Turn this Hobby into Cash—Anywhere in the World

“Come on, get up, get up!”

Cocooned in our sleeping bags, we knew the sun was up, and the light on the lake was going to get intense—fast.

So we pried each other up, grabbed our cameras, and ambled down to the shore.

Frost coated everything—including our life jackets. But the scene was too good to miss: a thick, white fog blanketed the lake’s surface. As sunlight reached the water, the fog started dissipating. But we worked quickly…taking turns photographing each other paddling our kayaks through the mist.

In the end, it was such an adventure. And the photos we took are especially saleable because few are willing to drag themselves out of bed at 6.30 a.m. to go kayaking with a camera.

But you don’t have to get up early to have “unique access” to things you can photograph for income.

Say you love to take cooking classes when you travel…or you always ride horses in your spare time…or you’re a spa nut, and just can’t pass up a massage. Whatever it is you love to do—that’s your “unique access.”

Living abroad gives you an edge, too. Magazines, newspapers, and stock agencies need local coverage of international destinations the world over. When you’re a local, you get to photograph your town on the best days of the year…from the best angles…something not every traveling photographer gets to see.

“But who will buy my photos,” you ask?

Lots of places. Here are three questions to ask when you’re looking through your photos, to see which market is best for you:

Could this photo sell a product or an idea on its own?

Something as simple as a photo of pillows or towels in a hotel room can sell hundreds of times in online stock photo agencies like iStock.com or Shutterstock.com. Buyers could use it to sell a wide variety of things, from a travel booking service, to hotels and hospitality to bedding.

Can I imagine this photo hanging on a wall in a home or business?

Not every saleable photo would look good on a wall. For example, the photo I just described, of pillows and towels, is probably better suited to ads than to fine art. But if you can imagine a photo of yours framed and displayed on a wall, it might be saleable as fine art.

Does this photo tell a specific story?

If you love street shooting and travel photography, you probably have photos that tell the story of the place you visited. If that’s the case, you should try combining some with a travel article and selling them to a magazine as editorial.

Now, if you’re still not sure which of your photos are the most likely to sell, then it helps to have someone look over your shoulder and give an honest, outsider’s opinion. It could be a friend or a family member (though they’re hardly objective!) or you could ask a professional photographer for their opinion.

The important thing is that you keep taking photos of the things you love to do in your life. Not only will that keep it fun and interesting…but it will help eliminate competition, too.

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