The Travel Photography Location Shoot Checklist

travel-photography-location-shootIf you’re an aspiring travel photographer, there are probably some inherent mistakes that you’re going to fall victim to. Don’t worry about it – take everything thrown your way as a learning experience and a spring board to better skills and more amassed know-how. That being said, though, there are certain mistakes which you can avoid: that’s why today’s post brings you the travel photography location shoot checklist. Make sure you skim, scan or actually take the time to read through it, then start packing. Each voyage to a new location to photograph is an experience worth enjoying through and through.

Read up

No one expects you to know everything about your chosen destination, since most things related to local customs, for instance, you will learn about on site. However, there are plenty of great guidebooks out there, that will paint an informative picture for you in broad strokes, which will prepare you for your travel photography location shoot. Some of the best ones include Lonely Planet, as well as the Rough Guides Series. It’s also a good idea to check out tips for lesser known locations, for instance, on online forums.

Pack light

It’s easy to get carried away when packing for your first travel photography location shoot – and it also happens to more experienced artists. However, try to tone it down, especially since weight restrictions on most lines are getting stricter these days. Here are the essentials, which you are absolutely going to need, no matter where you’re headed to:

-          Battery chargers for your camera and phone (and a travel adaptor, depending on where you’re headed to);

-          A laptop, both for storing and editing your photos on location, but also for keeping in touch with your family and contacts;

-          A removable HDD for secondary backups. Remember, you’ll be on the road quite a lot for your travel photography location shoot, so you don’t want to risk losing your work to theft or destruction;

-          A sunrise/sunset calculator, which will keep you up to speed on light changes, in accordance with local sunset and sunrise times.

Explore the magic hour

Traditionally, the magic hour for photographers, also referred to as ‘the golden hour’ is that time of the day late in the afternoon, when the sky is dappled in the most amazing colors, just before the sun sets below the line of the horizon. This time of the day is likely to help you produce some amazing shots in all natural lighting. However, there’s also another magic hour, which happens very early in the morning. The light is almost just as great, and there’s another perk to working before everyone else is awake. You don’t have to deal with the morning rush of tourists.

Check your travel photography location shoot kit

Check it twice, thrice, four times if you need to, before leaving for your travel photography location shoot. There are few experiences more frustrating for a photographer than arriving at an amazing location, only to discover they’ve left their most adequate lens at home. Here’s a rough guide for what to pack and take along:

-          A DSLR body;

-          A good, lightweight tripod;

-          A wide angle zoom (10-24mm, or 16-35mm);

-          A mid-range zoom (24-70mm, for instance);

-          A telephoto zoom (70-200mm);

-          A cable release;

-          A polarizing filter – as well as some ND grad filters, if you havethem or use them;

-          Optionally, take along a 1.4x tele-extender and a macro-lens – you never know when the mood might strike you for some good macro shots on location.

Your gear should always travel along with you, as cabin luggage. If it’s too heavy, stuff some lenses inside your pockets, but never-ever leave it elsewhere, as you may risk having it damaged or stolen.

15 Things You Should Be Doing To Improve As A Travel Photographer

So you just got back from your trip and you have hundreds of images sitting on your computer. You know some of them are good. You know some of them are great. And with a little tweaking, they could be phenomenal.

A lot of photographers dream of having their travel images purchases. Wouldn’t it be great to make money while traveling the world? Yet just like any other niche in the photographic industry, becoming a paid, recognized travel photographer takes work. If this is the direction you want to head this year, take a look at these 20 items and see how many you’re doing … and how many you have to schedule in to your to-do list.

1. Organize your photos

Too often our “extra” images get lumped into the bottom of our work stack. Travel images can end up sitting on cards, or in a catch-all file on your computer labeled something non-descript, such as “travel photos”. Then when you find an opportunity, you can’t locate the image you had in mind. Start the organization process now. Start by filing them according to date and location.

