Stock Photo Tip: Stuck at the airport? Make it count…


Waiting is an inevitable part of travel, especially during the Holidays, but Snap & Sell Photo Club member Rosanne Tackaberry has figured out a way to make idle time fun (and profitable)… by taking stock photos while she waits!

All it takes is a little change in mindset, and you’ll start seeing travel annoyances as stock photo gold.

Read her story below and airport delays, slow lines, and long layovers will never be the same again.

Here’s to making a buck off of your holiday travels.

Travel Downtime as A Stock Photo Opportunity
By Stock Photographer, Rosanne Tackaberry

Winging my way to the last Ultimate Travel Writer’s Workshop in Boston, I ate lunch in the Toronto airport during a stopover. While waiting for my food, I took my camera out for a moment to shoot my iPhone charging in the café. That photo (pictured below) later sold for more than enough to pay for my meal, and was used as part of a humor piece in The New Yorker.

Waiting is an unavoidable part of travel. I’ve learned to use in-between moments such as transit time in airports to take stock photos that pay for breakfast, and sometimes lunch or dinner, too. It is incredibly easy.

Here are my tips for making a few extra dollars from stock photography in the moments between the main events.

  1. Keep a camera handy. My best practice is to keep a camera where it is easily accessible. I’m consistent about where I leave my settings, too, so I can point and shoot, or make adjustments quickly. If my camera is packed away, I will be less inclined to take advantage of passing opportunities.
  2. Make it say “travel.” With millions of people around the world traveling every day, there is a need for stock photos relating to travel concepts, as well as destinations. I took a simple but colorful shot of a man’s hand pumping gas at a service station while on a road trip. It later sold for an article about saving money on gas.

  3. Be observant. When I’m waiting for a flight, I usually take a walk around the airport to stretch my legs before squeezing into a tiny airplane seat for hours. The walk doubles as reconnaissance for stock photo opportunities. I keep my eyes open for subjects that are interesting, funny or that illustrate travel concepts – anything from a moose in a Canadian Mountie uniform to a bilingual sign.
  4. Turn lemons into lemonade. In the case of stock photography, this means turning those dreaded travel delays into dollars. Weather delay? An image of de-icing fluid being sprayed on a plane at the Calgary airport on a miserable winter day sold and gave me a little extra cash for my next trip south to warmer weather. Is airport construction slowing things down? I see another photo op.
  5. What makes you smile? When you see something that makes you smile, chances are it will have the same effect on others. I shot two images of cute washroom signs at a South American zoo while waiting in line, just because they brought a smile to my face. Both were later licensed for editorial use by a travel magazine.

I’m careful to obey airport rules and to avoid intruding on the privacy of other passengers or employees while I’m taking stock photos. Other than that, the sky’s the limit!

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