Becoming a Travel Photographer
Ever dream about ditching your day job and exchanging it for getting paid to travel the world and take awesome pictures? Perhaps shooting for magazines like the National Geographic? Well, as romantic as it sounds, succeeding in the travel photography industry takes more than a travel bug and a good eye for the perfect photo.
Travel photographers work their butts off to get their gigs and make enough money to cover their expenses. And in a world where photography is becoming more and more accessible to the general, standing out from the crowd can take some doing. But if you think you’ve got what it takes, the following 5 tips can help you get under way:
Practice as much as you can and get really good at what you do. Learn your camera inside and out. You don’t have to have a fancy camera to learn to how to work with light and angles. Get to know your camera intimately while you’re still an amateur and work at getting your photography to a high standard, both technically and creatively.
2. Build Up Your Portfolio
Your portfolio is how people will be able to get to know the bulk of your work and what variety of themes you can work on. It will also provide a point of focus for anyone considering hiring you. And in the end, the more you practice, the better you’ll get and the more your portfolio will improve.
3. Get Your Photos Out There
Don’t be afraid to enter high-end travel photography competitions or submit your photos to different media sources. It won’t help to be a great photographer with no audience to appreciate your work.
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Make a list of every client who might be interested in your images and create a marketing plan to get your work in front of them. Magazines such as the National Geographic hire people they already know and have been following for a while.
Video: How to Become a Successful Travel Photographer
4. Make Sure Your Images Communicate a Compelling Story
It’s not enough to be a great photographer. Travel photography that stands out conveys a theme or story that will affect viewers. If a viewer walks away with a strong central message, they’ll be more likely to form a strong impression. Having strong themes to your work can also help gain clients looking for work on similar topics.
5. Research the various Stock Photography Venues
Submitting stock photography is probably the easiest way to building up your travel portfolio and making some money off it. In fact, just about every travel photographer does at least some stock photography. But don’t just submit photos – do your research. Look at what’s selling, what’s missing and find out what images their clients are looking for.
Take time to really look at the work of the industry’s top photographers. Put yourself in the photographer’s shoes and try to imagine what they were thinking when they took the shot. Notice the different components in their photos (i.e. lighting, angle, etc.) and what effects they have on the viewer.
In the end, you’ll need to be passionate about what you do. Photography may seem fun as a hobby, but once you turn it into a job it will have all the stresses of a highly competitive market added onto it.