How to Make Money as a Travel Photographer [2024]

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Here’s how to make money as a travel photographer, doing what you love while exploring the world.

I’ve been lucky enough to travel to over 25 countries and all over the U.S. I’ve been paid as a writer and travel photographer.

I’ve seen pigeons in Venice, pigeons in London, and pigeons in New York City. The London pigeons turned up their noses when I offered them bread and waddled away! A pigeon in New York City stole my watch.

Let’s talk money. The average travel photographer makes $40,170 per year1. But you’re not average!

I’ll show you how to make money with your travel photos by

  • Uploading your travel photos on Shutterstock
  • Selling travel photo prints with Shopify
  • Becoming a travel influencer on social media using Stan Store
  • Travel blogging on Squarespace

Then there’s the secret behind-the-scenes method that I love. Teaching photography online with videos. 

If you’re getting compliments on your travel photography, that means others admire your skills! You can make six figures teaching photography lessons on Teachable.

I’ll explain these ways how to make money as a travel photographer and much more. 

How to Make Money as a Travel Photographer

Blog About Traveling and Photography

You don’t need to be an amazing writer to blog, because the star of your blog will be your travel photos!

If you want, you can use free AI tools to help you write.

Your travel photography blog can be about 

  • Where you traveled 
  • Why you took these particular travel photos
  • The emotions the photos give you
  • Any interesting, unexpected, or unusual things that happened while traveling

You can create a website for very little money and begin writing about your travel experiences. 

Check out the best blogging platform to learn more.

Once you have a base of loyal readers, you can turn your website into a profitable online business. There are services that will put ads on your blog and pay you for it!

You can also sell products and services you like. You’ll get paid when people buy using your links. (This is called affiliate marketing.)

For example, I’ve been following The Bucket List Family for years. They publish excellent travel guides, product reviews, and videos of their adventures. I suggest checking them out if you need inspiration for your blog!

The Bucket List Family on the cover of National Geographic.
The Bucket List Family shares travel itineraries and tips via Instagram, weekly YouTube videos, and their website – they even created a book with National Geographic. 

If you’re looking to emulate what The Bucket List Family does by publishing top-quality videos and pictures on your blog, I recommend using GoPro

You can attach the GoPro camera to your helmet and record while skiing, skydiving, or even scuba diving. 

GoPro also has editing software where you can trim clips and grab frames, which is essential when you’re posting videos and pictures of your adventures online. 

Blogging is one of my favorite low-cost business ideas with high profit.

Sell Prints Online

You can sell prints of your travels to make money online with Shopify

Take it a step further by offering to frame the prints so customers can really admire your work in their homes or businesses. 

Wheeler Collective is a great example of an online print gallery. Wheeler sells iconic travel photos in custom wooden frames, with prices starting at $250. 

Using this $250 per print figure, if you sell 10 prints per month, you can make $2,500. That can easily pay for your travel expenses!

The Wheeler Collective online print store.
The Wheeler Collective is a family-owned online print gallery with a focus on European lifestyle and travel scenes. 
Source: Wheeler Collective2

A good way to get started selling prints is by creating your own website using a service like Shopify. Shopify makes designing an e-commerce website easy. 

With Shopify, there’s no coding needed. Make a storefront with drag-and-drop templates. Get a free trial when you use my super special Shopify link

extra pointExtra Point: Control the quality of your prints! If you outsource and they make low-quality prints, it’s going to be hard to make this a long-term income source. Instead, try to fulfill orders yourself, as it protects the quality of your prints.

Get started with my guide on small business website design

Sell Travel Photos to Shutterstock 

Another way you can learn how to make money as a travel photographer is by selling stock photos on Shutterstock or other stock image websites.

Shutterstock lets anyone contribute to earn commission for stock photos.
An easy way how to make money as a travel photographer is by uploading your travel photographs to Shutterstock. 

