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How to Become a Professional Travel Photographer 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.... 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.

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 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.

Is all the photography you capture while traveling travel photography? Well, no. Street photography looks at street, architecture, urban, portrait, nature, wildlife, landscape, and adventure photography. Yet, destination weddings, sports, or events don’t fit well here.

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 hands.

How Do I Become a  Professional Travel Photographer?

Like almost every field of photography, you start by starting! This might not make sense, but you need to get out there and start taking images.

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 websites or as sellable prints.

Work as You Go

As you’re traveling to foreign places, you can offer your services. They are in great need of images from the destination you are in.

These could be travel agents, magazines, and newspapers. Anyone in the travel or tourism industry needs strong images. I have stayed in hostels for free by exchanging professional interior images for free accommodation.

If you’re going somewhere abroad, search for opportunities each area might present. Even having the images for sale on a stock photography website is beneficial. As the number of images grows, so does your chance to make money.

Many businesses prefer working with the same person if they provide high-quality images. They might even commission you to capture the images they need.

Machiel Vlieland