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How One Travel Photographer Earns His Living

Brendan Van Son is a 30-year-old travel photographer who has spent the past five years traveling the world on assignment. He is a master of the fine art of travel photography. He recently wrote a great post about what the life of a travel photographer is like. Of particular interest to those among us who try to make a living with our cameras is how Brendan goes about actually making money from his efforts. First, he keeps his costs way down. For instance, he doesn’t have a permanent residence, so he’s got no rent. The nomadic lifestyle is a great way to keep costs down, but it may not be practical for many budding travel photographers. But the lesson of cutting costs to the bone sure is pertinent for all of us. Brendan also employs what he calls the “octopus approach” to earning income: he tries to have at least eight different sources of income—including advertising revenue from his blog, editorial assignments and stock sales. What I think is most interesting about Brendan’s story is that it serves as both a cautionary tale and as inspiration. On one hand, it appears to be quite difficult to earn a living as a travel photographer in 2015. On the other, images are more in demand than ever, so someone like Brendan really can make a go as a globetrotting travel photographer. This is a great read for anyone considering professional photography as a source of income.

To find out more about creating memorable travel photography, no matter your subject, our guide to the Fine Art of Travel Photography will help you create memorable images, with tips on capturing different subjects, using tripods and flashes, shooting at night, creating environmental portraits and more.

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