How My Hobby Funds My European Travels

With relatively little effort, I’ve earned hundreds of dollars a month, selling photos from my European vacations at art festivals…private school fundraising events…and art gallery shows. I’ve sold my photos through corporate art consultants…and even at a Christmas tree farm in Pennsylvania.

These are simply photos that people want to hang on the wall.

I began taking photos during vacations while I was still in a job…sometimes I even took photos when I was commuting. I always carry my camera with me and these days I make a living from it.

Photographs that depict everyday scenes with a novel twist, or which are humorous, beautiful, or thought provoking sell well.

In Venice, for example, I spied commuters headed to work one morning in a gondola. These people were wearing suits and talking on cell phones, as commuters everywhere do.

The image made me smile. Most people talk on cell phones trapped in their cars commuting to work on an expressway, not floating to work in a gondola along the Grand Canal.

I’ve sold that image, as a framed print, in three different venues during the last month. Other people obviously have found it as amusing as I did.

There is a new public art gallery near my home, and every month, artists, and photographers are invited to enter multiple pieces of work into a juried exhibit there for a fee of $5. My “Venice Commuters” sold there and I made $200.

During a photo shoot in Paris, a few years ago, I shot images from atop the Eiffel Tower, looking down on buildings and the River Seine. These created interesting patterns as well as a birds’ eye view of the city. An art consultant at a local frame shop sold these for me.

On the same Parisian trip, I saw performance artists posing as marble sculptures outside the Sacré-Coeur Basilica. In one shot, I caught an artist on a break, dressed as a marble sculpture, eating lunch. I’ve printed that and other related images on blank 5 x 7-inch note cards I purchased at a local art supply store, and have sold them as a boxed set at a local Christmas tree farm.

In the Italian fishing village of Portofino, I photographed colorful boats in the harbor. Yachts and rowboats with red and yellow flags, bobbing in sparkling blue seas are always popular and I’ve sold almost 20 images from this trip—one for $300.

There are many commercial printing companies in business these days that do a terrific job printing from photographs, on canvas, for reasonable prices. Some will even stretch the image and ship it for a small additional fee. Most of these companies can be found online or in bricks-and-mortar locations in most communities.

Am I getting rich selling these images? No. But photographs that would previously be hidden in a drawer are now working for me, earning a passive income. Anyone can do this…just travel, take photos, and when you sell them, collect the checks.

In a year, these sales will pay for another trip!

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