This Photo Paid for Her Trip to Maine

Andrea Gingerich always dreamed that someone would pay her to travel the world taking photos. Today, that’s how she makes her living.

Occasionally, sales from a single photo in her portfolio will pay for her entire trip. Find out how she got to where she is now, and see some of the vacation-funding photos she’s taken, below…

-- Lori

Lori Allen
Director, Great Escape Publishing

October 2, 2010
The Right Way to Travel

By Andrea K. Gingerich in Portland, OR

At one point during my childhood, I had over 100 pen pals outside of the United States because I longed to visit other countries and experience their cultures.

After attending college, my career as a biologist took me to some interesting places around the world. I studied salamanders in South Carolina, sea turtles in Costa Rica, insects in Belize, and desert tortoises in the Mojave Desert.

It was during this time that I also began taking film photographs. Like many photographers, I dreamed that someone would pay me to travel around the world to document the beauty of our planet. Little did I know, that “someone” would be me.

I have been a contributing photographer to iStockphoto for over eight years. During that time, my iStock portfolio has grown to almost 6,000 images. While still expressing my interest in science through my photographs, I have also changed careers in search of my dreams to travel.

Most of the time, my adventures are tailored toward abandoned and strange places and locations with incredible biodiversity. When preparing for an adventure, I tend to extensively research my destination so that I know where to find those subjects of interest. I do not shoot traditional stock photography, so it is often a gamble if my photographs will sell or not. But the images that I capture are of my own personal interest and passion rather than financial goals.

I often bring my camera along if I’m going out for day-long adventures. I spent one day on a tour boat in Philadelphia with family. It was a clear day and the tour would lead us to some interesting sites, so I knew that was a prime opportunity to capture some unique shots of the Philadelphia skyline. I was right. This photo has paid for all of my family to take the boat tour, visit many sites around Philadelphia, and enjoy several great restaurant visits:

Andrea Gingerich

During a two-week adventure in Acadia National Park in Maine, I didn’t expect that I would gather any top-selling stock photos, but I wanted to photograph the beauty of the area for my own gratification. A year later, and I now have one photo that paid for the whole trip:

Whether at home or traveling, I often walk a lot. It provides me with opportunities to capture interesting subjects that would often go overlooked. I have a lot of photos of textures, but this one has provided my income with a little cushion:

I suggest carrying your camera along as often as you can because you never know when you might find a winner.

For the better part of the last year, I have been traveling and living off the royalties from my photos. By design, I’ve been living in temporary housing here and there while capturing a lot of photos in the regions that I visit.

The excitement of traveling this way has encouraged me to shoot more in the last year than I have for the last three years.

It has taken me a while to get to where I am… but here I am, finally living my dream. Do not become discouraged with the beginning processes of stock photography. They are essential in the learning curve of the market and will help you in the long run.

[Ed. Note: Andrea’s images have appeared throughout the world in publications such as Outdoor Photographer, Photoshop Creative, Photoshop User, Rolling Stone, and MacWorld. Other media outlets include the Tyra Banks show, Oprah’s website, movie posters, and packaging for various products.

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.]