$600 for One Photo…And a Week-Long Trip to Fiji

I can see it as we leave the airport—clear as day—this large mountain range that looks like a sleeping giant, with booted feet and humongous belly, face-up to the sky. His hulking, bearded face is pieced together from the craggy, green and brown branches of tropical trees, native to the island.

I’ve just landed in Fiji for a week-long stay.

My tour guide, Jai, explains that the landscape in front of us is called “Garden of the Sleeping Giant.” My ears perk up when he tells us there are over 2,000 exotic orchids in the garden. There’s a floral shop, back in the States, interested in selling greeting cards featuring flowers…

I’ve discovered that photography can be a great source of income. You can make money to travel…and then make money while you travel.

Printing greeting cards from your images is just one income source. I also sell my photos to stock agencies, which make photos available online for magazine editors, graphic designers, web designers, and publishers to purchase.

Back home, in New York, I play around with photography every day. I believe that practice makes perfect. One day, I decide to shoot fruit for stock. I get a big white bowl from the kitchen, filling it with cereal and seasonal berries. Then, another bowl with just fresh, juicy blackberries. I set it on my back porch, take some pictures, and upload the series to several stock sites.

My favorite one in the bunch, sells. Over and over again…to blog writers and websites. A local restaurant even spots it on my Facebook page and gets in touch. They pay $75 to hang it on their wall…but the owner loves it so much she takes it home.

On a whim, I frame it and enter a small, summertime art show. Surprisingly, it sells for $125 bucks.

In fact, that single image has earned me nearly $600 so far.

And I have that money to spend on my trip to Fiji, where I already have a commission that includes free accommodation in a magnificent villa overlooking the ocean.

Now, here I am with so many photo opportunities lined up…from snorkeling and island hopping…to open markets and street photography. I will chronicle the villa, capturing sunrises and sunsets.

I can wander through the Garden of the Sleeping Giant, under canopies that protect both flowers and visitors from harsh sun and heat. I can sit near lily ponds, lie down on hammocks, hike towards the top of the tropical forest, enjoy ice cold beverages, and then head home to the villa.

I’m here to have fun…but I’m also thinking about my next best shot. It’s how I’m wired.

Photography is like that, I can take pictures of anything, at any time, from anywhere. With so many platforms to help me sell each image, I take wonderful trips like this one and have extra spending money in my pocket.

Thank goodness I’ve packed two brand new reader cards in my camera bag!

Image ©Theresa St. John

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