How To Build Your Travel Photography Business

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Becoming a photographer is the dream of many travelers. Just is it possible to reach? Go along reading to observe how I became a freelance travel photographer, and how you can, too!

Becoming a freelance travel photographer
is definitely the dream that all who travel with a camera secretly have in their drawer.

I do not know one traveler who does non have a passion for photography, and many of them are extremely talented indeed.
But the path between having a passion and actually turning that into a profession and starting to work equally a travel photographer is not an like shooting fish in a barrel 1. Especially today, when in order to “become” a photographer one merely needs to click on Amazon and buy a reflex photographic camera.

In this article I will share with you the
tips and tricks I take used to successfully become a freelance travel photographer. Yous will find everything you need to know to attempt and
plow your photography passion into a profession, or at the very least, a way to make an actress profit at the end of each month or travel for free.

But first things get-go…

What exactly is a freelance travel photographer?

A freelance travel photographer is a professional who is paid to take pictures and videos of travel-related topics. Freelance travel photographers can beast hired by magazines or hotels, or travel and resell the photos they take on their own initiative.

Sounds like a dream, correct?
Being able to travel, explore incredible locations, have astonishing pictures,
become paid for it
. Yeah, it sure does. Sign me upward, right?

The reality is that
becoming a freelance travel photographer is not every bit simple equally the internet makes information technology wait. Turning a passion for photography into a profession and
becoming a digital nomad
is hard work.Freelance travel photographers must exist cocky-motivated to travel and completely defended to their craft

Currently, many successful freelance travel photographers are also influencers, such as
 Instagrammers or YouTubers. The influencer lifestyle appears glamorous from the exterior, but the truth is that constantly creating and curating unique content takes energy, time, and a lot of endeavour.

On the other hand, independent freelance travel photographers sell their services to clients, and slowly build their resumes (and businesses) over time.

Getting started

Before we start, don’t forget the most of import, if non obvious thing: a travel photographer takes
pictures, so you have to be up for
constantly improving your camera skills and creative vision.

For the purpose of this article, I volition assume that if y’all wish to
turn your passion for photography into a job
, you accept already studied photography techniques and theory, and have familiarized yourself with a lot of the swell piece of work out at that place.

And so, now that your photography is on point, how to continue?

one. Upgrade your equipment

It’s truthful, a good photographic camera doesn’t automatically make a good photographer, but once you have learned the basics with an entry-level yous need to
to go on up with the growth.

It’southward important to annotation that
upgrading your equipment doesn’t just hateful your camera!
Depending on the kind of travel photography you want to practice, y’all volition about likely need a tripod, flashes, gimbal, and and then on. Maybe even a drone.

So, be prepared for some
showtime-up and overhead costs. It may seem similar a lot, but remember of it as a necessary business organization expense that will pay off in the long run.

2. Create a website and/or social media contour

I would say do both, but maybe yous tin can offset with just one of the two and then evolve. Think: you will these platforms to
brandish your piece of work and contact information for potential clients
to find you lot!

While you lot’re at it, why non
create a travel web log? If y’all’re already in the business organization of travel photography, you lot might as well
get a freelance writer
and really take your content to the next level!

iii. Build an astonishing portfolio

This is the most of import piece of communication. You need to
brand a lot of projects and be full of artistic ideas
and realize them
even if
they don’t bring coin in.

Every opportunity for exposure is a footstep upwards on the ladder to becoming a successful freelance travel photographer!

four. Choose a niche

You tin can’t be good at everything.
The more you lot specialize, the better. Find something you are really good at and bask, and start doing as many projects as possible in that specific field.

5. Keep studying (and get qualifications)

Build your resume from the ground up and become qualifications. They may non be as useful as in other fields, simply they sure prove y’all can shoot, and give you
opportunities to network and participate in interesting projects.

6. Sort out the legal part

What kind of business organization should you first in society to brand your freelance photography career sustainable?
This varies greatly from unlike situations and countries. Practice your inquiry and establish a solid legal foundation for your business.

7. Optimize your piece of work

You may need to take on more projects and clients than what feels manageable in the kickoff. Learn how to
utilise your time finer and optimize your work
through books and other tools!

8. Start earning coin

This is the hardest part, right? It’south easy to find gratis projects to shoot, just getting paid for your photographs or getting paid to travel while you photo is an entirely different story.

So, how exactly do you lot monetize your travel photography passion?

Incredible India

How does a travel photographer actually earn?

Until about a decade agone, travel photographers were almost always professionals employed by magazines. These photographers were sent around the world to produce reportages on certain locations, and told incredible visual stories through their piece of work.

We are now in the
digital age, an era where magazines and companies no longer have the same goals or budget as they did in the past. While there are still travel photographers who work for magazines, it’s an extremely niche chore that takes
a lifetime of experience in the field.

When I began my photography career, I wrote and spoke with various magazines, and was even published in ane of the largest Italian magazines dedicated to the world of photography. Withal, while
many people were interested in publishing my photos, no one had the budget to actually pay me for the job.Anybody told united states of america that they could give the states visibility merely no 1 was willing to pay… to anticipate travel expenses or the like.

