How to Travel for Free With Photography

What’s great about photography and videography is that in most cases you can work wherever you are and thus move freely around the globe. Chris Hau understood that and managed to travel for free using his photography. In this video, he shares his experience and story with you to try giving you tips and inspiration to do the same in 2018. 

When we look at YouTubers, Instagramers, and other influencers of any sort, we tend to think they have had luck and everything was given to them. But it’s usually not the truth. In the short video above, Chris Hau explains how he turned his travel videos into something that helped him to travel for free and get services that otherwise he wouldn’t have had access to.

All businesses need images; either pictures, videos, or both. However, companies often times don’t have much time to look for creatives to work with. While on the other side, us, as creatives are often afraid to contact brands and companies as we don’t like to hear people say no. But no is the worst case scenario; there is also the possibility of receiving a yes along with free services, products, or even getting paid.

Hau's video is quite useful and may help some of us who are afraid of asking other for help or work, to try and do so. What do you think? Do you believe in asking or are you more the kind of person to wait for things to happen? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

[via Chris Hau]

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Gabrielle Colton's picture

I love this about photography, it's definitely intentional luck. Ive learned that sometimes all you have to do is ask, send an email and introduce yourself etc.

Samuel Zeller's picture

And not just for photographers. There's great tools like Nomad List to help you find accomodation/workplaces. Or couchsurfing. Or even use a company like Remote year. It's easier than ever today to connect with people from all over the world, and the need for photography and videography is increasing.

Samuel Zeller's picture

One other photographer that I interviewed in the past is also doing this sort of trade and documenting the process over on his website:

Mark Holtze's picture

Absolutely! I bought my first gear back in 2002 when i graduated. An XL1 and a G4 Power Mac with FCP. I had no choice but to ask ask and ask some more to get some paid gigs to pay for this stuff.

Low and behold, it works.

Chad D's picture


OK I need to make some money those places and companies will be saying OH sorry I will trade it to you for a beer and a boat ride though!

you say BUT I need to buy new gear and they say OK we can't wait come back when you get it

yes barter works but it is a double edge sword

Quentin Decaillet's picture

It's only up to you to ask for more than just free stuff. Tons of Youtubers, Instagrammers, and digital influencers live just from product placement on their accounts. Receiving free stuff is only a part of the deal for most.
Asking for free stuff could be a great way to build your portfolio and audience before then being able to ask for money as well.

lee arthur's picture

I see how this would work for video, but I do stills. How would one get this to work for still photos?

Quentin Decaillet's picture

Tons of Instagrammers work this way. Asking for free stuff and/or money against pictures of a place or products posted on their account – but then, you need a solid followers base and good engagement.
It could work just as well if you have a blog where you post your pictures along with a text. I know quite a few people who make a living out of it :)

Giles Rocholl's picture

Nice vid Chris you remind me of Elia Locardi another cool guy!...I am 38 years a pro photographer and essentially my days are filled with solving peoples image one takes me on as a charity case. It's really quite simple they choose me because on balance I can deliver images they need for their own projects and aspirations. When you contact people with what you can do for them they are never upset if you can deliver what they need. If you want to go travelling think who it will benefit (apart from yourself) then contact them with an eye grabbing image or two that says this person can help you....essentially they will consider what you can do for them over what they can do for you.