Matthew Williams-Ellis/Getty Images

Even an amateur can do it, with a little bit of patience.

Stacey Leasca
May 03, 2017

Traveling provides us all with a sense of wonder and excitement as we're able to tune out our regular lives for a few days and experience something new. However, all that comes at a cost. Between flights, hotels, tours, dinners, and more, vacation spending can really add up. As Forbes reported, the average vacation expense per person in the United States is $1,145, or $4,580 for a family of four.

But there is a super simple way to make up all that vacation cash. All you have to do is snap a few photos.

“In 2012 I uploaded around 300 of my best photos to five microstock sites. It was a tedious process of keywording, uploading, categorizing, and submitting but I was able to get them all uploaded in my spare time within a month. Some of the sites rejected about half the photos as not being high enough quality but enough got accepted for me to to start making about $100 month in sales across the sites,” traveler and photographer James Wheeler wrote in a post for PetaPixel.

Wheeler explained that he kept uploading his stunning photos to microsites to keep the small amount of cash rolling in, but one of his pictures, a gorgeous shot of Moraine Lake in Alberta, Canada, has made him more than $4,000 over the last five years.

“This photo was taken during a family camping trip with my wife and our one year old daughter. The entire three week family vacation cost around $3,500, and it’s still hard for me to believe that this one photo ended up getting more revenue than the cost of the entire trip,” he said.

So how can you do the same? First, do a bit of research on which sites pay the most. As the Penny Hoarder explained, once approved as a contributor on sites like istockphoto.com or shutterstock.com, amateur photographers can expect to make around 15 percent on the sale of each of their photos.

“It’s all about quantity,” stock photographer Eliza Snow told Penny Hoarder. “It takes a different mindset to be able to say ‘I will sell this image 100 times for $1’ versus one time at a gallery for $100.”

Next, comb through your vacation photos to find not only the most beautiful shots, but also the most generic, as those tend to sell the most often. Shots of famous landmarks, landscapes, and photos people can’t find anywhere else are all safe bets to make a few bucks.

Finally, be realistic about what you’ll earn. While you may not be able to quit your day job, you may be able to cover the cost of your next weekend getaway.

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