What a Money-Making Photo Looks Like

Straddling the border between Argentina and Brazil, the Iguazú Falls are one of the world’s most dramatic waterfalls. They tumble 200 feet from the Upper to the Lower Iguazú River.

I got to see them up close recently—but I wasn’t there just to admire the sights. These massive waterfalls, combined with the lush subtropical vegetation and varied local fauna, makes this UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site a top-tier photo destination.

After a little research, I decided to schedule a trip. If I could get some good images, I could cover the costs of my journey and make some money by selling the photos to a magazine afterwards.

Both Argentina and Brazil have national parks on their respective sides of the falls and both parks feature well-developed facilities such as visitor centers, tours, trails, restaurants, and lodging. Having a wide selection of options when preparing for a photo trip means I will always find choices to fit my budget. I decided to stay on the Argentinian side—in a hotel near the park’s entrance.

My favorite set of falls along the river has to be the Garganta del Diablo (the Devil’s Throat). This massive, U-shaped cataract can be seen up close and personal from an observation deck. I was able to photograph the waterfall between the gusts of wind and spray that periodically blew across the deck.

I used the “wet” time to set up my next shot and chat with friendly local and foreign visitors. I found myself chatting with a young couple from Spain, David and Toni, and we shared our travel experiences.

I find that my tripod, though cumbersome at times, not only yields tack-sharp images but also attracts attention. Most people are curious about the tripod (“no, I don’t work for National Geographic“), and because of it I have made many friends during my travels.

One of the locals I met was Osni, a bird photographer and guide from Brazil, who happily shared his knowledge about bird species over lunch one day.

Because the best light for photography is usually during breakfast and dinner, when I’m traveling I try to find local foods that are easy to carry in my pack. That way I can sample cuisine even if I can’t always enjoy a sit-down meal. In Argentina my go-to favorites were empanadas (half-moon-shaped pastries filled with meat, chicken or other ingredients) and alfajores (two soft cookies forming a sandwich of dulce de leche).

When I did find time to eat a relaxed meal at a restaurant, I discovered a delicious pasta dish with a local twist; Bife de Chorizo a la Pimienta (pepper-spiced roast beef). Because many Italians emigrated to Argentina, Italian food in the country is fantastic.

During my three-day visit to Iguazú Falls I was able to photograph both the Argentine and Brazilian sides of the border. I also got a wide variety of shots and met lots of interesting people along the way.

Once home, I picked out some of my favorite images from the trip. Next, I sent them out to publications I thought might be interested. After a short wait, I got the result I was looking for. A photography magazine emailed to say they wanted to pay me for my shots.

But this trip was no one-off. In fact, photography has taken me all over the world.

I love having the travel-rich lifestyle of a photographer and I recently spoke about my experiences at a photography workshop in Phoenix run by the AWAI (American Writers and Artists Inc). At the event, I revealed all my best tips and secrets to the people who had gathered to hear them. Now they are equipped to start their own journey as a paid photographer.

Don’t worry—you haven’t missed your chance to be one of them. You can listen to a recording of what I had to say, here.

Editor’s Note: If you’d like to learn more about ways you can pay for your life or travels overseas, sign up for Fund Your Life Overseas, a free e-letter from International Living. Sign up here and we’ll send you a free report: Fund Your New Life Overseas With These 5 Portable Careers.


Your email address will not be published.