Get paid to travel: Stock image photographers can see the world for free
Many people would love to travel the world but are put off by the sheer expense. But what if your job meant you got paid to visit the countries you’ve always dreamed of going to?
Such a profession does exist, as insane as it may seem – a stock image photographer.
While the words “stock image” may conjure up visions of bland office scenes or couples in gales of fake laughter, in reality stock images are as varied as the world itself.
Uploaded online to sites such as Shutterstock, the pictures are purchased by companies and journalists to use in advertising campaigns and editorial articles – and the photographers can earn enough to live on from their work.
If you like to take photos and travel it’s the perfect job
One such photographer is Jane Rix, who travels the world taking pictures to sell on stock image sites. In the last few years she’s been on safari in South Africa, visited the temples of Japan and been whale watching in Canada – all in the name of getting the perfect shot.
“Two to three times a year I plan a getaway of a few weeks,” she told Express.co.uk. “Demand is for fairly iconic places – the Grand Canyon, Eiffel Tower, Ayers Rock. All those places we know and love.
“There’s also call for scenes of everyday life in different places – the street markets, the local customs and cultures.”
Although the idea of travelling to exotic places and taking pictures might sound like a dream job, Jane emphasises that the trips aren’t like going on holiday – far from it.
Get paid to travel: Photographers can explore the world and make their money back
She said: “It’s hard, hard work – you might have to get up at 4am every morning to catch the best light; you might have to carry heavy camera equipment in hot weather or rain or snow.
“It can be exhausting. It’s not as glamorous as it might sound.”
Some of the biggest challenges are around weather and other tourists. “On one trip I travelled across Japan to Mount Fuji,” said Jane. “I planned to stay there for four days and get some amazing shots – but it was cloudy the whole time. I never even saw Mount Fuji!
“I wanted to take pictures of the beautiful temples too, but they were so crowded it was impossible.
Get paid to travel: Photos of famous landmarks or local life and culture sell well
“You’ve got to be creative sometimes to get the shot. It isn’t always as easy as you think it will be – you have to be adaptable.”
Jane also emphasises it’s not a get-rich-quick scheme: “You have to speculate to accumulate with stock images. I’m lucky, all my trips have paid for themselves – eventually – but it can take a while.
“When I pay for my travels it might be several years before I see a profit. I’m only just now making back the money from trips in 2013, 2014 and 2015. You have to put your money where your mouth is.”
That said, Jane wouldn’t have it any other way.
“There’s nothing I’d rather be doing,” she said. “If you like to take photos and travel it’s the perfect job – but it isn’t the way to get rich.”