How to Use Your Phone for Professional Travel Photography

We’re constantly sharing our travel stories and adventures—about the best food, hidden gems, and breathtaking views—to inspire you to go explore the world, too! Many of our blog followers and fellow wanderlusters indeed share the same dream of living the nomadic life we lead, hopping from city to city and immersing ourselves in exotic cultures, but they don’t know how to afford traveling abroad without income.

We’ve shared ways that you can make money while traveling in order to support your airfare, train tickets, hostel stays, museum tickets, restaurant tabs, and must-have buys. Strategies we’ve discussed range from travel blogging to subletting, becoming an au pair to opening an e-Commerce store. But one money-making method that deserves more attention is the ability to monetize your travel photos.

True, we believe life shouldn’t be lived behind the screen and that you should soak in your vacation destination with your eyes, not a lens. However, the power of social media influencing is well-worth discussing—especially if you’re looking to learn how to fund your foreign affairs. Plus, what if your photo inspires someone to go do the same? The money you can earn on top is just an added bonus.

Here’s how you can make money with professional photographer (even if you’re an amateur!) by simply using your phone—no heavy, expensive DSLR camera nor photo skills necessary!

Set Up Your Platform

As you begin to plan your first big trip, you need to start gaining followers. There’s paid-for account managers who can get you 1,000s of Instagram followers overnight, but if you want to go the authentic route, you should instead start immersing yourself in the travel blogging world.

Do this by following as many travel blogger accounts you can find, following them (and their fans!), networking, liking, commenting, sharing, etc. You’d be surprised by how many like-minded friends and follow-backs you can make in a short span of time!

Pack the Essentials

When you’re backpacking across Europe, the last thing you want is to lug around any extra weight or unnecessary add-ons. That said, there are a few pieces of traveling tech you’ll need in order to become a successful travel blogger:

  • A smartphone with a high-quality camera, such as the Google Pixel 3, iPhone XR, or Samsung S10 — 12 pixels is ideal.

    • Wide phone camera lenses and attachments that will take your pictures to the next level, making them appear to shot by a DSLR professional — this is key to attract attention on visual-based social media platforms such as Instragram, Tumblr, and Pinterest.

    • Cloudbased storage to prevent filling your phone’s internal memory and dealing with and photo printers — many of these are free, such as Google Drive.

    • A portable power bank to prevent your phone from dying mid adventure — you shouldn’t be glued to your phone when you’re out exploring new sights and city, but when inspiration strikes, your money-maker needs to be charged and ready to snap away!

    • A compact laptop or tablet to use for editing and communication with clients — there are several apps you can use to edit photos directly on your phone, but computers give you more functionality.

    • A Wifi hotspot that you can connect to when business calls — whether you’re posting content or transferring money in bank accounts, you’ll need an internet connection to do so.

Learn Tricks of the Trade

You don’t need to be a photography pro to take viral pictures, but you should definitely learn tricks of the trade. Here are a few photo hacks that your fans will love and share:

  • Always set the focus.
    • Adjust the exposure for perfect brightness.
    • Use HDR when lighting is even.
    • Activate burst mode for stunning action shots.
    • Shoot in portrait mode for gorgeously blurred backgrounds.
    • Keep to the rule of thirds when framing your subjects.
    • Explore different vantage points for more unique photos.

Once you start traveling and posting pictures (more money-making opportunities if you write about it on a blog, too!), you’ll get more followers. Once you become influential enough, companies will begin reaching out to you for paid-for placement ads. You can also sell your photos to stock companies. Who knows, one day you might even be selling your image rights to Nat Geo!

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