Just How Much Money Do I Make As A Traveling Photographer?

I get asked this question a lot, “Beth, just how much money do you make as a traveling photographer?”


Well I promise to answer that question fully in a moment.


But first, you need to know that when it comes to being a professional photographer, there is much more to it than taking pictures.


You might just think you can get paid thousands and travel the world just for pointing and shooting a stupid camera at a few people or some landscapes. However:

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Event Photography Paid For My Trip Around Italy

Getting started as a professional photographer is a difficult proposition and one that I wrestled with for some time – do you go it alone, or do you join a studio and have security?


Do you open your own studio, or do you just travel around doing shoots here and there?


To open your own studio, you not only need to invest in all of the photography equipment and backdrops needed to take the photos, but you also have to lease a space to do business in, and lay out money for all of the marketing and promotion which will be necessary if you want people walking through your studio door.

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Tips for Taking Photos of Real Estate

Hi, Beth here! I was recently hired by a few UK estate agents to take some photos of some real estate up in London. The pictures were meant for listings as well as their website, which will showcase all of the different properties that they have available.

Photography Tips For Shooting a Home


It was a very rewarding experience for me and it certainly allowed me to stretch my creative muscles and really help me pad my resume and portfolio. Real estate photography is quite simple, but at the same time, it can be something that is complicated and otherwise difficult.

So, for people like me who are interested in pursuing real estate photography, here are some tips and tricks for taking the best possible photographs.

tripodUse a tripod at all times
Though you may be tempted to take photos freehand, it is way better to use a tripod at all times. Remember, you are not taking any dynamic shots – a room should not be moving in the first place. Find a tripod and make sure that you position it in strategic locations to get the best angle of the room.

You may want to have differently sized tripods available in case some places are a bit tight for a large one. A table top tripod does wonders, and makes your shot look just as steady.

real estate homes

Use natural light and turn on all the lights
Natural light is usually the best for photography, but sometimes it simply isn’t feasible or just not enough. You should turn on all the lights in the house and adjust your camera settings. Your shot should be well lighted and truly showcase the whole place.

You want to make use of the indoor lighting to really illuminate the place and get the best out of your shot. Even if you have ample natural light available, turning the lights on will also look better in your shot.


Shoot straight on
You should always shoot straight on and avoid strange angles when taking a picture. People want to see the room as it is, so shooting from eye level is a good angle. You can also go lower and work with waist level, so that you get a good view of the room.

Avoid very low angles, and only do high angles if you want to show off the floor plan of the place. You do not need to be too creative when it comes to this kind of work.

living room furniture

Feel free to move furniture around
Often times, some places are too tight and difficult to manoeuvre with a camera. You will often find yourself against a wall or right outside to get the shot that you want.

Some photographers are tempted to use a wide angle lens to fit everything in, but this will only warp the space, which is not needed in real estate photography. Instead, just move furniture around a bit to get the shot that you need.

How Taking Small Photography Gigs Can Help You Fund an Equipment Upgrade

A few weeks ago I had a lens break down on me and just give right up. And that’s not something that I could afford to lose because it’s something that I used a lot.

And I mean a lot. It was the lens that was almost always attached to my camera. It was very upsetting to lose it, but it happens, and so I had to find a way to make enough money so that I could replace it.

Fortunately, Wakefield Metro Rod contacted me to see if I could shoot their staff headshots for their website. It wasn’t a huge job, in fact it only paid a few hundred but I didn’t mind it.


A lot of people think that because they’re a particular kind of photographer, they can’t and shouldn’t take any other photography jobs.

But the simple truth is that you have to stay humble. And you have to keep taking those small little gigs when you still need them. When do you need them? When you need to make contacts.

When you need to improve your portfolio. When you need some cash so you can upgrade or replace some equipment that is on the end of its lifespan.

Some people don’t like taking small gigs but I don’t see any problem with it. Why? Well…here’s why.