2013 Photographers Market

You may also separate the great from the good … from the not so good. The easier access you have to your great work, the more potential you have to work with.

2. Define what travel means to you

The biggest mistake travel photographers make is thinking of themselves as travel photographers. It’s hard to find opportunity as a travel photographer; but it its easier finding someone who needs images from Brazil. What is it about travel that captures your heart? What do you want to do, where do you want to go, and what do you want to sell? Only after you’ve defined your clear picture can you move forward.

3. Invest in 2013 Photographer’s Market

In order to sell things, you have to know and understand who’s buying. Even if you are still unsure, this resource could open up your eyes to hundreds of possibilities. This is a resource you’ll want to keep on your desk and open it up every day to find a source to promote to. [Read more...]

7 Things You Have To Know Before Becoming A Travel Photographer

Ahhh, the good life.

Imagine hopping on a plane on Thursday morning, off to some far away location. You have a great flight, check into a wonderful resort, and spend the next few days touring a place you’ve never been before. You eat at the finest restaurants. You visit the local tourist attractions. And you leave a few days later relaxed and ready to take on the world.

Sounds good, right?

When most people hear the term “travel photographer”, that is what they think. They think “travel photographer” means you have an amazing life with very few bumps along the way.

And while it can be true in some circumstances, it isn’t always that way … especially if you haven’t carefully thought out your plan of action.

Just like any other business model, you have to have every aspect of the business planned out BEFORE you start taking action. Without it, you’ll never make the money you need to succeed in the travel photography world. Especially know in this more difficult economy.

Yet don’t let it deter you. It still is a great life and one with a lot of potential. Ready to learn more? Let’s get started by going through the 7 questions you need to build up your travel photography plan.

What do you want to do?

This probably sounds like a trick question. “I want to travel,” you may be thinking. But in order to succeed, you need to look at it from a different viewpoint. In your overall business plan, how will travel photography fit into your lifestyle?

Some people sell their images to microstock houses. Some photographers create fine art and sell it to galleries. Some people run online art stores and sell directly to the public. Some people offer photo tours. Some people shoot weddings. Yep, the list can go on and on.

Have you really thought about what travel photography means to you? Do you want to interact with people on a regular basis? Or do you prefer to be in a remote location where your only interaction is with nature itself? Sit down and define how you can see spending your 365 days of the year. [Read more...]

Capture The Colour – Having Fun With Your Photography And Winning Too

So you want to be recognized as a travel photographer. Maybe now is your time.

Chances are you have a file full of travel images you love. Yet maybe no one else has seen them. Maybe you’ve been saving them for the day you can use them to gain a little recognition for yourself. Maybe you’ve been waiting for the right moment to share them online with thousands of others from around the world.

Maybe now is your time. Pull out your computer and start sifting through those files. Look through each image and start asking yourself a few questions.

What makes a photograph special?

Is it the subject matter? Is it the look and feel within the image itself, sharing a tiny bit of insight into what that particular point in time was like?

Is it the lighting? The way the highlights and shadows make you feel as if you are still there?

Is it the story the photograph portrays? Letting you instantly go back to that special place any time you choose?

Or is it the colors? The rich saturation making you stand back and say WOW each time you view the image?

Or is it all of the above?

As a photographer, I know you like to shoot all the time. I bet you have your camera with you as you travel to some of the most magical places on earth. Now you can show off your talents, and maybe win a special prize too.

I recently came across a fun contest in which you can enter your photographs and win some great prizes too. Wouldn’t you love to win £2000 to spend on traveling, or one of 5 iPads?

Its easy to enter, and is open to all bloggers ready to showcase their travel photography talents.

The contest is called Capture the Colour. And its easy to enter.

  • Put together a blog post with five images representing all five colours – blue, green, yellow, white and red. Within your post, mention the competition page so your readers will know what Capture the Colour is.
  • Then nominate 5 other bloggers to take part in the Capture the Colour contest near the end of the post.
  • Accomplish all of this by August 29, 2012, and let the judges know by Facebook, Twitter or email (the details are on the contest details page).

