Becoming a travel photographer

If you enjoy taking landscape photographs, images of notable buildings and street scenes when you are on vacation, and you are thinking about a career change why not consider becoming a travel photographer? If visual images are a passion of yours then you’re already on the way to forging a new way of life and having an exciting business venture to develop.

What do you need to know when starting out?

Firstly, despite the undoubted attraction of traveling the world, you need to research where and to whom you can sell your work. That is essential because you are going to have to earn a living and if you are an untried beginner in the industry, commissions will be hard, if not impossible to come by. Most travel photographers start out by making submissions to travel-oriented magazines. If the images are accompanied by well-written text about the location all the better. The trick is to build a reputation as a good photographer who can be relied upon to provide the required images on time.

If you are an experienced photographer you will probably already have all the equipment you will need. If not you will have to invest in a high-quality DSLR camera and a range of lenses. In order to impress potential clients you will need sufficient equipment to consistently produce striking images whatever the conditions. You will also need a high-end computer through which you will edit and refine your photographs. Most professionals favor Mac machines and use Photoshop or Affinity Photo for their editing work.

Who are the main buyers of travel photography?

The global tourism industry needs huge amounts of images to refresh marketing campaigns and to promote new and exotic destinations. In addition, every hotel, tourist attraction, resort and other tourism activity wants to keep one step ahead of the competition by having up to date images on their websites and in their brochures. Travel magazines also purchase images of locations they are featuring articles about. It is also essential to have images uploaded to photo agencies such as Getty Images and Alamy. Many publications prefer to purchase images online from agencies because it is so quick and convenient for them.

Will this career pay the bills?

It certainly will if you’re prepared to work hard, take the time to build your business and your contacts and diversify your skills. Nothing in life is guaranteed but there is an insatiable demand for good quality travel photographs and there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be successful. Do your research on all the agencies where you could sell your images on license, look into social media marketing and content development as well as developing your own website where people can discover your work.

Offer your photographic services to travel and tourism industry businesses and grow your portfolio so you have an eclectic range of subject to whet a potential client’s appetite. As you build up your collection of images you could sell prints or photo books online from your website or consider displaying work in a local gallery, perhaps as a joint exhibition with other photographers and artists.

Are there any complications?

As with any travel there can be unforeseen difficulties from time to time. Some countries may be hard to get into because of visa restrictions or concerns from your own government about safety due to political unrest or war. Your eyesight in sunny countries may make things tricky if you wear glasses or contacts, but you can deal with that through an appointment at LASIK surgery Minnesota to correct any vision problems.

A career for life

Being a travel photographer may have set up costs that could deter you but when you have started to gain recognition and commissions you’ll find that your initial outlay is recouped over and over again in a career that will last a lifetime.

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