There is Nothing Wrong with Taking Smaller Gigs
smallDespite what some people may think, there really is nothing at all that is wrong with taking smaller gigs.

Sometimes you need to just to get by, sometimes you need to just because you need the extra cash–whether it’s for an upgrade of your equipment or replacement for it…or if you just need a little extra cash in your pocket.

Using Your Skill to Earn Money That Can Help Further Fund Your Endeavors is Great
moneyAnd you know what’s really fulfilling? Using your passion to fuel and fund your endeavors–which is usually furthering your passion. I love it, supporting myself with my passion (which of course is photography).

There is just nothing better than that. It feels great knowing that I can manage to make money from what I like doing, which not a lot of people can actually say they can do.

It’s Also Great Practice, Which You Need
If you are just starting your photography career, chances are you will need practice. I mean I personally try to get in as much practice as I can, even though I haven’t been a beginner in a while.

But you know what they say, right? The difference between a beginner and an expert is 10,000 hours. I really would not say that I’m anywhere near an expert… Not at all. But I’m slowly getting there.

And more practice helps me to get there sooner. And well, it helps me to improve my skills too. And one great way to get practice while still making money is… taking small photography gigs.

For more ideas on how to practice your picture taking skills, you might want to refer to this video:


Playground Photo Shoot Tips for Beginners

I recently had to take some pictures for a playground supplier brochure. They wanted me to take both formal photographs of their play sets as well as artistic, informal shots that they can use for further advertisements. Since they were paying me per shot, I knew that I had to make it perfect for them. After all, professional quality photographs need to be well planned out and perfectly executed.

To get professional quality pictures, you need to plan a photo shoot. Planning a shoot can be rather daunting for the beginner, but if you work hard and plan things out, it will be easy-peasy. Here are some tips to help you with your photo shoot at a playground if you are a beginner.

Choose great weather
Playgrounds are meant to be outdoors because they were designed to be used outside in the sun and is meant to handle all sorts of weather conditions.

Since playgrounds are used during good, sunny days, you have to make sure that your playground photo shoot is the same – it is impossible to take good pictures of a playground if the weather is not right.

children playing under the sunMy suggestion is that you check the weather conditions and schedule everything on a nice, sunny day. It is pretty much the only way to make sure that your photos turn out right, because an overcast day will always show in your photos no matter how much photoshopping you do.

It is the same reason why fashion models have to wear make up even if you can alter it in photoshop – your base should look as good as possible, otherwise your pictures will not turn out right.

Take photos early morning or mid-afternoon
Now that we have the weather out of the way, we will want to start talking about the best time to take great photos for a playground brochure.

Noon is often too bright and leaves harsh shadows on everything else. You may want to off-set the harshness with some shade, or try to diffuse the light a bit. If that is not possible, try taking a photo early morning or mid-afternoon, but before the golden hour sets in. You will want a bright light, but from a softer angle.

Here is an amazing playground photo shoot I found in youtube:

Use a lot of perspective
You should try to use a lot of perspective for more artistic playground shots. While regular brochure images just have to show the entire playground from a good angle, artistic photos will have more leeway.

Try to frame the playground using one of the pieces of equipment – for example, frame the slide using the monkey bars, and so on and so forth.

cute little girl swinging

Get some great action shots with children
For my photo shoot, we decided that we wanted some action shots with children playing at the playground.

The model was the owner’s daughter and son, whom we dressed up in new play clothes and let loose on the playground. As much as possible, I minimised the art direction because I wanted to take natural, candid photographs.

Tips for Brochure Photography

Pilates PhysioI was recently approached by by a client who wanted me to take photos for a brochure for a sports physio in Leeds. They are a very well respected physiotherapy clinic and needed new photographs to help them create a better brochure.

