During my 12-plus years as a professional travel photographer, I have seen many wonderful things: the moon setting over Patagonia’s Bariloche Peak as the mountain turned pink with the sun’s first rays; the Alhambra in Granada beautifully lit as twilight turned into darkness; the Jemaa-el-Fnaa, Marrakech’s famous square, coming alive with locals and tourist in late afternoon; the imposing, 6-minaret Blue Mosque in Istanbul; and many more wondrous spectacles, both natural and man-made.
All of these shoots have produced unforgettable memories, nice pictures and sales, yet some of my best selling images are the ones I have taken near where I lived.
In 2003 I moved to Santa Fe (I now live in the Denver Area) and began my career as a travel photographer, selling my images to editorial publications (magazines, books and newspapers). I was starting from scratch, so I wasted no time in getting out and photographing the many subjects the State of New Mexico had to offer, from adobe missions to grand landscapes to cultural events. Along the way I amassed a broad collection of New Mexico images, which I was able to market and sell to many local national and international publications. I enjoy selling to travel publications because I get to photograph a variety of subjeccts (landscapes, events, architecture, food), and I do it on my own schedule. I then select and submit only my best pictures, and the bad ones (we all take them) never happened.
Here are three of my best-selling images from my time in New Mexico, together with a brief explanation and some tips.
1. Dancing Señorita: I photographed this beautiful dancer at the annual Cinco de Mayo celebration in Albuquerque. I was experimenting with slow shutter speeds to try to depict the dancer’s motion as she twirled around. The image has sold many times over, including a book cover. I believe a big part of the appeal is the blurred motion, making the picture more dynamic than a “frozen” image. Tip: Experiment with your camera and try different approaches to the same subject. Digital cameras are a fantastic tool for experimenting since you see your results immediately.
2. Black and White Ceramic Pots: Santa Fe’s biggest yearly event is the Indian Market, where Indians come from far a wide to sell their crafts. This picture depicts the traditional style of the Acoma Pueblo, a local tribe, and has appeared in many local publications. The image is simple and tightly composed (there is nothing else in the image but pots). These types of pictures are perfect for detail shots. Tip: Always take details shots of everything (food, architecture, souvenirs); they are good sellers.
3. Mountain Covered in Snow: This is a picture of Santa Fe Baldy, the biggest mountain near town. I had to hike about 2 miles in snow shoes to reach my vantage point, but it was worth it. Although it snows in Santa Fe, big snow storms are not that common, making this image unique. The picture has sold many times in both horizontal and vertical formats. Tip: Take a variety of pictures of the same subject, starting with vertical and horizontal formats, but also wide angle shots, tight shots, shots showing empty space (for words), and so on. Editors will love you for this as it gives them layout options.
Now get out and shoot something.