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…]

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…]

5 Ways To Stay Married To A Photographer

There’s something about a photographer and his/her camera.

When they think of a new idea, take on a new assignment, or simply hear of “breaking news” across town, they are off and running with camera in hand.

That comes with the territory – its part of the job.

Unless you had a dinner planned, and you now have to cancel.

While every job has its ups and downs, a photographer tends to live and breathe photography 24 hours a day.

Yet that’s not good for you – or for your family.

As with every career, learning a few life balance tips early on can be the difference between having a family – or living life on the road alone.

Separate family time and work time

Even though you love what you do, and it’s enticing to head into the studio to Photoshop your last shoot, set up a schedule first and stick to it. While there will always be the little emergencies that come along, don’t make it a habit. Create a work and personal schedule and stick to it. We turn off our computers Friday night, and turn them back on Monday morning. While that took many months to train ourselves to stick to that schedule, we wouldn’t change it now for anything. We highly value our personal free time on the weekends. [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…]

7 Resources For A Travel Photographer

Travel Photographers Network

If you love travel, and are looking for ways to improve your travel photography skills, Travel Photographers Network is the place for you. Your membership includes a social site (bio, blog, gallery, etc) that allows you to share and learn with others in the community.

Travelers Notebook

Warning: this site is addictive. I’ll head over here every once in a while, and end up spending way too much time reading through their information. Travelers Notebook cover a wide variety of topics, from traveling abroad, to recommended resources for photographers.

How To Buy A Round the World Plane Ticket

Did you know you can buy a round the world plane ticket that allows you to travel to destinations all over the world – you choose – and you can use it over a one year time period? This article will open up your eyes to how you can easily set up a round the world plane ticket, and dream of all those exotic places you’ll visit.

[Read more…]