Social media and technological advancements have opened up professional opportunities around the world. New travel photographers can access essential tools with relative ease compared to decades past. Embarking on a new career can be both exciting and daunting. Follow these steps to get your career as a travel photographer started on the right foot.
- Find Your Niche
Having a specific travel photography niche can help you to choose subjects and set an aesthetic tone. You may focus your lens on international cities, mountains, beaches, luxury resorts, rustic locations, landscapes, or people. Your niche could be photographing the best beaches in the Caribbean and working with local hospitality businesses. Finding your niche will aid in effectively honing your skills within a wide competitive field.
- Determine Your Why
Know why you photograph your niche and be prepared to tell a story. This will help you to communicate your priorities and perspective through your photographs. People and organizations who share your why or find it inspiring can become paying clients.
- Identify Goals
Starting a creative career is often a self-directed endeavor. Identifying your dream subjects can provide your work with an added sense of direction and purpose. Write down your top goal and imagine a road map for making it a reality. Using a big goal as your compass can keep you on a productive and authentic track.
- Take Virtual Courses
Sharpening your skills is an ongoing process for every artist. Travel photographers can use virtual courses to learn anywhere on the globe. Look for open courses, YouTube videos, and course subscription services. You can brush up on anything from choosing your camera to managing freelance finances.
- Connect with a Mentor
Plug into local photographer meetup groups in your hometown and ask to join their private social media groups. Find people in-person and online who you respect and seek to emulate. They may be receptive to having coffee and establishing a valuable mentor relationship. A working travel photographer’s extensive experience may go beyond tips in books.
- Always Have Your Camera
Keep your tools close and pack them protectively. Try a variety of cameras and settle on the one that fits your technical and comfort preferences. If you find yourself flying to remote locations, you will need a sturdy and durable camera. Secure a well-reviewed camera bag to transport accessories and extra lenses with confidence. Be ready for that dream subject to pop up at any moment.
- Establish a Social Media Presence
You need to have a robust social media presence to be a successful travel photographer in today’s modern world. Instagram is the most important platform for this visual art form. TikTok is also a popular frontier for travel content. Choose a username that evokes the essence of your artistic identity and use it across all platforms for brand recognition.
- Create Shareable Content
Keep an eye out for changing social media trends. Your photography may live on a popular niche hashtag and be shared amongst followers with similar interests. Consider editing short videos to expand your audience and keep attention on your content for longer periods. Check your public account settings to ensure that all sharing capabilities are enabled.
- Stay Consistent and Engaged Online
Follow relevant accounts, trade authentic likes, respond to comments, and monitor your private messages on social media. Being yourself online and sharing your work from an honest place can help to grow your audience organically. Potential corporate clients and tourism boards may want to know your engagement analytics before they partner with you.
- Cultivate a Portfolio Website
Having a portfolio website makes it simple for prospective clients to find your work, learn about your story, and contact you about jobs. This can be linked to your social media profiles and allows for full creative expression. Think about selling your photography prints or digital wallpapers through an online store.
Be authentic, seek knowledge, and take the shot.