Use a tool like PhotoStick OMNI to search through your old travel pictures so you don’t have to spend hours sorting through hundreds of files. You can then upload these pictures to Shutterstock and earn money whenever someone licenses one.

How much does Shutterstock pay? Shutterstock pays contributors between 15% and 40% commission on all the images or videos customers license. 

The percentage you’ll earn depends on how many times customers license your content per year. This means that the more content you license out, the higher your earnings percentage will be. 

Let’s say 700 people buy your photos in your first year, and each photo license is worth $2. You get a 30% commission. That’s $420 in your pocket! Read this article for more ways on how to make 400 dollars fast.

Warning: You probably won’t get rich submitting your travel photos to Shutterstock. But it can be a good passive income stream. You upload once, and people can buy those same photos year after year.

Shutterstock earnings.
Shutterstock is an easy way how to make money as a travel photographer, because you can make up to 40% commission on stock images or videos. 
Source: Shutterstock3

Even if you’re just a travel photo hobbyist, with Shutterstock it can be one of the most fun hobbies to make money.

For even more ideas to make easy money, check out my article that answers, “What can I sell to make money?” 

Travel Influencer / Build a Social Media Following

Regularing posting on social media and engaging with an audience can open lots of doors when you’re learning how to make money as a travel photographer. 

If you can build a large enough following by posting travel photos and videos, you can make money through partnering with brands, paid advertisements, and sponsorships. 

For example, photographer Jeremy Austiin shares pictures and videos of his travels on his Instagram. He has almost a million followers and regularly works with luxury hotel brands like The Bodrum EDITION and Miavana in Madagascar.

Instagram profile of luxury travel photographer Jeremy Austiin.
Photographers and digital creators use social media platforms like Instagram to highlight their skills and build a broader fan base. 

If you’re thinking about taking this route, post pictures and videos that will catch people’s attention. This is a great way how to make money on Facebook, how to make money on Pinterest, Instagram, TikTok, and other social platforms. 

extra pointExtra Point: Connect your Instagram to Stan Store. Stan Store makes it easy for your followers to buy your prints and more. It also makes it easy for brands to contact you for collaborations.

As a travel photographer or influencer, consider yourself as an independent artist. Really. Photography is an art, and you should treat it like a blend of art and business. Here’s how to make money as an independent artist.

If you have a YouTube channel where you post travel guides and product reviews, you can share them on social media and get more people to engage with your content.

Once you have a couple thousand followers, reach out to a company whose product you use daily. For example, if you use a GoPro to record your travels, you could reach out to GoPro and find out if they are willing to sponsor or partner with you.

As you gain more followers, you can charge a bigger promotion fee.

Also, I recommend only promoting products that you actually use and enjoy. This builds trust between you and your audience. People are more likely to buy products from someone whose opinion they can rely on. 

Being a travel photographer is one of the best business ideas for women and men who love visiting new places.

Teach Photography Skills

If you have experience behind the lens and want to help aspiring photographers improve their skills, then consider teaching photography online!

The easiest way to teach photography online is to upload your instructional videos on a platform like Skillshare or Teachable.

These platforms will pay you to create and share content for students. 

What’s better, is that you’ll get to take advantage of Skillshare or Teachable’s existing audience. So, you won’t have to build an audience from scratch.

Teachable's online Travel Photography Academy.
Gary Arndt teaches students online how to take beautiful travel photographs. He uses Teachable

Skillshare pays instructors based on the minutes of content watched as well as monthly student engagement.

Teachable pays teachers for content purchased minus a transaction and/or monthly fee. 

So, if most of your content is instructional videos and people will spend time watching them, then Skillshare is a good fit. 

Now, if you want to create different types of content like digital downloads or courses and even offer 1-on-1 coaching, then Teachable is the platform to use. 

You can join major companies like The New York Times to sell courses on Teachable.

