How to Profit from Your Hometown through Photography

Last week was a lovely week in my frame shop. In addition to framing other people’s memories, several of my framed photographs sold. I’m always thrilled when someone purchases my art. Even better when they tell me they “like my work” - it makes me feel like putting on my beret. One customer purchased three pieces for a total sale of around $600. And nicely went on about my artistic abilities.

After she left I gave some thought to the pieces she had chosen. All of them were taken around five years ago, and they’ve all been selling steadily since then. Each one of the three was shot literally without planning to go out and take pictures. They were in my portfolio because I was driving and loved the light or the scene. Since I always have my gear in the car, it was a simple matter to pull over and take a few minutes to compose and shoot. In fact, one of them was the result of sliding into a snow bank and liking the scene so much I decided to get the camera out before I worried about getting the car out.

I’ve lived in New England for over 30 years and I’ve passed each one of these locations hundreds, if not thousands, of times. I’m not alone. Anyone who is in town for more than a week couldn’t help but see at least one of these spots, and most likely all of them. Granted the lighting is important and not every sighting would result in a great photo. But each one of these three was taken as a drive by. I have other shots I’ve planned to shoot and waited months and even a year for the right conditions, but more often than not, my success stories are based on actually taking a photo when I see something beautiful. And I’m always looking for beautiful.

I was with a friend the other day. We were planning on doing a little photography when it started to rain. She said, “I wonder where the rainbow will be?” If anything spells the right attitude for a photographer, that’s it.

Some lessons to pull from my experience:

1. Always keep your eyes open for photo opportunities.  You don’t have to plan the perfect shoot to get the perfect shot.  As I said, some of my best sellers are photos that I took on the spur of the moment, on the side of the road.

2. Be prepared, but don’t overthink it. If you can, take your camera with you wherever you go. And if you see something worth shooting, go for it. But don’t waste so much time setting up the shot that you miss it.

3. Get started at home. You don’t have to travel far and wide to get great photos.  You’d be surprised how lucrative selling photos of your hometown can be. Just as you might like a local photo to hang on your wall, your neighbor probably does, too.  And will pay you to take it.

4. The best way to learn the ins and outs of your camera is to use it regularly. The more practice you get with your instrument, the more prepared you’ll be to get the shot when the opportunity arises.

Tomorrow I’ll show you the three shots that have been selling well for me and we’ll talk more about what makes them saleable pieces.

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[Editor’s Note: Learn more about how you can turn your pictures into cash in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel.  Sign up here today and we’ll send you a new report, Selling Photos for Cash: A Quick-Start Guide, completely FREE.]