It was not my first time taking photographs for a brochure, so I decided to meet up with them to discuss what they wanted for their physiotherapy brochure. Their clinic is located in Leeds and they wanted me to showcase their facilities and their grounds. They had a very good gym and an outdoor facility, as well as numerous massage and acupuncture therapy rooms.

Here are some of my tips for taking brochure photography:

Talk with your client about what they want
The physiotherapy clinic in Leeds wanted me to take photos of their facilities. They originally planned to use stock photos, but after realising that clients would rather see images of their actual facilities, they decided to hire me.

Pilates Session

I spent a long time asking what they want for their brochure and asked how many images they would need. After figuring out exactly what they wanted, I started preparing for the photo shoot that we scheduled for the following day.

Get someone to model for you
Originally, my client thought that it would be okay to just take pictures of the facilities while their patients are there. However, I told them that it would not be appropriate to use images taken of actual patients at their facilities, because they might see it as an invasion of privacy.

Eventually, we decided to hire a model for the shoot who will stand in as our patient. The physiotherapists were willing to let themselves be photographed. I phoned one of the freelance models that I knew personally, who I knew would be perfect for the job.

Her rates were very affordable so my client did not mind paying a little extra for her work. We dressed her up as a patient and had her interact with the physiotherapists while taking of the facilities.

Get the right lighting
Photography LightingAs much as possible, I like taking photos in natural light. It is simply the most flattering and looks great. Processing is usually very minimal in natural light and it is much easier to just take photos with the windows or curtains open.

However, some of the facilities were only lit by white LED lights, which is normal lighting inside a medical facility. I had to bring in some of my own lights and some diffusers to light up the room and balance out the warmth.

LED and fluorescents lamps tend to wash out an image and make it look too cool. It is one of the most unflattering lights available, so I needed additional lights to diffuse the harshness of the lights.

Photography Lighting Tutorial

Work in at least 300dpi for good printing
Since it is a brochure, the images I sent to my clients were not as big as the files I send to my large format print clients. I just made sure that the resolution was above 300 dpi so that printing is clean and clear. My physiotherapist client thanked me for my work. Another job well done!

Tips for Photojournalism Beginners

Photojournalism is a tough art that is filled with complexities. Photojournalism is something that we see regularly – on newspapers, magazines, and even our news feeds.

With cameras being available on all devices, photojournalism is quickly becoming a cultural phenomenon, with people uploading their videos and going viral online. People need to see news, and the one of the ways to share news is to share it through a picture.

While I specialize in architectural photography, I have a little bit of experience as a photojournalist for a small news website. If anyone wants to enter photojournalism and try their hand at making it into a career, here are some tips for beginners.

These tips also work well for concerned citizens who just want to try their hand at photojournalism. After all, citizen or street journalism nowadays is just as relevant as professional media coverage, especially if freedom of speech is on the line.

Be vigilant

keep-calm-and-be-vigilant-13As a photo journalist, you need to be ever vigilant and keep your eye out for items of interest. While you will want to have your DSLR with you at all times, we all know that it is not always possible, considering the bulk of such cameras.

That is why I always keep a small point-and-click camera inside my purse – it shoots higher quality images than most kinds of cellphone cameras and will do in a pinch.

For example, I once witnessed someone who crashed into the car park barrier at a local park. Since I did not have my DSLR, I snapped some photos using my point-and-click camera before I ran off to help the man in the car.

It turns out that the man was drunk, but instead of checking what damage he caused to the car park barrier, he just backed off and drove away before I was able to run towards him.

I submitted the photo to a local newspaper, and the police were able to catch the man. He was charged with drunk driving and property damage for destroying the car park barrier.

In fact, it was thanks to my car park barrier crash photo that I landed a photojournalism job at that news site.

Take dynamic action shots

I once had to cover a story that will highlight a new business in our neighborhood – it was a video and board game café that was built on top of an old arcade.

I took a lot of photos of people playing games, both digital and analogue. I did not realize that board games were still popular among some people.