Its that easy. Make sure you head over and read the rules at TravelSupermarket before you enter. Here are my images:

Blue – Costa Brava, Spain

Driving along any coast is almost always a memorable experience. There is something about land meeting water that puts you into a different frame of mind. As we made our way down the northeastern coast of Spain, each hairpin turn brought breathtaking views. Where else can you see a mix of old and new -  boats in the harbor, swimming pools behind fantastic homes, and medieval walls hugging the cliffs.

Green – Girona, Spain

Girona, Spain is one of the most magical places I’ve been to. As you walk along the stone walls, each turn brings you to a new experience. A portion of the original Roman wall still exists, and you can climb several staircases to access the wall. You walk up and down, discovering breathtaking views as you go. At one turn, we could climb down into a garden and explore beyond the gates. We came around the corner to this view. The green splashed over the rugged stone, definitely giving you the feeling you just reached paradise.

Yellow – Panama

Panama is an interesting place to site see and people watch. As we entered small towns and villages, the kids would happily run up to us, trying to sell us small trinkets and jewelry. It’s a place where you can witness some of the poorest conditions around. Yet the beauty often stands out from everything else. This restaurante showcases how much people care about what they do have. A small boy stands near, watching his friends play in the distance. Nothing but a gravel path leads up to the place. Yet the detail painted on the walls is warm and inviting.

White– Lucca, Italy

Once upon a time, the Romans had an idea. They decided to create towns all over Italy, encasing them within walls for protection. Since that time, the walls have been torn down to make room for progress; except in Lucca, Italy. Whether you are walking around the wall or visiting the quaint streets within the wall, you quickly get the feeling of what it must have been like back in Roman times. That feeling carries through as you begin to head out of town and come across Lucca’s aqueducts. Even though these were built in modern times – during the 1800’s – it still gives you a unique perspective on Roman life. I love this image as it pulls together the beautiful coloring of the aqueduct, the surrounding green farmland, and the stark whiteness of a modern day home.

Red – Key West, Florida

Key West, Florida is the place to kick back, put your feet up for awhile, and enjoy the views. And of course a margarita or two. Key West brings together the laid back lifestyle so many tourists crave, which is why its usually filled with people enjoying all it has to offer. Two hours before sunset, the natural migration occurs as tourists make their way to the Sunset Celebration. Yes, you can get some amazing photographs of the sun setting into the Gulf of Mexico. It brings out the most beautiful boats that add into scenery. Yet its what happens on the docks that adds into the fun too. Many locals bring out their wares: food carts, street performers, psychics, and of course arts and crafts vendors. Rows and rows of bird houses were stacked on one table, giving you the chance to bring a bright piece of Key West home with you. A friendly reminder of what life could be like if the snow starts to fall in your neck of the woods.

Now that you see how its done, create your own posts and have fun! Be sure to comment here or let me know through Facebook or Twitter as well. I’d love to see what you do.

My five nominations:

Ralph Velasco
Jim Goldstein
Gavin Gough
Andrew Pateras
Steve Z Photography

How Travel Can Impact Your Photography

If I saw something in my viewfinder that looked familiar to me, I would do something to shake it up.
~ Garry Winogrand

A while back, we had a crazy idea.

We’re not the kind of people that like to sit still. Or in one place too long. Or do the same things over and over again.

So we decided to sell our home, change our lifestyle, and shake it up a bit. Yes, we’ve traveled. But it was always more of the “two weeks here” and “two weeks there” style.

Dig Deeper: How To Look At Your Money Life

So we asked ourselves, “what if we had very little commitment in our Colorado home – condo living in other words – that allowed us to live simply and travel when ever and for however long we choose?”

So off we were on to our new adventure.