Here’due south the hard truth:
most of the photos you see in big magazines have been published for free. Who would say no to the opportunity of putting in their portfolio that they had been published on National Geographic’southward blog, for example? And then many photographers are willing to get published for gratuitous, and equally a upshot, are taken advantage of.

Only then, the question remains: how exactly do you brand coin equally a travel photographer?

Thanks to today’south digital earth,
freelance travel photographers have a variety of means they tin can make money from their photographs.

The roads are varied, only mainly there are
four direct ways of how to go a successful and paid freelance travel photographer.

  1. Travel for gratis thanks to photography
  2. Sell ​​photos in stocking or private markets
  3. Organize photograph trips
  4. Get paid past companies

Santorini, Greece

How to become a freelance travel lensman

i. Travel for gratuitous thanks to photography

Traveling for free thanks to photography is certainly ane of the easiest means to enter the world of freelance photography, brand the right contacts, take skillful pictures and higher up all… save a lot of money.

Let’s say
you are at the beginning of your photography career and want to go a travel photographer with no previous feel.

You definitely need to travel and get yourself a photograph portfolio, just to exercise it you need money. That is, unless you
use photography to travel for free!

Yes — there are associations, companies, organizations and various activities effectually the world that ever need some overnice photos to promote their business.

If you lot are a photographer who does not yet take a lot of experience, y’all can contact some unlike associations, hotels, and even hostels and ask if they’ll host you lot in commutation for your photographs! You’ll receive food and lodging, and they’ll receive digital content they can apply for marketing purposes or other advertizing and promotional needs.

Remember about the winning strategy behind this mechanism
— collaboration!

You get to brand a trip and enjoy some interesting experiences for gratuitous, all while taking pictures that you can use in your portfolio, and thus promote your photography and observe future jobs more than hands. You really have nothing to lose!

Your host will also save a lot of money; hiring a professional photographer for several days can cost up to thousands of dollars, so really, it’due south a win-win situation.

The best way to find these kinds of opportunities is through work-exchange websites likeWorldPackers. With Worldpackers, you lot can even filter your
host search
to just show opportunities that require the specific skills you’re interested in providing!

2. Sell ​​photos in stocking or private markets

Stocking sites are those platforms that sell photographs.
For each auction fabricated, a commission is given to the lensman. Whoever gets more photos sold earns more than coin; easy, correct?

At that place are several sites that permit you lot to
sell photographs and receive a nice little extra income at the end of the month. It goes without saying that it is not piece of cake to earn a full salary this way, just notwithstanding it’south not a bad means to
starting time making some money thank you to travel photography

Patently, not all that glitters is gold. Many of these websites are highly competitive and the quality of their photos is top-notch. The commissions on photos sold may not be the best, but information technology is still a good style to earn something more. Photos of people traveling in famous locations are very popular on these sites.

Go along in mind that you have to sell a lot of photos in order to get a decent profit.

To requite you an example,
I took the embrace photo of this article in Mongolia. I sold it 25 times, but my full revenue was only effectually $14 USD. If I sell 100 photos, I am able to brand a solid corporeality, merely with a few photos alone y’all can’t go a good economic event.

Hither is an exhaustive listing of the main stocking sites:

  • iStockphoto
  • Shutterstock
  • Fotolia
  • 123RF
  • Dreamstime
  • Depositphotos
  • Bigstockphoto
  • Canstockphoto
  • Photodune
  • Veer
  • YAY Images
  • Crestock
  • Stockfresh
  • GL Stock Images
  • Featurepics
  • Cutcaster
  • Clipdealer
  • Panthermedia
  • Zoonar
  • Sunipix

If yous want to larn more than, I recommend the book
Microstock Photography: How to Make Money from Your Digital Images.

3. Organize photo trips

Becoming a
photo-tour organizer
is a totally unlike, unique, and fun fashion to exist a freelance travel photographer!

Once you have built a scrap of a proper name in the world of travel photography and yous’ve created a portfolio, you lot tin can focus on
organizing photography trips.

As a photo-tour organizer, your role is to bring other people on photographic holidays around the earth, and take pictures! Depending on who the lead photographers are, these kind of trips tin can toll betwixt iii and 6 k euros each, so it is a good marketplace.

The hard part of organizing photograph tours is making it legally sustainable, especially since the requirements change from country to state, simply it can exist a great way to
earn coin with travel photography!

4. Get paid past companies

As we have seen before, being able to work for magazines that bargain with travel is almost impossible, especially given that less and less magazines are actually willing to pay their ain photojournalists.

Merely yous can still try to exist paid by companies! Be it a hotel, a tour operator, a travel agency, an AirBnb owner, or whatever,
the world is full of small-scale travel businesses that need a photographer.

If yous want to endeavour this route, it is essential to have a super portfolio, at least a few years of feel behind you lot, and some published piece of work that shows what your photography is made of.

For example, my partner and I completed a trip to Everest Base Army camp. After the trip, we secured a job working as photographers/reporters on a ii-year projection that included an trek to Mont Blanc.

Without the photographs nosotros took on our Everest Base Camp trip, we never would have gotten the task for the Mont Blanc expedition.

Everest Base Camp, Mt. Everest

Turning your photography passion into a profession

may be difficult, but with time and a adept programme it is absolutely doable.

The only thing y’all must never stop doing is traveling


Keep traveling and stay defended


Everything else will come up with time.


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