There might not be another occupation as enthralling and as rewarding as a travel photographer. Many aspiring professionals want to see themselves as those fierce photographers enduring bitter weather and unwelcoming wild animals to bring us the beauty of nature captured on film. Do you think you have what it takes to become a full-time travel photographer? If so, then we have a few tips to share with you that will hopefully help you on your quest to becoming the next Chris Burkard or Richard Bernabe.
- Learn the Art of Photography
This might seem like a no-brainer, but you would be surprised how many people consider themselves cut for the job just because they can hold the camera. So before you snap your first ever National Geographics-writhy cover, you need to excel at the craft. First, get familiar with your camera, its settings and its possibilities. Then, take crash courses in photography. Or, if you don’t quite have trust in that kind of education, learn the craft from photographers you look up to – many of them either offer lessons or just share their working tricks on some online platform.
- Find Your Niche
Since everyone who snaps pictures with their phones could be called a travel photographer, you need a way to stand out from the crowd. This is where you need to consider what specific niche of travel photography you are going to fill. Take a little breather and think of what excites you the most. Land or sea, north or south, ancient architecture or indigenous people against exotic landscapes? Don’t worry – you won’t have to stick to that niche forever. It’s just a way to build your recognition as a photographer. Once you have your own brand, you can expand which way you fancy.
- Embrace Post-Processing
Since you would be taking pictures not just for personal use, but rather for commercial purposes, you need to make sure that your images look flawless. This is where post-processing steps in. Photo editing can help you fix any minor or major mistakes you might have made. The industry standards for post-processing have always been Adobe products like Lightroom. This software is filled to the brim with useful image enhancing tools and presets. However, the downside to this program is its considerable price and somewhat confusing workflow. If you need software of the same rich functionality that would be a lot more affordable and intuitive, go with PhotoWorks. This AI-driven photo editor is equipped with both basic and advanced image manipulation tools and boasts a clear interface and easy workflow.
- Create a Killer Portfolio
You are not a bona fide photographer unless you have a portfolio. Only the best images can make their way to it. So cull them mercilessly by becoming your worst critic. Your portfolio can be both physical and digital. And since we now live in the digital world, the latter is a lot more preferable. Fill your images with roughly 20 images that should be sorted either by destination, style, or color. Curate your portfolio regularly – add new masterpieces and take out the images you think don’t quite reflect your genius.
- Build Web Presence
You have several options to build your recognition online. For instance, you can start with an Instagram account that would be solely devoted to your travel images. Then you can go a step further and build your own website. There is no need to hire a professional for that, since you can create a website yourself, using online services like Wix. Starting a blog is another option if you have a thing for writing as well as photography.
- Find Clients and Publishers
This is the part where you convert from just a hobbyist into a professional. Chances are – you won’t succeed at first, and that’s OK. Luckily, there are quite a few ways you can try your luck. First off, you can sell your images to online stock image libraries. They won’t pay much, but the more images you submit, the higher the pay. Next option is to sell your shots to lifestyle or travel magazines, both print and online. Besides, deals with local tourist businesses can be an unexpected source of income. But whichever way you choose, make sure to keep promoting your work online.
And there you go – with just a bit of luck and determination you can make your dream come true and become a travel photographer. So gather up all your courage and skill and explore the world doing what you love most – taking pictures.