Our art director told me that I should have gone for more dynamic shots because he said pictures of people playing games were boring. I was confused, because they were just sitting there!

He then showed me the photos of my senior photographer of the same event – he took photos of people cheering as they win a game, of shots that framed the intense concentration of players as they shoot monsters on screen. It was much more interesting and dynamic than my boring shots.

Never edit photos beyond enhancing the color

crashbarriers3-CarCrashTest-EpidPhotojournalism is about realism. When I submitted my car park barrier crash photo, the newspaper asked for my permission to post it.

I originally gave them an edited photo that removed some debris from the foreground because I felt that they detracted from the composition, but they asked that I send them the raw images instead.

They enhanced the image a little but kept everything in place. I realized that when it comes to photojournalism, it is not about artistic license, but about realism. It was very different from the photos I took for photography class.

Turning A Bad Situation Into Something Good

So the other day I had a photo gig. It was for an estate agent who had booked my services, for me to take photographs of some houses that she wanted so she could put them on post cards and leaflets and send them out for her open houses.

I was all geared up and good to go and I even drove all the way to the first house only to find out that the estate agent canceled at the last minute. It’s not so bad as I do get to keep the 50% deposit, but still… I wanted to finish the job.

iPad on a Coffee TableLuckily as I was there in the house, the specialist kitchen designers who worked on the kitchen were also there. And they asked to see some of my work. Luckily I had brought my iPad!

Once I showed it to them and they had a proper look, they decided that they wanted me to visit their showroom and take updated photos that they could put in their marketing material. I got to see some really lovely kitchen there!

So that was me getting lucky and getting my bad situation turned into something good. But of course, that also did involve a bit of sheer luck.

So if you want to turn your bad situation into something good…here are some tips from me to you. Hopefully they will help. :)

Always Have Your Portfolio Handy
Portfolio SampleOne thing I learned is that no matter where I am, no matter what I do, it is important for me to always have a portfolio that I can show to people if they ask. Or even if they don’t ask.

I can’t tell you how many bookings I’ve gotten from meeting someone, showing my portfolio (they often ask, because they need a photographer for one reason or another), and letting them know I’m available for the job. So make sure your portfolio is ready. Don’t just throw it all together either – you need it to impress potential clients!

Don’t Be Shy – Introduce Yourself
When something like that happens where clients cancel last minute and you’re already there at the venue…don’t be shy. Introduce yourself. You might as well gain a new contacts and a few potential clients out of what has happened to you.

Steps To Easily Introduce Yourself

You always need a few new contacts – you never know when one contact can give you a really big break.

Have Business Cards
Business Card ConceptAlso don’t forget that you should always have business cards! When you are introducing yourself to somebody, it is best to have business cards to give out. You end up looking much more professional this way.

Plus there is also the fact that it allows them to keep your contact details too, so that they can find it and call you when they finally do have work for you to do, or when a company needs your services.

So there you go…those are my tips. Let me know if you manage to turn your situation around!

What I Almost Did Instead of Becoming a Photographer

When I was first looking into becoming a photographer some eight or nine years ago, I didn’t really imagine myself becoming this successful. I guess that’s why way back then there were still quite a lot of things I was considering becoming and doing.

Photography isn’t one of those career paths where you were guaranteed success… okay, truth be told really not a lot of career paths have any form of guarantee of success, but the world of photography is harder to find success in.


Any photographer will tell you this. It takes a lot to make it.

So before I finally decided to truly become a photographer, I had other career options in mind. One of the biggest options I was really considering at that time was to go to university to get a degree in business.

But then it was a bit too expensive when I really thought about it (uni is expensive, let’s all admit this fact! Not everyone can afford it!), so instead I started thinking about training in business communication instead so that I could still get work in the field, although with no degree I was likely to get a lower ranking job.

