaways…and all of it for pennies on the dollar.
Each October, the German town of Munich celebrates its beer festival. The Germans dress up in traditional costume and there is fun on the streets every evening. When we arrived it was like a giant party with large beer tents lining the streets. A huge Ferris wheel dominated the middle of the town and the people were out to party. Munich is a place of old brick architecture and paved stone streets. The older buildings have intricate stone and brick work which is perfect for photography. And that is what I had come to Germany for—to take pictures.
- Take a Different View of the World—And Get Paid for it
Posted on September 26, 2013 by Caroline Maryan
I love to travel. And I try to live like a local when I visit new places. Of course, it takes time to discover how the locals live. Some people are really good at doing research before they arrive. I prefer to scout out my new neighborhood and figure things out as I go along. One trick that makes this both fun and rewarding is to carry a camera. Putting the camera up to my eye slows me down and helps me see the details.
- How to Switch Careers with an Easy, Profitable Skill
Posted on September 26, 2013 by Efraín M. Padró
My former attorney colleagues and I used to joke that there were three kinds of closing arguments you could make to a jury: the one you carefully prepared, the one you actually delivered, and the one you wish you had given. Few things ever happen as planned. Nevertheless my “life” plan (the one I carefully prepared) was to practice law until I retired at 65; then I would pursue photography and maybe make a little money on the side.
“Come on, get up, get up!” Cocooned in our sleeping bags, we knew the sun was up, and the light on the lake was going to get intense—fast. So we pried each other up, grabbed our cameras, and ambled down to the shore.Frost coated everything—including our life jackets. But the scene was too good to miss: a thick, white fog blanketed the lake’s surface. As sunlight reached the water, the fog started dissipating. But we worked quickly…taking turns photographing each other paddling our kayaks through the mist.
In 1971, I spent seven months traveling around Latin America…from Mexico to Argentina and Brazil. At some point, pressed among a crowd of Indians at the back of a dilapidated bus, I was traveling from Ayacucho to Cuzco, in the Peruvian Andes…an endless two-day ride. Holes and stones in the dirt road shook the bus…
After seeing Paris some 25 years ago, New York native Richard Nahem dreamt of making it his home. Although visits to the City of Light kept his dream alive, it wasn’t until 2005 that the chef-caterer packed his bags and crossed the Atlantic to start a new life. “My partner and I sold our apartment in New York for a nice profit, so we were able to live in Paris for about 18 months without working,” says Richard.
My friend had some shocking advice about Thailand: “Spend as little time as you can in Bangkok,” he said. “It is just another dirty big city with nothing to offer but noise, pollution, and endless crowds.” I knew I wouldn’t take his advice because my research had told me otherwise. Bangkok is loaded with fascinating temples, palaces, historical locations and exotic things to see.
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.