This summer we started our new lifestyle with a trial run – six weeks in Europe. Nope, we didn’t “vacation” for six weeks. Instead we found apartments to rent that came with wifi access, worked when we needed to and explored the rest of the time.

As a result, we went to amazing places, lived like a local, got all of our work done AND had the adventure that has definitely started a new pattern for us.

Yes, I know travel isn’t something everyone wants or everyone loves. But its still a reason many people get into the world of photography.

If you’ve always dreamed of taking your camera and traveling whenever and wherever you choose, here are some tips we found as we set out on our newest journey.

1. Look for the details few others see

When you live at home, in one location year after year, you begin to take things for granted. But when you travel, you see things in a completely different way. Little things make you laugh. Little things make you say WOW. Those little things then become a part of your photography because you “see” them differently. And you want to show them to the world through your imagery. No matter where you are, head out to experience new things from time to time. It will change your perspective and your photography. [Read more...]

Considering a Photography Job in the Cruise Ship Industry

Are you tired of the same old grind day in and day out? Ever have an urge to travel the world and see something new? Do you have a good work ethic and wouldn’t mind going completely out of your comfort zone?

If you’ve answered yes to these questions, then you should definitely consider working on a cruise ship as a photographer. Let me tell you right off the bat, it’s not easy work and working on a cruise ship doesn’t mean you’re on vacation. You do however get many huge benefits.

The Cost of being a Cruise Ship Photographer

Let’s start off with what might be perceived as the negatives. These aren’t necessarily all negative aspects of the job, but they are things that you will definitely need to think about before you make a commitment to this life style.

You must be willing to be gone from your home for 8 months at a time. During this time you will be traveling to many different parts of the world without the opportunity to see friends and family. You will need to be comfortable with this or it’s going to be a very difficult job. At the end of your 8-month contracts you will have the opportunity to take about 2 months off for vacation.

Expect 8-hour workdays 7 days a week for the entire 8 months without a day off, ever. Not only will you be gone for 8 months, but you’re also going to work extremely hard every day of those 8 months. When I say you’ll never get a day off, I mean it. Not even one.

Strict rules while onboard. This may not be much different from what you currently experience if you work for a large company, but it might also be completely different from what you’re used to if you work for yourself. On the ship there are a lot of rules and regulations that you’ll have to live by. [Read more...]

Market Your Photography Business So You Can Travel and Live Anywhere

Many people dream of the day they can quit their jobs, throw a camera in a bag and travel the world. We love to travel and experience new things. Taking pictures is a way to remember each step of the way. And if you can get paid for doing it as well, why not start today.

If traveling the world with a camera in hand has always been on your bucket list, the only way to make your dreams come true is to do it.

Self Promotion

With many career paths, they can be time consuming and expensive. If you open up a retail store, you are pretty well locking yourself into a location.

But if you want to be a travel photographer, the only investment is camera equipment, a computer, and a website. Then you can create your images and load them up to your site for any type of promotion you choose.

Need some inspiration? Check out Stuck In Customs, one of the best travel photography sites online.

Build Your Portfolio

With WordPress, you can build a sophisticated web presence in no time. You can add to it anywhere in the world you have Internet access. And you can connect it up with many different sites to give you even more exposure – Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Flickr, YouTube and SmugMug.

In years past, you had to connect with people on a personal or one to one level. Now everything can be done via online. If you are connected to editors through Twitter, you can communicate on your time. If they run across your Pinterest boards, they can evaluate you on their time. If you build a SmugMug portfolio and gain an incredible following, you’ll have more traffic than you can handle. And it will all be something you can build when you have the time – leaving you free to shoot on your time.

Dig Deeper: The 10 Advantages Of WordPress For Designing Your Photography Site [Read more...]

Do You Have To Travel To Be A Travel Photographer?

Ahh, the life of a travel photographer. Every morning you wake up in a new and exotic place. You can travel weeks at a time, or take a break and spend some time learning about one area in detail. You can go to amazing places half way around the world, and you can visit places where very few people have walked before.

