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I used to take my camera with me whenever I traveled, but never thought about selling my photos publicly until I got started in stock photography.   Now when I travel, I bring my camera for taking both family photos and photos to sell as stock.  By doing this, I can offset the cost of our trip or vacation. My wife “Princess the Clown” started this concept on one of our trips to Hawaii.  She is in charge of our entertainment business and asked the hotel manager if he would like her to do face painting and balloon sculptures as one of the daily events for the guests (for a fee, of course).  He not only said yes, but also sent her to another large hotel he managed so she could also entertain those guests.  She made some pretty good spending money for that trip, just by taking a chance! A few years later, I was laid off from the airlines, but with the business my “Princess” started along with the income from stock photography, we managed to stay afloat, financially, through some hard times.  Our daughters also help with the business. I started stock photography three years ago and challenge myself to take enough photos to cover most of our trip expenses. I know the photos will take time to pay for the trip, but meanwhile, previous photos continue to earn enough to pay expenses such as my rent when the airlines stationed me temporarily in New York City. As the photos keep snowballing, they pay for sight-seeing tours, extra expenses on cruises (that Princess works on part-time to get us a special rate), hotels, food, gas, etc. When I was transferred to New York after accepting my airline job back a year and a half ago, there were so many photo ops for stock there that it seemed like it would be relatively easy to earn enough with stock to cover my expenses.  Since I would be working nights, I thought I’d have five days (I commuted home on my two days off) when the sun was up to shoot stock. There was just one problem — I had to catch up on sleep during the day. Then, to make my stock photo matters worse, it turned out to be one of the coldest, snowiest winters New York had been through in a long time! So, in reality, I was lucky to have one good photo op day a week, and that depended on whether I could stay awake long enough to take any photos.  Nonetheless, I took advantage of whatever day or two I had and took as many stock photos as I was able while I was there – and it paid off!  Now a few of my best-selling photos are from New York and are close to paying back just about all of my expenses for the five months I was stationed there. This is one of my best selling New York photos here… This photo sells three times a day on average. Since I began my career in stock photos, my family and I have been on several driving and airline trips around the country, as well as cruises in the Bahamas.  I always ponder in the back of my mind, “Would this shot be a good stock photo?  Will it sell well enough to cover this trip or some of the expenses?  Is it something a potential buyer can use?” Like any art form, success in travel stock photos takes persistence, creativity, study, and the courage to try new ideas.  After much trial and error, my photos usually cover a large part, if not all, of the expenses accrued on each vacation within a year or less of being on the stock sites. Once your photo is accepted, it stays on the stock site until you remove it.  Therefore, it will continue to make money for you on an ongoing basis. I have also done event photography for a resort that we visit at least three weekends a year. They supply food for the five of us, a suite that fits us all, and the use of all the amenities while we are there in exchange for our photo services along with face painting and balloon animals. We usually only work a couple hours a day at something we love to do, so it doesn’t even seem like work. If I hadn’t gotten into stock photography and kept it up, I know for a fact we wouldn’t be able to afford the four or five vacations a year we take now. Also, I would not have been able to afford the camera equipment that I now use for my stock photos. When on trips with loved ones, remember to make time for family photos and fun. It’s important to not get overly obsessed with shooting for stock — it’s very easy to do, and my wife has threatened to throw my camera overboard on more than one cruise!  However, she has always encouraged me to follow my dream of earning a living doing something I really enjoy, and I am very blessed to have her and my three daughters’ love, patience, and support. [Editor’s Note: Learn more about how you can turn your pictures into cash in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel.  Sign up here today and we’ll send you a new report, Selling Photos for Cash: A Quick-Start Guide, completely FREE.]

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