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Instead of escaping the heat and humidity of Pennsylvania, I camped in cold and rainy weather.  I didn’t manage to get many photos.  While the trip may not have proved to be photographically fruitful, the experience was.  This was the first of many photo road trips that I would take. After talking on the phone and joking with a friend that I was going to skip town to go somewhere cooler, I said to myself, “Why not?” And, within 24 hours, I had dropped off my car to be serviced, rented a car, and was on the road to spend a few days in Maine.

This was the first of many photo road trips that I would take.  Even though this first trip to Maine didn’t prove to be as fruitful as I had imagined. Instead of escaping the heat and humidity, I camped in cold and rainy weather. And I didn’t manage to get many photos.  But while my trip to Maine may not have been photographically fruitful, the experience was. I chatted with some people at the campground who were in town for a birding event. 

The next thing I knew, I was on a boat with a bunch of birders who were eager to teach me about the local birds, while we also spotted several humpback whales.  They also invited me to join them for a closing reception cocktail with some of the most renowned bird biologists on the east coast. I returned to Maine a year later at the end of the tourist season.  This time, I rented an apartment for two weeks. 

I went on daytime hikes to take photos and explore the surrounding areas, returning to the apartment in the evening to process photos and work on my stock photography portfolio. I told myself I would be happy if I could capture at least a few images that would pay for the trip and provide some income.  It’s nearly impossible for me to go anywhere without my camera, and taking photos never feels like work when I enjoy it. 

After all, this was also my vacation. It was during a solo hike around the tranquil Jordan Pond in Acadia National Park, while listening to the sounds of calling loons, when I thought to myself how amazing my job as a stock photographer really is. Activities and interests that I was once doing in my spare time are now my “job.” 

And it doesn’t feel like work because I like doing it. I always told myself that I didn’t want to be a photographer because my idea of “work” meant that it would be grueling and I would eventually come to hate it. I didn’t want that to happen with photography. While photography is now my only career, I still refuse to do any photography projects that feel like work. My photo excursions to Maine spurred the realization that I can continue to travel and do photography while also turning it into a profit. This photo, taken on that trip, ended up paying for my entire trip and then some…

With similar profitable goals in mind, I try to take profitable photos on ALL of my vacations. I’ve found that taking photos of people and things that hold emotional interest for me typically end up being my best work. Today, as a rather new resident to Oregon, I continue to take day-trips at least once a week and longer “vacations” a few times a year. I find that these photo adventures have a way of clearing my mind and pushing my personal reboot button. These are the times when I feel most content.  These are the times when I produce my best images….because I’m doing what I love.

As I’ve said in the past and continue to live by: Do what makes you most happy. It will provide you with the motivation to succeed!

[ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 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.]

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