Starting Your Own Travel Photography Business

You don’t have to be a guide or yacht captain just to make a living whilst travelling. If you have the skills, a travel photography business could provide you with a steady income. Learn more about the challenges and requirements of this unusual career.

If you are tired of spending your days in an office, consider making a career change and starting your own travel-related business. Documenting the natural beauty of the world’s most popular destinations takes an artistic eye and plenty of technical skill. Starting your own travel photography business could give you a chance to see the world whilst earning an income. As with any other small business, there are plenty of aspects to consider before heading off into the wilderness with a camera.

Planning

You can’t support yourself with your photography unless you find a way to turn the images into a profit. One of the most common methods used by travelling photographers is the sale of stock photography. You take amazing shots, list them on an online service or in a printed catalogue and businesses and publishers can purchase them for any use. Unfortunately, there is no way of knowing if any of the shots you take will sell.

Steady income usually comes from assignments offered by established publications. You will need a portfolio full of prior work to get jobs with travel magazines and websites. If you don’t have many professional travel shots, try offering some inexpensive work to a local kayaking company or sailboat charters company. Let them use the photos for their promotional materials and keep a copy for your portfolio.

Equipment

Many studio photographers have hundreds of pounds of equipment. A travel photographer has to consider the weight of every item they carry. You won’t be able to stay alert enough to take great shots if you are dragging around a suitcase full of lenses and lights everywhere you go.

Stick to one or two camera bodies and about five useful lenses. Don’t forget to pack protective covers for the camera so it doesn’t become damaged by dust or moisture. This is especially important when visiting street festivals or photographing the sea on a Bareboat Charter Yacht.

Don’t forget to invest in a good computer and photo editing software if you are using a digital SLR camera. A laptop will allow you to upload photographs and send them to publishers on the same day as you shoot them. Keep everything on a separate backup hard drive to ensure nothing is lost if your laptop is broken or stolen during your travels.

Travelling

You may love the Grand Canyon or Disneyland, but these common attractions have been visited by so many travel photographers that it will be hard to take exciting and new stock photography there. Plan trips to destinations that don’t have a lot of existing coverage, to stand out in a stock catalogue. Do a little market research by searching through the databases and writing down any locations that have less than a few hundred shots.

If you are looking to start your business with local attractions, work harder to market your work to local publications and businesses. You can also build a base of stock photos by shooting a few extra rolls of film whilst working on a paid assignment from a publication.

The life of a travel photographer is challenging, but it can be a fun and lucrative business. Keep honing your skills and searching for new opportunities. Building a memorable brand will help you to make a healthy income whilst doing something you love.

Jennifer Doherty writes for a wide range of travel websites. She has been travelling around the world for most of her life.

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