Bored at the airport? Shoot Stock!

Hey fellow photography grinders,

As you’ve probably have gathered by now, I’m a travel photographer, which means that I spend a hell of a lot of time at airports. With all the security situation that’s going on it means that every year I tend to spend longer than I usually plan at airports. However, this opens up all sorts of opportunities to capture editorial stock photos to earn you some cash. The following don’t quite make my top 5 list of best-sellers but some of them earn me regular royalties.

I’ve always been fascinated with airports, especially the big hubs like London, Amsterdam, Dubai. It’s a weird & chaotic meeting place of cultures. As an introvert, I tend to observe how people from different cultures act and dress. What a stark difference the Scandinavians are to sub-Saharan African. Also Southern and Northern Europeans..Brazilians and Argentinians :). It’s a fascinating anthropological analysis. At the end of the day, everybody trying to get either home or escape from home. Others like me, have no home! ūüėÄ

Try to capture the contrasts between passengers

You’re there anyway, so might as well ¬†make use of your time

Whenever I travel, I take my gear with me as my carry-on, minus the tripod which is frustratingly prohibited within the cabin. You really think I would check-in equipment worth thousands of dollars, come on?

A few years ago it occurred to me, that while I waited to catch a flight, I could be potentially earning from such stock (editorial) images, with little effort. I started to experiment and captured an array of different shots at different airports.

Which types of airport images are in demand?

Granted, not all airport images are licensed. From my experience (usually trial and error), I’ve figured out that the following categories of airport images tend to do well:

  • Travelers attentively checking the digital display board for their flights (the more stressed they look the better):
Dubai, UAE
  • Travelers standing in immigration queue, or during security measures (discreetly!)

I must admit that this type of image is risky, with all the security situation that’s going on at the moment, which makes it that more appealing due to its rarity. My Nikon is bulky with its lens, so may get me in trouble, but a smaller mirroless camera might just do the trick. Here’s an example of heading up to the immigration queue:

Milan’s Malpensa – soon I’ll have to stand on the right as I hold a UK passport…
  • Interesting architecture: Pretty self explanatory, capture what’s unique about that airport and how it reflects the local culture (or lack thereof):
Vancouver International, showcasing its local native population and nature

Madrid’s Bajaros airport, fascinating roof structure

Paris Charles de Gaulle
  • Airplanes on the tarmac: These types of shots aren’t as popular but super easy to capture:


Busy Istanbul International Airport, the image on the left got me in trouble and I almost had to remain…Midnight Express…

  • Duty free shops:¬†
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Dubai, UAE
  • General departure lounge:¬†Wide shots like these have proven extremely popular
London’s Heathrow Terminal 5

tel aviv airport

For more tips on shooting boring travel shots that are licensed regularly and much more, buy a copy of my Brutally Honest Guide to Microstock Photography with the link below:

To purchase a copy of this book, click on this link!

Also available on kindle:

Safe & happy travels!



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