Getting paid to travel and take photos is a dream for many. After all, who wouldn’t want to escape the mundaneness of everyday life and explore the world, and earn money while you’re at it. However, achieving sustainable income with this kind of lifestyle does not come easy. You have to be ready to put in some work.
Here are some of the jobs you can try as a travel photographer:
1. Contribute to magazines, newspapers, or dabble in photojournalism
Although the pay for contributing to these kinds of publications is not that high, it can serve as a good way to earn extra income. It is undeniable that taking on assignments and getting published in these magazines and newspapers can be exciting.
Depending on publication, there will be times wherein you’ll have to wait for long periods for your pitch to get approved before the actual work begins. Travel photographer and blogger, Brendan Van Son of BrendansAdventures.com, shared in his piece for PetaPixel, “Traditional journalism work isn’t something I chase anymore. It’s too much work. You spend 95% of your time pitching, and 5% of your time in the field.”
2. Try Stock Photography
Another way you can earn as a travel photographer is through submitting to stock photography sites. If you are still in the early stage of building your portfolio, making money out of stock photography sites can be difficult. But once you have enough good quality photos to submit, you can just submit them to your site of choice, and wait for people or organizations to buy your photos. Just make sure to optimize your photos with keywords before putting them up for sale.
Submitting your photos to companies offering low priced royalty free stock images or what is referred to as microstock photography is also advisable since it allows you to earn passive income as you work on your other travel photography income streams.
3. Establish your personal brand on social media
Social media is a powerful marketing tool, so make the most out of your Facebook, Instagram, and Flickr accounts. The top earners in the travel photography industry are those who can market themselves well on social media. You’ll notice that travel photographers with a big following are usually those whom brands, hotels, local and national tourism boards, and restaurants invite over to sample their products, services, and tourism offerings. And once you have a large enough following, you can earn money big enough to support your living expenses.
4. Take on freelance photography projects on the road
Look for companies or organizations looking to hire photographers on contract. If you can’t find anything posted online, you can take the initiative to reach out to them and offer your services. You can touch base with restaurants, local brands, hotels, and even airline companies within your location to see if they need photography services.
Typically, these companies will tell you the specific concept they have in mind, and they’ll pick a couple from your set during the submission period you have agreed upon.
5. Create your own blog
With the influx of blogs on the internet, it’s no surprise that people have found a way to monetize them. One of the keys to a successful travel photography blog (or blog of any niche for that matter) is to put out highly useful content for free, alongside it showcase your photography skills in the images you use.
When effectively done, maintaining a blog can help you earn up to a couple of thousands a month while you travel.
6. Set up a YouTube channel
Another online tool you can use to make money as a travel photography is by setting up your own YouTube channel. The platform itself allows you to earn from the number of views that your videos get. But you can also earn from your audience. Aside from being a solid income stream, having a YouTube channel with interesting and relevant original content can help you get more exposure allowing you to increase your following and gain more prospective clients.
You don’t necessarily have to teach photography if you’re not sure if you can translate what you know into teaching. You can teach something that you are confidently good at, like English which is a popular job among foreigners abroad who speak and write English as their first language, and it often provides a decent income for travel photographers to live on.
If you are going to be teaching photography, you don’t have to limit yourself to teaching face-to-face. You can also create video tutorials, e-books, and audiobooks and sell them online. Or you can also put up photography courses on online education portals.
8. Take on online travel writing jobs
Taking on online travel writing jobs is a fast and easy way to earn while you travel. While it doesn’t necessary involve taking photos, online travel writing will allow you to utilize your past travel experiences and once you do get assigned a photography-related topic, you’ll be able to use your knowledge there as well.
It also pays to remember that a crucial part of snagging the travel photography jobs listed above is to act the part. Invest in the right gear and hone your skills in preparation for your travel photography career. People will be more inclined to hire you if they see that you can not only take professional-quality photos, but that you’re a versatile travel photographer as well.