The road to becoming a travel photographer can be difficult. This is because you are looking to get into a narrow niche within an already tight profession. If you like to travel and taking photos, combining these two makes an excellent career choice for you. Still, there are a couple of things you need to do if you want to go down the travel photographer road successfully.
1. Learn where to seek work
The best paying industries for this kind of work are advertising and design. Still, getting into these industries is difficult and the best spots are reserved for those who have already established themselves as reliable professionals. Here are some good options to consider:
Many government organizations and sectors need photographers and require them to travel a lot and take photos of important events happening around the world.
Non-government organizations that work in humanitarian aid, human rights, or social movements often do their work all around the world and they need photographers.
In the commercial sector, the best bet is to go with travel organizations, hotels, and tourist destinations, and find work there.
Various websites, calendars, newspapers, and magazines need photographers that will travel on their behalf to capture imagery of the stories they cover all around the world.
2. Be a people’s person
Photographers have to know their way with people and this especially applies to travel photographers. In this line of work, you will often go to unknown locations around the world. You will probably have to get out of your comfort zone and know the best ways to interact with locals in your shoots, or strict security guards in your location.
You will also have to talk to a lot of strangers to learn more about the area you are working in. This way, you can get valuable information from them that can help you achieve shots that stand out. Communication is essential, as you will often have to depend on people to get a pass, get instructions, or find a guide.
Joining in various photo contests can help you a lot in building your portfolio and trying out your skills. There are various online photo contests that come with different prizes.
Some of those might even be traveling to certain destinations and this is a good opportunity to try it out. Through these, you can work on honing your skills and expand your travel photo portfolio. For example, GuruShots offer a daily amateur photo contest that you can check out to get your work out. Maybe you’ll even get noticed by an organization that could give you what you’re looking for.
4. Social media presence
Social media has become vital in any line of work and especially in photography. A lot of people like to look at photos on social networks and there are many predominantly visual platforms.
You need to gain exposure for your work and get noticed by the public. This is why you need to be active on social media and post your work regularly. The best options are Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest.
5. Online portfolio
Apart from posting and sharing photos from your social media profiles, you also need to have an online portfolio where people can come and see all of your work. People should be able to see various photo sessions you’ve done and learn more about you and your work as a travel photographer.
You can create a profile on a photography website or simply create your own website where people can see your portfolio and which you can market to others. Split your photos into sessions like this collection, by style, theme, location, or by dates to make it easier for viewers to understand what they are looking at.
6. Make your work unique
No matter what kind of photography we are talking about, to reach the top, you need to have your own style and be unique. This comes with experience and practice, as all photographers have something unique that makes them stand out.
When you recognize your personal style, work on it so that you can establish yourself as a pro. Simply put, there are thousands of photos of the Eiffel Tower, so what will make your photo stand out and make it recognizable amongst a crowd?
7. Give a little to get a lot
In the end, remember that you will have to work on yourself and constantly improve to get where you want to be. Additionally, consider investing a bit in personal branding and marketing to find work and make your name known in the right circles.
By working on all 7 of these things you will get closer to becoming a travel photographer. Remember, nothing good comes easily in life and you will need to be patient and motivated to get where you want to be.