Who wouldn’t want that lifestyle?

Statistics show travel is the number one item on most people’s wish lists. They dream about the day they can take off and enjoy experiencing new things. Yet for most people, that dream never becomes reality.

“I have kids and I can’t disrupt their schedules.”
“I want to travel but my spouse doesn’t.”
“I don’t have the money to travel.”

Yep, there are dozens of ways to justify not jumping at the chance to travel.

And for many people that dream of the day they will set out on their journeys, they also have another dream – to get paid while traveling too.

Imagine photographing every exotic port you pull into, and being able to quickly sell the best images from the trip. Not only could you travel where and when you want, but you’d get paid for it too. Life can’t get any better than that.

If your dreams have included something like I’ve just described, you’ve probably shelved them to the back of your mind, waiting for the day to come.

Why wait?

Instead, head out now and prove you have what it takes to be a travel photographer, right from the comfort of your own home.

No matter where you are, what community you live in, you probably have some level of tourism right in your own neighborhood.

Right here in Denver, we have the Rocky Mountains a 30 minute drive from the heart of town. Millions of people come here every year to ski, hike, ride, and enjoy the crisp air and gorgeous views.

And because of that, there are also many magazines, books and online resources that cater to people that live here, visit here, and love playing in the Rocky Mountains. [Read more...]

How To Get Photos Published In Magazines

This post is Day 17 of 30 Ways In 30 Days To Redesign Your Life With Photography. This series seeks to provide you with practical steps to get you from wherever you are today, to exactly where you want to be – this year! If your goal has always been to take your photography to a whole new level, hang on and start enjoying a new lifestyle you’ve always dreamed of.

In Day 16, we worked through the concept of Niching your photography business, and why it’s so important to focus. The more you focus, the clearer your vision, and the more results you’ll have.

I decided to provide a post on why I thought niching was so important to your success first, and then follow it up with a series of posts that were specific to fields within the photography profession. A great majority of my emails and responses were from people that had specific questions on types of photography. Whether you currently have an interest in a particular field or not, read on. I’ll cover a variety of items that can be taken from field to field, and can help you when you look at growing your own photography business.

“I have a job, but like many people, and am constantly worried whether it will be here tomorrow. I love traveling and can see a time where I make this my primary business, especially after I retire (if there is such a thing). I would like to start getting some of my photos into magazines, but how do I go about that?” Greg

Ah, the lifestyle of a travel photographer. Search the Internet and you’ll find a ton of courses related to travel photography. And with travel being a huge business, its no wonder. Statistics for 2009 show:

  • $704 billion on travel expenditures generated by domestic and international visitors
  • 3 out of 4 domestic trips here in the U.S. are taken for leisure
  • 2.7 percent of the U.S. GDP is attributed to travel and tourism
  • 1 out of 9 jobs in the U.S. depend on travel and tourism

And while that’s just the U.S., I know the stats hold true in other places around the world. It’s a big world out there, why stay in one place? [Read more...]

Photographs: The Way To Increase Sales Of Your Articles

A Guest Article By Jeff Colburn

Photographs can add a whole new dimension to your writing. Magazine editors often prefer to have photographs to go along with an article, as they will attract readers that may otherwise not read that particular item. Having photographs available not only makes your writing more sellable, but editors will sometimes pay more for the photographs than the article. And by taking the photographs yourself, instead of the magazine’s staff photographer, you get to keep all the money for your article.

Your photographs should do one, or more, of the following.

  • Be attractive or interesting enough to make someone want to read your article.
  • Clarify something in your article that you didn’t have the room to fully explain, or that’s difficult to explain, in words.
  • Tell a story that is not mentioned in your article, much like a sidebar in an article.

When you have photographs, mention in your query or cover letter that photographs are available upon request. Also say if they are film or digital. Don’t send photographs until the editor asks to see them.

[Read more...]