Travel and photography are naturally perfect buddies. However, in lots of occasions, it is regrettable that the image
There’s much more to becoming a travel photographer than exploring exotic destinations and clicking your shutter. Getting up at stupid-o-clock to catch the perfect sunrise, carrying a camera that’s heavier than four backpacks, skipping meals in the quest for the perfect light, and missing out on the travel experience because you’re too busy taking photos, are just a few of the downsides.
You need the stamina to cope with hectic schedules and long days; you need a business brain to market your work successfully; you need to be creative and come up with new angles to stand out from the crowd, and you need to have the right equipment.
A pretty picture is not enough. It needs to be high quality and it needs to be original. For magazines, you need to consider issues such as leaving space on the image for word placement, positioning your subject off-center so it doesn’t fall down the page join, and possibly placing the subject on the right-hand side of a landscape shot for maximum impact.
An image can be stunning but if it has no relevance to the text it will be discarded. The image has to fit the brief. For example, the image on a Wanderlust cover must make the reader think: “I want to be there”.
If you want to make a living from travel, here some advices:
- Don’t undersell yourself. You might be doing your dream job, but you can’t do it for love alone – that won’t pay the bills and it will undermine your status as a professional. If clients are buying your work they should pay the going rate. I’Anson advises: “Don’t give pictures away in return for an airfare or hotel accommodation. It’s much harder to charge once you’ve set a precedent like that.”
- Be objective. Try to see your work through the eyes of potential clients. I’Anson says: “You have to separate the travel experience from the pictures. How you got the picture is not of any interest to photo editors or clients – they just want good pictures.”
- Be original. There must be hundreds of near-perfect shots of the Taj Mahal – what will make yours stand out?
- Find a speciality. Carving yourself a niche – as a bird expert or underwater specialist, for example – might make it easier to make a name for yourself. Ideally, find one that interests you.
- Hone your skills. Get your photography to a high standard, both technically and creatively, before you head off on an expensive trip.
- Get the gear. With camera
equipmentyou get what you pay for – and it’s expensive. The minimum you’ll need is a digital SLR with a high-quality lens.