The New York Times' digital courses on Teachable.
Learn how to make money as a travel photographer by teaching your skills online like The New York Times does on Teachable in this course on creating brand videos. 
Source: Teachable4

As you can guess, teaching others your unique skills online is a lucrative way to earn money. Learn more in my post on how to make $10k a month

Start a YouTube Channel / Vlog

Another common way photographers are making money is by posting about their adventures on YouTube. 

You could review photography equipment like cameras, microphones, and audio editing software and use affiliate links to earn commission on your sales.

YouTuber Sean Dalton taking photos of his travels.
Sean Dalton is a successful travel photographer who uploads videos to YouTube. He earns money from ads and affiliate products he lists in the video description.

Or, you can share your travel videos on YouTube, show your audience what your destination was like, and talk about any travel tips you learned about. Learn how to effortlessly edit photos and videos with Picsart

This is another scenario in which a tool like PhotoStick can help. PhotoStick will search your computer for you, tracking down your favorite travel memories, so you don’t have to look through your entire camera roll for beautiful videos and photos.

If you find you really enjoy making YouTube travel videos, you can earn a lot of money. The average successful YouTube channel earns about $70,000 dollars per year5

Keep in mind that it usually takes time to build up to that level. But by consistently publishing your videos with your beautiful travel photos, you can make an unlimited amount of money by allowing YouTube to show ads on your channel, through memberships, and more.

Offer Destination Photoshoots

Just because you’re traveling doesn’t mean you can’t get clients in the country you’re visiting.

A quick way to bring in cash is by hanging out at popular expat locations such as hotels and hostels and finding out if anyone wants to get their picture taken around the city.

Personally, I’ve hired photographers who had profiles on Airbnb Experiences. They took amazing photos of me in the places I was visiting. They knew the best secret spots for incredible photos, and I was so happy with the results.

The money they make with destination photo shoots like mine helps fund their other photography ventures.

Pinterest ad for a travel photo shoot with Flytographer.
Pinterest is a terrific tool to get attention and build an audience at a low cost. 

Common Questions About How to Make Money as a Travel Photographer

Do Travel Photographers Make Good Money?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), travel photographers make $40,170 annually1

This is a good salary if you consider the limitless income opportunities on the side. You can also learn how to make money as a travel photographer through 

How Do I Become a Travel Photographer?

The most important part of becoming a travel photographer is learning how to take quality shots and building a portfolio. 

Then, you can apply for travel photography jobs or learn how to make money as a travel photographer by

Is Travel Photography a Good Career?

If you’re passionate about photography and you aren’t just doing it to make money, then travel photography can be an extremely rewarding career. You get to travel the world, take quality photos, and share your experiences with others. 

Plus, you can make money online or anywhere in the world by

Can You Make Money Selling Travel Photos?

It’s 100% possible to make money selling your travel photos as prints, posters, canvases, or framed photographs that people can hang on the walls of their homes or businesses. These frames often sell for over $200, so you can make a significant amount of money.

Make money selling travel photos by

  • Selling prints with Shopify
  • Selling prints on your website with Squarespace
  • Uploading travel photos to Shutterstock
  • Uploading travel photos to your Instagram and selling them with Stan Store

How Much Do Travel Photographers Make a Year?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that the average travel photographer makes $40,170 per year1. It’s a great lifestyle if you love what you do. There are also opportunities to make more money by selling prints or blogging as a side hustle.

Related:

Sources:

1 – https://www.bls.gov/ooh/media-and-communication/photographers.htm

2 – https://www.wheelercollective.com/collections/all

3 – https://submit.shutterstock.com/payouts?language=en

4 – https://teachable.com/examples/

5 – https://www.ziprecruiter.com/Salaries/Youtube-Channel-Salary

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About Scott Lieberman

Scott Lieberman is founder of Touchdown Money. Scott has been making money online for over 20 years. It's allowed him to travel the world while working remotely. Scott is an expert in online business, digital marketing, credit card reward programs, and content marketing strategies.

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