How to earn a living as a landscape travel photographer

I’ve been working as as travel photographer for coming up to 5 years. In that time I’ve travelled extensively to photography and experience the world. Highlight’s included spending 4 months in Australia traveling in a camper van all across Australia, two long road trips across America visiting most of the States, all over the UK Scotland, Wales, England and many countries including Iceland, France, Belgium, Malaysia, Thailand, Japan, Ukraine, Spain, Greece, Italy, Norway, Saudi Arabia and numerous others.

It’s been a wonderful experience, I’ve made many friends along the way and more memories then I can remember. The only reason I decided not to be a location independent free (i.e. just on the road full time travelling without a home) was our cats. We have 4 cats and I have my one ‘Snowball’ whom is the spitting image of the cat from James Bonds Dr No. Anyway I could not leave her for a full time life on the road.

But, anyway I keep busy and have friends look after the cats when we are away and still manage to visit another country or two each month. TBH travelling does not need to be expensive these days, I use the Sky Scanner app on my phone to find the best deals on flights and because I have very few ties I can pick and choose my flight dates very flexible to get the best deals. Then you can always go camping or use hostels for super cheap accommodation, although it has to be said I do appreciate a nice hotel. But then even that does not need to be expensive i.e. we stayed in a fantastic hotel in Thailand for nearly a month that was costing us £8 per day.

It would actually be a lot cheaper for me if I had of gone location independent as I still have a house to pay for, gas, electric, taxes, cars (I have 7 cars) and cat sitters etc etc but I still make a comfortable living from my photography that enables me to also carry on traveling frequently.. so how do I do that?

SMUG MUG

I sell my photos on Smug Mug and I also use them for storing all my photos. Smug Mug offer a channel for selling your photos, just upload to Smug Mug and visitors can order a framed print to there desire and Smug Mug handles it all to the point of sale and shipping then pays you your commission.

With Smug Mug you set your own prices and you get to keep 85% of the profits. Often I post my photos on social Networks like Facebook and get people asking to purchase a print. Smug Mug is an easy solution for giving people a link to your page where they can order your print.

500PX

I also use 500PX for displaying my best work and they also offer a marketplace where people can purchase a full resolution download of your work. 500PX don’t offer prints but is more aimed at people whom need a digital download i.e. for websites, editorial work, stock photography etc so fills the hole that Smug Mug does not offer. Commissions are good I tend to see $100 per image sold and when you get a sale it’s a simple job of having the money paid into your Paypal account or a cheque in the post if you prefer.

ADVERTISING – AFFILIATE WINDOW

I have my photography blog and other photography related web sites that I run and manage that I run advertising on for other companies that pay me a commission on sales or clicks produced to them. This is known as affiliate marketing. It’s a good idea to have your own web site to promote your photography if you don’t already and then I would suggest you join one of the affiliate networks. An affiliate network is basically a single web site that offers you lots of different offerings from lots of companies that is all managed on the one web site. For a good starting point I would recommend Affiliate Window, Over a thousand advertisers, ranging from blue-chip brands, such as Dixons, Boots and Vodafone, to niche retailers looking to grow their online presence.

Social Media is a great way to drive traffic to your web site or your 500PX and Smug Mug pages so it’s a good idea to build on your Facebook accounts, I have some 40,000 Facebook followers and near 4,000 friends on Facebook which is relatively easy to do so yourself and YouTube is great as they also pay you for showing advertising on your videos.

Good luck and I wish you the best of success!

Arizona rising

Death at the Opera Marta Beckets Amargosa Opera House

When we was driving through Death Valley in California we got to Death Valley Junction and saw a little hotel. So we popped in for a cup of tea and got talking to the lady working there. Now Death Valley Junction is a very strange ghost town and she gave us a wee tour about the hotel and started telling us all the ghost stories and the very interesting story of the ballerina Marta Becket and how she came to start her opera house Amargosa. Story was she was passing through Death Valley back in the day when it was a thriving town, took a liking to the town and hey presto started up her opera house.

Of course now Death Valley has become a ghost town since the mining came to an end and rail road stopped running. We got a wee tour of the old opera house and this is a photo taken with my Nikon D800. A 5 bracket shot with editing in Photoshop.

Death at the Opera - Marta Beckets Amargosa Opera House
Death at the Opera – Marta Beckets Amargosa Opera House

Kilchurn Castle Loch Awe

I’ve been meaning to head out to Loch Awe for a number of years now. Had some supposedly good weather here so we packed the tent in the car and drove up to Kilchurn Castle in Loch Awe. Unfortunately sunset did not happen and sunrise was rained out. It was however a very calm and dry evening to play with some ND and coloured filters for some long exposures. From the edge of the water I think a 50mm lens would have been the best option, however I only had a 28mm and my 70-210 was just a little too long.

Kilchurn Castle Loch Awe
Kilchurn Castle Loch Awe

Saint Conans Kirk Loch Awe Scotland

Myself and my wife spent a couple of days Argyll and Bute, Scotland to camp up at Loch Awe to photograph kilchurn castle. On the way my wife spotted this very cool old looking church, Saint Conans Kirk near Loch Awe. Initially I did not think it would be that great so I left my tripod in the car. Did not take me long to go back for the tripod 🙂

This photo was 3 exposures +2 0 -2 take with the little Sony A7R. Shot at F8 at 100 ISO with a 28mm fixed prime lens and of course my tripod.

Saint Conans Kirk
Saint Conans Kirk

San Francisco Buildings

A photo in San Fransisco from my road trip with my wife last year across America. A mirrored and flipped image in Photoshop looking up at the buildings. Unfortunately the building opposite was not as attractive and I loved the look of the older building with the fire escape running outside.

San Francisco Buildings
San Francisco Buildings

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