How To Sell Photos While Travelling

By Abi King | Best Blog Tips

Jan 31

If you’re interested in storing and selling photos, travel, portfolio websites or, at a push, me then read on…

Storing photos on the road - Abi taking photos in Alaska

Managing Photos Taken on the Road…

How To Sell Photos While Travelling

Recently, I gave myself a website makeover. I realised I had my writing stored in one place, my photos in another and my social media efforts all across the board. I had trouble accessing photos while on the road to send to editors whose requests popped up out of the blue – and I realised I was missing out on sales from my photo archives because the volume of emails I received was overwhelming.

Essentially, I was looking for solutions to the following:

1) Somewhere to back up my photos online

2) Somewhere where editors could see and download my photos, no matter where I was

Beyond that, I had a wishlist:

3) More options for my footer and sidebar

4) A Nobel Prize

I found the answers in PhotoShelter. (Well, all bar one.)

How to Provide Selective Photo Downloads?

As it happens, I found several online photo storage sites that let others download your work. The difficulty was, trying to find a way of doing that selectively. After all, how could I expect people to pay me for something that I let total strangers download for free?

That was the snag I kept running into with Flickr and Everyone could download everything. SmugMug seemed a possibility but then I realised that PhotoShelter had the magic pill: integration with WordPress.

The Magic Pill: Integration with WordPress

With PhotoShelter, not only could I match my photo storage to my WordPress site, I could sell photos online and in print, quickly transfer images to twitter and facebook and benefit from the incredibly well put together PDFs on SEO, social media and Google Analytics (see, I told you this would be dull unless you were into this kind of thing.)

However, I am into this kind of thing – because 21st century writers, photographers and bloggers can’t afford to ignore it.

So, What’s The Catch?

Is there a catch? Of course there is. Nothing’s perfect and apparently not even online photo storage sites hand out Nobel Prizes. First off, it’s not free (prices start at $9.99/month after a $1 trial.) Second, not all WordPress themes integrate seamlessly with PhotoShelter, only those from Graph Paper Press (more about them another day.)

It’s a pretty small catch, though, for an amazing product.

Making The Switch

Finally, obviously, you need to organise and upload your archived photos and switch themes, which is why it took me so long.

To be fair, PhotoShelter offers various ways to soothe the pain (including sending them the hard drive and handing over cash to make the headache go away.) Changing themes was easier than changing from blogger to WordPress but it still created a few glitches I needed to smooth out.

Boxes Unpacked, Mail Redirected, Just Need to Hang Some Pictures Up

Taking & Processing Travel Photos on the Road

A System For Photos Taken on the Road

So, I’m almost there with my blog redesign. Head over to my portfolio site and photo archive site to see how they all fit together. And, please, drop me a line in the comments below or via the contact form if anything’s not working as it should or if you have any other suggestions to make.

I have to admit, I’m pretty excited about the new layout and about what lies ahead and I’d like to thank Dave and Deb from The Planet D and Sherry from Ottsworld for their advice and Pokin Yeung from GeckoGo for making the tough look easy.

It’s slightly harder to thank companies, but I’d highly recommend both WordPress and PhotoShelter.* If you’re thinking about setting up a blog, you should definitely use WordPress; if you’re looking for a professional way to store and sell photos while on the road, use PhotoShelter*

Once I’ve got this site shipshape and shiny, I’ll post a resource area to answer questions about travel writing, blogging and photography, so check back soon.

Old Script map of the world

Disclosure: PhotoShelter sponsors my account because they like my work and I like theirs. As ever, I only recommend products that I believe have great value because, well, there’s no point otherwise. Read the breathlessly exciting disclosure policy here.


About the Author

Abigail King is a writer and photographer who swapped a career as a doctor for a life on the road. Now published by Lonely Planet, the BBC, CNN, National Geographic Traveler & more, she feels most at home experimenting here: covering unusual journeys, thoughtful travel and luxury on

Camels & Chocolate February 2, 2011

Abi, do they also take a cut like PayPal and Etsy do? I’ve explored similar avenues, and it seemed so pricey (you have to pay to list things on Etsy and even then, they expire after four months), so this seems like a great option to explore for me.

Abi King February 3, 2011

Hi Kristin – Well, you have to pay a monthly fee to use PhotoShelter at all but then you have a number of delivery options.

If someone buys a photo directly from your site (without you having to do anything more) then they take a cut.

Something I’ve found very useful, though, is creating either invitation-only or password protected galleries. Then an editor can browse and download the photos they want (but the general public can’t) and then you settle the final bill (words & text) separately. This has also worked for me when publishers won’t pay at the point of sale but at the point of publication.

PhotoShelter also lets you send links to download photos one by one (at no extra cost), which I’ve sometimes used if the internet connection I’ve been using has been hideously slow. Hope that makes sense!

(Oh – and you don’t have to pay to list anything (other than the monthly fee for storage))

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