Anyway, let’s talk about why I thought I might go into business…

Following Family’s Footsteps
My father is a businessman and had always been. And he always did inspire me as a child, to grow up and be just like him. I did go with him once in a while to the office on take your child to work days, and I always enjoyed watching him do what he did.


He walked around with such confidence, and he was such a go-getter that it inspired me to become the same. This is why I thought I might do the training, at least in business communication, because I know that doing that would lead to me being able to be confident like him.

Actually I would have been happy to be even just a fraction as confident as him.

Wanting to Fulfill Expectations
My father had certain expectations of me. He didn’t exactly want me to be just like him and become a businesswoman, no, but he did have higher expectations from me.

He wanted me to have a university education and a true career path, one in which I could advance and climb a ladder, but I was younger and more impressionable then. I wanted to be like him, to impress him. So I thought I might go into business too.


But in the end… I just could not deny my passion! I’ve loved photography ever since I got my hands on a camera, and I have loved it since then. I’m really glad that I have pursued my passion and do what I do now.

I’m glad I followed my heart and decided to find my own way in photography instead of trying to make my mark in the world of business…something tells me I just wouldn’t be all that happy in that field after all!

So ladies and gents… don’t be afraid to follow your passions! :)

Golf Photography Abroad

I have written before that my photography gigs have paid for my trips abroad. As a travelling photographer, I get to visit some pretty exciting locales that I have never been to before. I always receive some pretty great offers from all sorts of people around the world.

Golf Ball in GrassOne of the more interesting offers I have received was from someone who is a specialist in golf holidays to France. She was someone that I have met during my past visits to France, and made my trip very worthwhile. After becoming good friends, we had to part ways as I returned home to Britain.

Fast forward a couple years and she has finally e-mailed me, asking if I would be interested in a gig in France. She said that they were having a very important golf event and they wanted me to take the photos. I was flattered that she would ask me to do it, because I lived so far away, but she insisted that I was the right photographer.

I packed up my gear and booked a flight to France, and she gave me free lodging at their hotel near the golf course.

Now, when taking photos of a golfing event, there are a few things that you will have to keep in mind. Golf is a very serious sport and you are not allowed to do a number of things to prevent distracting the golfer. Remember, distracting a photographer during an important swing will have you sent off the green.

Bring more than one type of lens
Photography LensesFor a golfing event, you may need to bring a minimum of two lenses: one wide angle lens and one zoom lens. You will need the wide angle lens to take pictures of the hills and spectators, which looks great if you juxtapose the golfer against the shot.

Next, the telephoto lens will be used for close up shots so that you can zoom in and focus on the details of the golfer’s face. I like taking photos while they are putting, as they always have serious, intensely focused expressions when they do.

Avoid flash at all costs
FlashEven during an overcast day, you should avoid using flash at all costs. Event photography for golf is all about being inconspicuous, so respect the golfer by avoiding the use of flash.

Flash is fine for other sports such as rugby and football, but flash during a golfing tournament is a big no-no.

Freeze all of the action
Did you know that a golfer’s swing averages at 120mph? That is incredibly fast and your camera will not be able to capture all of the action unless you freeze it. Use a high shutter speed and focus. Remember that as the event photographer, you will be expected to take shots of the most crucial moments of the game – the swing.

Use bokeh
Like all event photography, the background can have too much going on. To avoid this, use bokeh, which is a photography term for the blurring in the backgrounds and foregrounds of your subject.

Bokeh Photography Tutorial

My event photography gig in France was a success. It did not feel like I was working at all, and felt more like a glamorous French holiday.

Are You a Budding Photographer? Here’s How to Get Your Start

If you are just starting out as a photographer or if you have recently figured out that you have found your passion in it…well, let me be the first to tell you congratulations!

PhotographerI remember what a rush it was when I first started taking photos… I absolutely loved it! I started with an older digital camera and I tried to explore everything that it could do. I pushed it to its limits.

And then when I was too limited by its limitations as a device, I decided that I would get a job, save up my money, and buy a new camera.

