How to make money from travel

Your retirement should be spent doing things you enjoy or have put off doing during your working years and, as is often the case, travel and hobbies typically are among the most popular pursuits.

Some retirees will try their hand at amateur photography. Considering today’s digital camera technology, with a steady hand, a good eye and a fair bit of practice, you could become a decent photographer.

Travel also often tops many a retirement to-do list, but it doesn’t come cheap. However, if you’re handy with a camera, there may be a way you can offset some of the cost …

If you fancy yourself a bit of a photographer and you love to travel, then why not combine the two and have a crack at making money from your travel pics?

You can become a contributor to a photo stock library, such as Shutterstock or iStock. These stock libraries accept all sorts of pics from people all over the world. And it’s not just travel pics they’re after: think food, shopping, people at play, landscapes, video and random posed and candid images. It’s really quite a simple process to become a contributor. Here’s how to do it.

Becoming a Shutterstock contributor
So, you’re keen to make some money from your photographs. Head to Shutterstock and open a contributor account. You’ll have to enter some basic details, then confirm your email address and identity. Shutterstock also asks you for photo identification so it can protect your copyright and intellectual property rights.

Now, you’re ready to start uploading your photographs and earning some money!

You can also try your luck and become a contributor to any of the following libraries:


Once you’re approved, you can expect to make, on average, around 15 per cent on the purchase price of the image. For example, if you set your sale price at $1 per image, you’ll make 15 cents, but, over time, you may sell 5000 licences for that image. Whereas, if you decided to sell your photograph at an art show in a gallery, you may make $150 off the sale, but you may only make one sale. By contrast, on a stock library, your image sits on the shelf forever and you never know when someone may want to pay to use it.

So, volume is the key. Set your price low and watch the cents turn into dollars.

Now, dig out that box of vintage holiday photographs, because anything vintage is hot right now. Find your favourite landscapes, landmarks and all your best travel pics and upload them. Pics of things people won’t find anywhere else will do well, as will one-off happy accidents and random people doing well, anything really. Just be aware of model releases and be wary of the rights of the people you photograph, as privacy issues may ensue.

The secret is not to make it look too ‘stocky’. Natural, every day, candid pics will be your point of difference and will put dollars into your account.

Now, you may not be able to quit the Age Pension, but it could turn out to be a handy little earner – one that could bolster your retirement income or help you save for your next holiday.

Would you be keen to try and sell your travel photographs? Do you know of any other ways you can make money from travelling? Why not share your suggestions with our members?

Related articles:
Travel photography tips
Taking better photos in low light
Take better iPhone photos

Written by Leon Della Bosca

Publisher of YourLifeChoices – Australia's most-trusted and longest-running retirement website. A trusted voice on Australia's retirement landscape, including retirement income and planning, government entitlements, lifestyle and news and information relevant to Australians over 50. Leon has worked in publishing for more than 25 years and is also a travel writer and editor, graphic designer and photographer.

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