How to Switch Careers with an Easy, Profitable Skill

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.

What actually happened was quite different. At the ripe old age of 45, my wife and I moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico, so she could take her dream job at a national laboratory. Having taken two bar exams and practiced for almost 20 years, I was in no mood to sit for yet another bar, so I decided to plunge head first into  photography…20 years ahead of schedule.

The next plan (which I also carefully prepared) was to become a landscape photographer, capturing the natural beauty and grandeur of New Mexico as well as the nearby Western states of Arizona, Colorado, and Utah. But I soon realized that photographing landscapes was not enough; I also enjoyed visiting different places and capturing their unique architecture, events, and even food. I then realized a better description for what I was doing was “travel photography.”

Life is too short to spend it stuck. Stuck in a place… stuck in a job… stuck in a rut…

If you dream about a different life… one lived on a sun-dappled beach… or in a colonial, history-rich town… or some exotic big city abroad…

But you need an income to make it happen…

Then you should know: There are proven, flexible ways you can fund your life overseas… and get paid to do something you genuinely enjoy…

What has actually happened over the past 10 years is I have traveled to places like Argentina, Chile, Perú, Puerto Rico (my home), India, Morocco, Holland, England, Spain and many other places besides, all the while making money by licensing my images, writing articles and lecturing about photography.

Although being a full time travel photographer has its challenges (you do have to get used to rejection), it has always been rewarding, a never-ending learning experience, and a source of extra income.

For example, a couple of years ago I spent six weeks in Puerto Rico photographing an assignment for a Frommer’s travel guide about the island. During those weeks I stayed in luxury hotels, was invited to attend fancy lunches and dinners, and attended (to photograph) classical music concerts, jazz festivals, salsa performances, and other events. In addition I made a nice profit, and to this day I still make money licensing the same images to local travel publications.

Last year I traveled to Northumberland, along England’s Northeast coast, to photograph five different castles for a story I wanted to write. I walked and photographed the castles during the day and stayed at B&Bs in the evenings. After the trip I was able to sell an article (text and pictures) to a national photography magazine, which paid for most of the trip.

I have also sold articles about photographing in Chile’s Atacama Desert (the driest place on earth), Iguazú Falls (probably one of the wettest), and many others.

I also enjoy sharing my knowledge of photography by lecturing and leading workshops all over the world. I started by teaching about point-and-shoot photography to groups of seniors at a local center. I now lead workshops to places like Morocco, Holland, Spain, and India.

My life now revolves around making a profit by selling images, writing articles, and teaching about photography; I cannot complain my carefully crafted life plan did not pan out.

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