How to Become a Professional Travel Photographer

Many photographers see the likes of Steve McCurry and Sebastião Salgado and want the same lifestyle as a travel photographer. It is an attractive position. It means you get to travel and capture art at the same time.

This is one photography genre that looks easy, yet you can find many obstacles. Read below for the best tips on how to become a professional travel photographer.

What Is Travel Photography?

Travel photography is an all-encompassing field. It incorporates all sorts of photography fields within it. So what does professional travel photography look like? Amazing shots of rolling landscapes, captivating portraits, and interesting food.

You can look at National Geographic and see glaciers. Likewise, tourism brochures show foreign markets and environmental portraits. Travel photography is something you’ll find, no matter where you look.

They adorn large billboards and advertisements. Anything from flights, to Airbnb apartments or the ambiance in restaurants. They sit in magazines and newspapers to attract people from all over the world.

They can be of a documentary concept, to report on areas and situations as they are and happen. These are the most realistic settings.

There is also a commercial aspect. Here, photographers capture restaurants and hotels used for promotion.

There is no end to the subject matter, making it an open market for all kinds of photographers to try their hand.

This is not an exact number. It depends on what kind of travel photography you capture, and where you sell your images. If you choose a few avenues rather than one, you have the chance to make more money.

If you prefer to take your time and explore rather than rush from place to place, then you’ll make less. But, you’ll have more time to soak up the delights.

There are more and more travel photographers these days, yet there is still a huge demand. Images of locations need updating, and growing tourism markets means more demand.

If you take the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ word, then you could be earning a median of a little under $30k a year as a travel photographer.

The most important thing is the portfolio. This is an online or print version of a series of images that you captured. It lets clients see what and how you capture. It is a visual guide on what quality they can expect from you.

Without a portfolio, clients might find it challenging to give you work based on your word. You can start on a local level if you don’t have the capital to go traipsing far and wide.

Research what clients are looking for, aim to capture them and then show them. The images you don’t sell could work well on stock photography or as sellable prints.

Once you start building a reputation as a travel photographer, it is harder for clients to turn you down. Keep practicing until you start filling commissioned settings and then keep exploring.


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