Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Making Travel Photography Pay

A lone suitcase lies on the ground of an airport in a concept stock photo about loss, risk and challenge particularly in regards to travel.
Airports offer great opportunities for producing concept stock photos.

A Strategy To Make Travel Photography Pay Off
Invariably the travel I undertake facilitates stock photography that not just pays for the trip, but generates considerable profit as well. The one caveat here is that it can take years to reach the level of revenue to qualify as profit, but that is true of most investments and something that I take into consideration when planning my travel. What I am going to share here is my strategy to utilize travel to generate stock photos that sell.

Travel and Concept Stock Photos
The key, for me, to making travel pay is to take more than just travel pictures, but also to create concept stock photos. Travel offers a great opportunity to open one self to new possibilities, especially photography possibilities. In a new and different environment, senses are awakened and one sees through fresh eyes. Seeing through fresh eyes is a potent enhancement to creativity.

Fresh Eyes, Intent, and Stock Photos That Sell
Seeing through fresh eyes unlocks creativity: Adding intent turns that creativity into action and results. For me, that intention is to find concept stock photos. That search for stock photos begins even before I get to the airport. On the Airporter, on my way to the airport, I have my camera in hand and am shooting out the window, down the aisle, through the windshield. On my last trip to the airport I sat in the “shotgun” seat and was shooting the oncoming traffic, blurry from the raindrops on the windshield of our bus. Did I get some great stock photos? Well, not in that particular case, but I think you get my point. Travel gives me the stimulation and the opportunity to get concept stock photos that sell.

Airports, Tarmac and A Concept Stock Photo
Airports are a goldmine for concept stock photography. In a recent trip to Thailand I shot through the glass of the passenger lounge at the tarmac below. The light was soft and warm, the surface textured with interlocking paving stones, and cropped just so, free of aircraft and vehicles, but still with the markings identifying it as an airport. I did not know how I would use that image, or even if I would use it, but into my archives it went. Last week I had a few moments to peruse my images from that trip and I when I saw that airport shot I paused. I loved it, but what could I do with it? Then it hit me. All I had to do was add a single suitcase and I had a concept stock shot about loss, risk, challenge and who knows how many other concepts…and an image that had plenty of room for cropping in various formats and the placement of headlines and copy. It may take some time, but that image is going to bring in some significant revenue.

Iconic Destination Shots, Detail Pictures and Tourists Enjoying Themselves
As I mentioned, shooting stock photos is an investment. Like any good investor I think it astute to diversify my portfolio (stock photos in this case). I try and shoot everything. From Tribal people in their daily life, to airliner travel I am always looking for a wide variety of travel imagery. Things to look for include  “iconic” destination shots, particularly ones that I can put my own twist to, detail and pattern shots, and especially these days, shots of tourists enjoying themselves in exotic locales.

Concept Stock Photos and A Profitable Travel
Travel photography is an investment, and like any investment, safety lies in diversity. By adding concept stock photos to the traditional travel shots the chances of creating a profitable photography trip are greatly enhanced.


Randall Romano said...

This is a geat idea. Too often our lives pass through some seemingly ordinary locations without a thought to how the ordinary events in life are what stock photography is all about. It helps to have a high quality point and shoot camera with you to capture such times.

ArenaCreative said...

Yeah... what Randy said. Because rocking a DSLR with large glass is only going to get you attacked by security, in this day and age of terrorism and paranoia.