Travel photography is a genre of photography which is the source of images used in the $1 trillion tourism industry. It includes various material and subjects such as destination photography for hotels and resorts, tourist attractions, scenic photography, adventure shooting, local events coverage and much more.
Then the results of these can be used for numerous purpose like advertising, print sales, merchandising, social marketing, etc. Travel photographers need to be familiar with multiple photographic disciplines, be it portraiture, wildlife, landscape, architectural, reporting or event photography, they have to know it all. So you need to become an all-rounder if you wish to jump the bandwagon! Here are some insights to help you out:
Is Travel Photography Profitable?
Obviously Yes! People have made full careers via travel photography, as it can be very profitable as well as enjoyable. It is one of those professionals in which you get total freedom to select your own path and get to choose from the numerous income streams.
As you continue shooting more opportunities will spring up. From image licenses and income from agencies and magazines to hosting workshops and paid sponsorships, there are many ways to earn proper income from it.
But for it to work you obviously need to have a smart business sense. If you are determined to make a living with travel photography, you need to extend beyond passing your time and dive into the world of social media marketing, negotiation, and content development.
How to start?
Take the first step by going out into the world and begin shooting so that you can create a portfolio. You don’t have to travel to create a portfolio. Just select any place within your remits and go. If you can afford traveling then go to your dream destination and begin there.
But do some research beforehand and just don’t click like a tourist. Then upload your portfolio on social media platform and you are all set!
License your work
Whichever way you are pursuing travel photography, the first thing to do is to license your photos. If you are a beginner then use sites like 500px to license your work quite easily. If you already a pro and already have a strong portfolio then apply at Shutterstock which is very reputable.
Offering photography services can become very profitable as there are many businesses in the tourism industry. You can sell your services to them for example if you are going skiing then get in touch with the local lodges at your selected destination and offer them your service for a free stay or trade a few photos with them for a fee.
You can even contact the tourism board there and get paid for promoting them. Eventually, these small jobs open up even more work as you get recognized and your portfolio also gets stronger. So as fame grow up you will even get training and workshop opportunities.
Selling the Prints
If you have a cohesive collection of images in a certain category then exhibit them in a gallery or online and you will definitely find some buyers.
If you are a beginner, then online exposure can help a lot and you can upload your work on print-on-demand websites for print sales which can establish you and then go for galleries.
Providing Destination Tours
For travel photography, you research well and learn the ins and outs of a particular destination. This helps you to conduct location-specific workshops through which you can not only do your own photography but also make a few extra bucks by guiding others.
You might feel that travel photography is all fun when you see exotic images of fellow photographer, but what you see is not all.
From long-haul flights and jet lags to incompatible surroundings, you can face anything. You might have to spend days in transit and sometimes you lose your functionality there. So next time you see an extraordinary image, imagine the hard work behind it.
So you have to be resilient as travel photography demands sacrifice. Things like traffic, oversold flights language barriers, crowds, bedbugs grueling treks and foodborne illnesses, can be stressful so gear up before you step in.
The more you travel, the more you will encounter various circumstances. Some will be fun and intriguing while others can be alienating and dangerous.
So pick up your camera, be ready for anything and apply tolerance when you come across something that doesn’t go well with you. It is your job as photographers to observe and positively influence others with your images.
If you want to access more opportunities, then you will have to become deeply committed and change your lifestyle according to your photography needs.
You can find a balance between both your personal and professional life, or become a digital nomad like me who lives with a suitcase and an open mind. Your flexibility can make a monumental difference in your career.