Istanbul Photo Expedition: The View from the Rooftop

It’s 10 p.m. and you’re standing on a rooftop in the heart of old Istanbul.

In the cobbled streets below, a commotion of tourists and locals find their way from restaurants to streetcars to park benches. Colored lanterns glow in shops, while food carts roast corn on the cob and chestnuts.

Somewhere out there, a wavering voice echoes among drums and string, the rhythm quickening and slowing in a mesmerizing lullaby.

To your left and right are the ancient minarets of Aya Sophya and the Blue Mosque. They soar, delicate and golden on the night sky, the moon strung between them.

Behind you, Asia winks from across the Bosphorus.

Bonnie, here, coming to you from our hotel rooftop on the first day of our Istanbul Photo Expedition with editorial photographer Efrain Padro. Here’s my view of the Blue Mosque:

In the next few days, we’ll visit the Grand Bazaar and the Spice Market, the palace, and a nearby fishing village. We’ll ride a boat up the Bosphorus and sample lots of Turkish Delight. We’ll bargain and flirt with the salesmen on the street, and we’ll capture the whole thing with our cameras, so we can sell the photos when we get home.

Our instructor, Efrain Padro, makes his living this way -- traveling the world, taking photos of the things he thinks will sell, and then selling the photos to publications, sometimes with articles, and sometimes alone.

He told us today that, while it certainly helps to have great photos, the most important part of being successful at this is making it easy for your editor. If you deliver on time, you’re polite in your correspondence, and you follow the guidelines, then you’ll be way ahead of the majority of photographers trying to make it out there.

But right now, all I want to do is sit up here and soak it all in.

Tomorrow morning, we’ll all come up to the rooftop first thing to see if we can catch the mosques in that early morning golden sunlight. Then it’s off to the palace harem to capture the intricate, hand-painted tile and inlay work.

Stay tuned... I’ll share more photos and a few handy travel photo tips from Efrain tomorrow!

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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.]