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Tips & Tricks

Tips On Leveraging Photography To Travel More | Frequent Flyer Anna Tenne

By Hanssie on January 28th 2016

Photographers all seem to have a little bit (or a lot) of wanderlust within us. Even as a homebody 80% of the time, I long to go to far off places, just me and my camera (and some good lip balm) to see the world. The problem is that many of us in the creative field are starving artists who may be tied down to day jobs that finance our adult responsibilities like rent and car payments, leaving little room for world adventures.

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For photographers that do travel the world, I often wonder, how? How are they able to travel all the time? Is there a secret? A trust fund? A sponsor? I spoke with Anna Tenne, an Australian photographer who travels the world frequently, going on adventures many of us only dream about. She shares with us her last adventure traveling through Southeast Asia with quadruple amputee Chris Koch and some tips on how to travel on the cheap using your photography skills to help offset some of the costs.

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Anna and Chris and their new friends

Anna and Chris in SouthEast Asia

Anna met Chris Koch at an inspirational talk Chris was giving at a school nearby. So how did these two strangers end up traveling halfway across the world together months later? Well, Anna simply asked Chris if he’d want to go with her. Traveling with a limbless man who got around on a skateboard for six weeks from Thailand to Cambodia and ending in Nepal, wasn’t as difficult as Anna imagined (you can read her full account here). The pair visited schools, worked with organizations to bring awareness to various causes, as well as delivered food to locals.

This trip for Anna was a labor of love. She didn’t make any money from the trip, get paid, or was sponsored to go. So, how was Anna able to travel for six weeks and photograph her adventures as she went? And furthermore, how does Anna afford to travel all the time?

Besides saving everything she can from her wedding and portrait business, Anna tells me, she has taken advantage of various work for trade/work for travel organizations available. Below she recommends a few she’s tried and researched.

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Work Exchange Programs

Though these work exchange programs aren’t photography-centric, you can always ask and see if they need the skills of a photographer. In a nutshell, you exchange labor or do volunteer work for a place to stay. The following are ones Anna has used before. She also mentions that each country will have their own volunteer programs. Do some research on the countries on your bucket list.

Anna also has used and recommends Couch Surfing, where people open up their homes for you to stay at no cost.

Researching NGO’s, non-profits in your area and worldwide and offering your photography services are also options. One of our writers, Tanya traveled to Jamaica last year with a non-profit and shares her experience here. I’ve also worked with a non-profit and traveled to Ethiopia working as their staff photographer.

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Selling Your Work

1. Leverage Your Social Media Following: We’ve featured the work of Australia’s “Professional Instagrammer” Lauren Bath in this article (these Aussies sure know how to do life right!) Lauren amassed a large following on Instagram and companies hire her to travel and share photos on her Instagram account.

2. Client Sales: You could also sell your images of your travels to companies, agencies or magazines. Some will hire you on retainer and ask for X number of images a month.

3. Monetize Your Blog/YouTube: If some 13-year-old kid can make hundreds of thousands of dollars playing video games on YouTube, you can figure out some sort of niche to get paid blogging or YouTubing while you travel.

4. Sponsorships: This goes hand in hand with your social media presence, though it’s not exclusive. The Eat, Pray, Love author paid for her around the world soul-searching trip through a book advance. Luckily, the book became a bestseller – for her and the publisher. Do your research and don’t be afraid to pitch an idea, you never know what might happen.

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5. Stock Photography: Read some of our articles on stock photography and how to get started here.

6. Teaching Workshops: If you are so inclined, maybe hosting a few workshops a year in exotic places is an option. People are willing to pay money for knowledge and if you make it into an adventure, even better.

7. Teaching English:

This isn’t using your photography to make money per se, but I have a friend who has been traveling the world for the last three years, teaching English in different countries for months at a time. On the side, he photographs the places he’s been and sells his work using a variety of the aforementioned ideas.

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If you’re a wanderlust, and you’re itching to travel, make it happen (and then send us pictures!) Many have done it, so why not you?

You might be interested in learning more about Elia Locardi, who is 100% location independent. He recently released a few tutorials, which we reviewed: TRAVEL & LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY| FSTOPPERS & ELIA LOCARDI PHOTOGRAPH THE WORLD and LEARN CITYSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY, ASTROPHOTOGRAPHY, AND MORE | ELIA LOCARDI & FSTOPPERS.

To see more of Anna Tenne’s work and follow her travels, check out her website, Facebook, and Instagram.

CREDITS: Photographs by Anna Tenne are copyrighted and have been used with permission for SLR Lounge. Do not copy, modify or re-post this article or images without express permission from SLR Lounge and the artist.

About

Hanssie is a Southern California-based writer and sometimes portrait and wedding photographer. In her free time, she homeschools, works out, rescues dogs and works in marketing for SLR Lounge. She also blogs about her adventures and about fitness when she’s not sick of writing so much. Check out her work and her blog at www.hanssie.com. Follow her on Instagram

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Megan Allen

    Love this! I’ve always adhered to the thought of, “If you don’t ask, it’s a no, no matter what.” Can’t hurt to ask and go for it! I love the tips in this article!

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  2. Tanya Goodall Smith

    If I didn’t have “adult responsibilities” I would be a full time traveler. I love seeing the world. Coming home is nice too, though. These are great tips.

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    • Hanssie

      I’d be 50/50. Some days I’d love to just see the world from my couch :)

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    • Alex Petrenko

      The only question bothers me in this idea – where to put a child so your wife is not complaining? :)

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  3. Andy & Amii Kauth

    We love this article … A lot of this can be applied to photography in general as well … Many photographers don’t pursue or don’t ask so they don’t “receive.” Asking has gotten us distributor-type discounts on gear/products and has gotten us features in magazines as well as on preferred photographer lists with venues. 1, 3, and 4 are important points/lessons.

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    • Hanssie

      I agree! This can be applied to any business, really. How much do you want your dream? Enough to put fear aside and just go for it – be it photography or anything in life :)

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  4. Joseph Prusa

    Thanks for posting , Great article!

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