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I'm a hobbyist photographer that enjoys traveling (combines very well, I can assure you). Usually I just post the pictures I take on social media, but I'm also considering selling some of the better shots or using them in other ways to generate revenue. So far, my photographs have only been taken in Europe, which should be completely fine, since I'm a EU citizen. I'm wondering about going abroad though.

Can I sell or otherwise use photographs for revenue taken on a tourist visa or other visit that does not allow work (trip fully intended for tourism, photography is just my hobby after all)?

I'm hoping for an as general answer as possible, but I'm okay with just the rules for the USA, if that is difficult.

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  • Comments have been purged; original conversation has been moved to chat. Please continue the discussion there, unless you're trying to clarify OPs question.
    – JonathanReez
    Sep 6 at 23:07
  • @PeterM you're right - unfrozen!
    – JonathanReez
    Sep 6 at 23:16
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    @PeterM ok now it should work
    – JonathanReez
    Sep 6 at 23:22

1 Answer 1

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It's difficult to give a concrete, sourced answer to this without knowing which country we're talking about.

However, in most cases, I wouldn't worry about it if I was you, as long as your main intention is tourism. If you're very keen on being careful, you could contact the embassy of whatever country you're going to visit. But this has the very real danger of complicating the visa application process when the time comes. Maybe ask them after you've returned? (Thanks @TomAu)

The situation might change a little if you become known as someone selling photographs on the side (For example, if you have a website, etc.) This still seems very unlikely, though, but some countries will demand that all persons who are known to work in related professions visit on a journalist visa, regardless what they claim any given trip is for. For example, two years ago my mother, who works in publishing, wanted to visit India, purely as a tourist. The Indian Embassy demanded that, due to her profession, she did so on a journalist visa, regardless of her stated intentions for the trip.

Now, since you probably aren't working in media, even this wouldn't apply to you. But if you got into the habit of selling photographs, had a website, or were otherwise known as someone making money from photography, it's not impossible (though still very unlikely) that it could happen.

Mostly though, if the main intention of your trip is tourism, most countries won't mind, let alone notice, if you happen to end up selling some of the photos you took as a tourist. I find it extremely unlikely that any government is gonna track down an amateur photographer after a trip and say "Hey, what kind of visa were you on when you took that photo?" And even if it did happen, it's such a gray area that you'd be unlikely to get anything worse than a warning.

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    @pnuts Yeah, I guess I got the idea that OP was planning to start some sort of for-profit amateur photography practice on the side. I've made some edits.
    – Fiksdal
    Aug 12, 2016 at 14:29
  • @pnuts Yeah, one thing could lead to another.
    – Fiksdal
    Aug 12, 2016 at 14:32
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    The trick is to contact the embassy after the visit (not before), but before the publication of the photos.
    – Tom Au
    Aug 12, 2016 at 15:29
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    @pnuts Yes. And such a government might also not care what type of visa you were on.
    – Fiksdal
    Aug 12, 2016 at 18:26
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    @Fattie This looks like it should be an answer! I invite you to add an answer where you explain why we should not sell pictures we took on a tourist visa.
    – Fiksdal
    Sep 15 at 10:40

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