Value adding is one way to build your writing and photography portfolio, land more jobs, and get asked back time and again. It is easy to do with simple little add-ons like doing reviews and posting where you are on social media. For very little work it helps you grow as a photographer and build confidence in your ability.

I think of it as a free online portfolio. With great benefits.

Example: I just received an email from Google saying “Congratulations, your photos have helped over 1,500,000 people”… wow. One and half million people from all over the world have clicked on the destination, restaurant, day trip or place I have visited to look at my photos. That shows you the reach that a platform like Google can give you.

Keeping track of photo views has helped me see which photos are most popular—building my confidence as a photographer. Angles, composition, lighting, and most importantly what to take photos of that appeal to a wide audience. These are invaluable insights. Especially if you want to take photos to go with your articles for magazines. Knowing what the wider internet public likes will help you understand what editors like. They’re trying to please their audience after all.

We all take photos these days. Adding them to a quick, well written, informative review helps you get noticed by the right people. Whether it be a winery, snorkel trip, local café, or some old ruins—you would be surprised how much of a veracious appetite people have to “see” a destination.

It’s free and can land you future writing, photography, and even video jobs.

dessert photography

Here’s an example: this photo I took of my dessert one night has had over 81,500 views and counting. It was so dark I had to have the waiter hold a little torch over my dessert to get a good look at it then took a second to quickly take a photo.

This blossomed into more photography plus two video jobs from the owners of that restaurant. Not bad for 10 seconds’ work.

How? Because they trust not only my worth in positive publicity, but my ability to deliver results. They can see people are reading the review, engaging with the pictures and want more. And it didn’t cost me a dime but earned $550…for 10 seconds’ work.

An added bonus is that they are referring me both as a photographer and videographer to other high-end restaurants, to be wined and dined while getting paid for it. Not bad perks if you ask me.

It also works well for destinations and attractions. Tourism boards, local businesses, and government departments take notice, landing you free entry and VIP treatment.

Here’s another example: this photo was taken at some old Maya ruins here on Cozumel called San Gervasio, which is run by Cozumel Parks—who are very happy it has had over 634,450 views. It’s free publicity for them.

cozumel parks

The photo might not look like anything special, but it has landed me free entry and tours in all of Cozumel’s parks to film for video jobs. This includes free tequila tasting, sea lion shows, archaeological tours, and more. With the added bonus of them letting me in earlier and staying after the thousands of tourists have left so I get great clean shots and footage. 

Once organizations know of the benefit to them, they will bend over backwards to help with whatever you need. Everybody wins.

And it’s all free. Writing a good review only takes a couple of minutes, improves your writing and brings rewards for very little time invested.

Lastly, I will add that I only write impartial reviews of destinations, attractions, restaurants visited by me—paid for by me and not having been hosted through a media trip. This saves any conflict of interest.

So, next time you meet a friend for coffee or see a statue you like in a park, take a picture, write a review, and I hope it leads to great things.

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[Editor’s Note: Learn more about how you can fund your travels and make an extra income with photography, travel writing, blogging, and more in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel. Sign up here today and we’ll send you a new report, Four Fun Ways To Get Paid To Travel: A Quick-Start Guide, completely FREE.]

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