It took me a while to save up enough money to buy my first DSLR, but I never looked back since. These days what I save up for now are lenses…though I know there will come a time that I will need to upgrade my camera too. But that time has yet to come.

So now that you are a budding photographer… how can you get started on your way to pro photographer status?

1. Save Up and Invest in Your First Camera

One thing that you can do to jump start your new passion is to save up and invest in your first camera! It’ll be your most worthwhile purchase after all.

Without a decent camera you will have difficult time getting the results that you want. This is not good because you’ll just get frustrated with the results you need to achieve.

It can take you a while to get the camera you want, but I promise you that it will be worth it. It was worth it for me!


2. Join as Many Groups as You Can

As a photographer just starting out, you will likely need a lot of feedback. You’ll probably want tips too, and some advice, especially on the more technical things.

The same goes for the creativity aspect. You will want to join as many groups as you can… forums, local after school clubs, photography groups on Facebook… whatever it is, get all the possible support that you can.

Trust me, you will thank yourself for it in the long run.


3. Take as Many Pictures as You Can

If you want to learn to take photographs, you can’t do it without actually taking photographs.

So it’s best that you go out and take as many pictures as you can—landscapes, portraits, abstract, no matter what it is… Take a photo!

Volunteer to document any event that you are attending! You will need some pictures after all to share with your clubs and groups so that you can get some critique.

4. Learn to Take Critique

And since we are talking about critique… you must learn how to take constructive criticism. This is the only way that you will grow as a photographer.



I’ve heard many tough words in the past but I took those words of advice and learned from them.


Not all critique will be constructive, however, so learn to brush off bad critique! Oh and of course..learn to tell the difference between the two!

Photographing Still Life


I once had a friend who wanted me to take pictures of her tableware gifts made from Welsh slate. Photographing the Welsh slate was quite a pleasure and gave me a chance to practice my still life composition, which is something that I admit I am not too familiar with.


While I originally thought that it would be a relatively simple project, creating appealing photographs of the Welsh slate tableware proved to be challenging. I took the whole afternoon, trying out different settings, angles, and lighting, until finally, I was able to put together some beautiful still life portraits.


My friend then helped me pick out the best photos from that batch, and I touched them up to improve the colour and the lighting a bit. It has proven to be an incredibly fun project. Based on what I have learned while photographing the slate gifts as still life, I have decided to put together a short list of tips to help you.


Use a tripod


Still life photography is not dynamic. It is still, silent, and relaxing. While some photographers can make due by holding the camera themselves, the truth is that you can get much better photographs by using a tripod instead. Tripods allow you to adjust and take photos without even the tiniest bit of movement.


Composition is everything


Composition is the key to still life photography and can make or break your entire photograph. Still life photographers are expected to create a photo rather than to simply take a picture of it. You must therefore know how to arrange each and every element into the shot so that it works.


Here’s a few pointers on how to take a still life photography:


When I had to arrange the slate tableware, I first decided to use the existing backdrop of the table that it was sitting on. However, I came to realize that the tablecloth takes away from my composition, making it too overwhelming.


I went for a light box instead, which gave me a clear shot and allowed me to focus my camera on the slate.


Know how to contrast colour and texture


To add a bit of contrast to the rough, grey, Welsh slate, I decided to add a rose into the shot to make it interesting. The Welsh slate tableware is a dark grey, almost black in colour, and had a rough, hard texture.


To contrast the cool hardness of the platters and table mats, I added a contrasting object. The rose is soft, feminine, and had bright colours that truly made the individual aspects of the slate pop. I arranged it in such a way that both objects display their finest features in the photograph.


Still life photography truly gives a photographer all of the control. I can see why it is more difficult than other types of photography, and I have a lot of respect for those’ that do this regularly. I hope that my mini tutorial has helped, even if I am fairly new to the genre. ‘Til next time!