Earning money whilst you travel…what could be better than that?
A close cousin to landscapes in many respects although images categorised as travel sell way better than landscapes. Think about the endless opportunities here and what a way to earn a living. If I was single, I would spend my time travelling the world and shooting stock!
Things are forever changing with travel photography. Places go in and out of fashion for travellers and travel agencies, landscapes, cities and skylines are forever changing and need constantly updating.
If you took a shot of the Costa del Sol in Spain 15 years ago and sold it as stock, unless it was now used in a historical context, it would lay dormant and unsold. That coast has changed beyond belief over the past two decades with thousand of new buildings and apartments being built as well as new roads and infrastructures.
So why is travel stock photography worth pursuing? Well, firstly they will be used in or by:
- Travel agents windows and websites
- TV companies/documentaries etc
- Local interest websites devoted to towns, cities and countries
- Holiday companies
- and so on…
Why would they choose your stock image rather than shooting it themselves? The answer to that is fairly obvious. The costs involved in sending a photographer, by plane, to another country are astronomical compared to sifting through a stock library and choosing your images there.
Flights, accommodation, car hire, equipment, wages, food, expenses…
Great stuff and I think that is the reason that some of the previous images I have displayed above sold so well. It was still cheaper to buy them than doing it themselves…whoever they were.
Are you really excited about this now?
You should be because if you really work hard and focus with this, the possibilities are only bound by your own efforts. Anyone who says that stock is saturated with photographers can think again. You just need to step up your game and get stuck in.
I still have a 5 year plan for my stock photography.
Note: Even though anyone and everyone with any talent in photography should shoot stock, the idea is simple but it isn’t easy! Hard work is what pays in the end…
Another interesting fact.
I thought by living in Spain, I would shoot something typically Spanish…a donkey. Here are two images that are radically different. One is a donkey on a lovely sunny beach with wonderful colours…
…and the other was a quick shot taken with a super wide lens whilst leaning over a fence…
When I uploaded it, I honestly thought the beach shot would do well. It has received no downloads whatsoever in 4 years at Dreamstime. The second, dreary shot is the best seller at Dreamstime when looking for “donkey Spain” or “Spanish donkey”.
Once again, don’t waste too much time trying to work out what will sell and what won’t. Simply brainstorm a great idea, execute and shoot it to the best quality you can, upload them and move on.
So, whenever you go abroad or indeed anywhere in your own country, even though it may be a boring location to you, someone will want to use images from there one day.
Look for interesting features of the location and then see it from a different angle and perspective. Think about the lighting, the mood and the people. Always carry a bunch of model releases because you never know when you might come across the shot of the century that includes one or two people.
It would be a great idea to print up the forms in the language of each country you are visiting too, after all, would you sign a form in a strange dialect if you were photographed by a strange foreigner?
Caveat: Be careful when shooting people abroad and always ask permission if you can. If you get a negative response, accept it and move on.
Some advice I have always been given in the past and for my trip to Africa, is try not to offer money to people in poor countries. The best thing you can do is either buy something from them in exchange for the model release (if they work a market stall or something), or take with you a few small “trinkets” such as pens, key rings or anything that is Westernised and of interest to them which you can exchange. The chances are they will sell it anyway.
If you do offer money, make it “small change” although I have read of instances where money meant nothing. Some people in far outreaching places have never seen money before let alone use…they don’t need it.
Other ideas and tips when travelling:
- People, workers, indigenous tribes, clothing, national costumes etc
- Cityscapes, day and night
- Shoot both natural shots of people as well as fun, outrageous and out-of-the-ordinary stuff if you can
- Street scenes
- Cars and transport (many varied forms all over the world)
- Markets and shops
- Street signs etc…everything!
- Get up early. You get the best light and the least people in the shot
- Cover all angles with a selection of wide angle to telephoto lenses (an 18-200 walk around zoom would be perfect)
- As I have mentioned before, when shooting stock, shoot both vertical and horizontal shots of the same scene
- Carry a concealable point and shoot camera for situations where you wouldn’t want to damage, lose or have your DSLR stolen
Travel photography is fun and can be a good earner in the world of stock. the great thing is that you can turn many of them into fine art prints for sale.
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