Travel photography is a diverse, rewarding, and lucrative career, which pays an average of $34,000 per year, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reveals. Travel photographers work all over the world, capturing a wide variety of subject matter including events, landscapes, hotels and resorts, culture, and people. With hard work and strategic planning, turning your love of travel photography into a successful business is totally possible.
Choose a speciality
Niching down can be a valuable step in any business and travel photography is no different. Whether it’s architecture, aerial, or hotel photography, specializing sets you apart from general competition, makes you look more attractive to clients looking for experts in a certain field, and results in higher-paid work. When you first launch your business, working as a generalist can help you gain experience, build a portfolio, and discover what you enjoy most and are best at. Over time, you can choose a speciality, which allows you to attract lucrative work you love doing.
Creating a successful travel photography business involves taking the right legal steps. For example, forming a legal business entity (such as, an LLC or DBA) will protect you from being held personally liable in the instance your business is sued. You’ll also need to register for state and federal taxes before you officially start working. Additionally, photography insurance can protect you financially if you’re injured either in your studio or on a shoot. Worker’s compensation insurance is an important investment considering workplace accidents and injuries happen every seven seconds. This insurance covers the cost of lost wages, emergency medical care, and ongoing care like physical therapy or medication.
When you’re first getting started, publishing your work on stock photography websites can be a good source of passive income. You’ll need to research which companies offer the best commission rates. It’s also important to build up your own client base — media, NGO’s, for-profit businesses, or government organizations are the most common client’s to have. Again, specializing can help you stand out to client’s you’re interested in. For example, hotels may want an amazing food photographer while volunteering for an NGO is a great way to network and gain experience in this sector which leads to paid work.
Travel photography is an exciting and rewarding career. As long as you develop your skills, work hard, and remain dedicated, you can turn your passion into a lucrative business.