Take a Different View of the World—And Get Paid for it

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. The best part is that I can sell some of my photos to help pay for the trip.

It’s not as hard as you might think! When I visited South Africa for a month last spring, I was rarely without my camera. While walking around the V&A Waterfront, in Cape Town, I paused to capture photos of people, Table Mountain, a Ferris wheel, boats, birds, and even umbrellas.

When I traveled across the country, I shot photos out of the back window of the train. On safari, I got shots of animals, birds, and even trees. After the trip, I uploaded many of my photos to a stock website. Others I was able to use as fine art on my website.

Remember, photographers don’t need a dark room any more. Or even a studio. It’s possible to pack an entire portable studio into a suitcase. While I was living in Seoul, South Korea, I took family portraits for other expats. I’m certainly no expert, but I was the photographer they knew. We all had fun doing it together. I had friends who became wedding photographers, for the same reason.

I discovered my favorite way of earning money with photography quite by accident. When I bought my first DSLR camera, I found reading its manual to be a unique form of torture. In short, it made no sense to me! Having someone to guide you is the best way to get a handle on photography.

I took classes which really helped. It’s much more enjoyable and productive when you have a mentor. As it started to make sense to me, I found myself helping my friends with their cameras.

Then someone asked me to teach a class. I reluctantly agreed, afraid that no one would sign up. It was advertised through a local international women’s club. I had 24 students! And I loved teaching the class and helping people. Within six months, I had designed three types of workshops, and I’d earned enough to travel to China.

As you can guess, I came back with photos to sell.

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