I never thought of photography as a way to earn money. It was just too much fun as a hobby. So, you can imagine my elation when I sold my first framed travel photo for $600! And, then, sold two more on the same weekend.
I had been a teacher and a programmer, back in the States. But when I began living out of a suitcase—accompanying my husband on his longer business trips—I started photographing my travels.
Because of my traveling lifestyle, I couldn’t imagine how I would earn money, but I wanted to improve my photography anyway, so I signed up for a course I could study at home called Turn Your Pictures into Cash.
When I discovered that stock photography websites would sell my images for me, I realized I could shoot, upload and sell from anywhere…which matched my lifestyle perfectly.
Best of all, through stock agencies I’m still earning money for photos I took back in 2010. It’s a great passive income.
Our travels have taken us to Europe, Africa, Asia, North and South America…and even the tiny Pacific islands of Guam and Saipan.
We’ve travelled by car, plane, ship, train, cable car, tram and even a ropeway on the Japanese island of Miyajima. We’ve slept on tatami mats in Japan and showered outdoors near Kruger National Park in South Africa. We’ve bargained in markets from Marrakesh and Istanbul to Bali and Seoul.
All the while, I’ve had my camera beside me, ready to record the experiences.
Along the way, I was asked to be the photo editor for an expat magazine in Seoul. Thanks to the internet and my huge supply of photos of Korea, I was able to do that even when I was out of the country. It was thrilling to be able to use the images that I had enjoyed taking.
As my husband eased into retirement, we spent more time in Virginia. I updated my website and placed some photos to a gallery. Soon, I held an exhibition at a local business, which led to an invitation to speak locally, about my trip to China to shoot the Honge Hani Rice Terraces in the mountains of southeastern Yunnan Province, China. (They are on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.)
Occasionally, I have said “no” to projects that didn’t fit my schedule or my interests. That’s the kind of freedom you have when you’re your own boss. You don’t have to do something if it doesn’t suit you.
But, I love the challenge of being asked to try something new.
Today, I have multiple income streams. I sell photos online through stock agencies and take portrait photos for clients, but my favorite income is still travel photos!
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