Have you ever wished you could trade in your 9-to-5 for a lifestyle where you could be paid to see the world and snap pictures? As alluring as it may seem, making it as a travel photographer requires more than just a passion for travel and an eye for composition.
One of the most often practiced types of photography is travel photography. Having pleasure and making money at the same time is a logical choice. Who wouldn’t want a career where they get paid to see the world and do what they love anyhow (shoot pictures)? But if you’re considering entering this crowded field, you should know a few things beforehand.
We’ve compiled some helpful guidelines for aspiring travel photographers, including tips on honing your skills and where to go for inspiration before taking that all-important shot. What follows is a brief outline of the steps necessary to launch a career as a travel photographer.
Steps for Becoming a Successful Travel Photographer
Photographers who specialize in travel have to slog it out to book jobs that pay enough to cover their costs. Since more and more people are learning how to shoot photographs, it might be difficult to differentiate one’s work. But if you believe you have what it takes, the following guidelines will get you started.
1. Familiarize Yourself With Your Camera
This may seem like a no-brainer, yet many people just snap away without ever looking at their camera’s settings. It might be helpful to view tutorial videos on your camera’s features online, but nothing beats actually using it.
To see the effects of each option, take pictures of the same scene or item with varying settings. That way, when you take it with you on the road, you won’t waste time fumbling with the settings and miss the opportunity to capture the right light.
There is no substitute for experience if you want to make a living as a travel photographer. Master all the ins and outs of your camera. No expensive equipment is required to master the art of lighting and composition. While you’re still an amateur, put in the time and effort to master your camera and improve your photography skills.
Keeping up with the competition is essential if you want to succeed. That requires lots and lots of practice, but how can I do that? In reality, it’s rather simple.
Consider where you currently reside. Where would you take a photographer who asked you for recommendations on the greatest places to visit and most gorgeous shooting locations? Where do you take out-of-town guests?
You can use those locations as shooting targets. Beautiful landscapes and vibrant cities both offer picture ops that are important to travel photography and will give you a chance to hone your skills. Try out new perspectives, lighting setups, and cameras by taking plenty of images. That will get you ready for photography in many environments.
3. Explore Potential Sites
When you’ve decided on a destination, it’s time to start looking for good shooting spots. Look for typical pictures of the place on social media and the internet, and then try to come up with your own creative take.
Take pictures from a new vantage point or at a different time of day to see if it helps. Where can you get a picture of yourself that will make you stand out from the crowd? It may be as easy as switching to the left side of the camera or as complex as peering down into a fountain to find a perfect reflection of the desired image.
Scouting can help you get your act together and figure out where to stay so you’re convenient to everything you want to see. In addition, if you visualize the photos you want to take, you’ll be better able to select the appropriate gear.
4. Keep an open mind and a sense of adventure
The most exciting and photogenic destinations aren’t always easy to find. Get out of your comfort zone and see what else the area has to offer outside the typical tourist traps. There’s no telling when you’ll come across a sleepy little town that’s just begging to be photographed. Even specific parts of a given place are not exempt from this rule. Try someplace off the beaten path for food or shopping. These methods can also produce stunning portraits of humans.
If you want to have an exciting time and take some amazing pictures, ask a local. The finest locations to go may be ones that they recommend that don’t come up in an online search. Most people will be pleased that you asked for their thoughts and will gladly lend a hand.
snap the effort to acquire certain words and phrases in the language of the country you’re visiting, in particular the words and phrases for asking about the best places to snap pictures. Most people will be grateful for the attempt, even if you completely butcher their language, and will reward you with excellent advice in return.
5. Use Appropriate Tools
As you prepare for your trip, give serious consideration to the items you want to take with you. You need to bring the right gear, but you also want to minimize the weight of your bag. The following are bare necessities:
- Mechanics of the camera
- Glass Polarizer
- Battery packs and spare battery packs
- Power cords
- Flash memory and backup flash memory
- An all-inclusive camera bag
What you plan to photograph dictates the type of camera and lens you’ll need. The Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM Standard Zoom Lens is a superb example of a flexible, high-quality lens. It works well in low light, captures moving subjects well, and can be overridden manually. The Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM is yet another excellent optic. Many professional photographers consider it a must-have tool, and it comes at a lower price point.
One of the most essential lenses is a 50mm prime (or 35mm for APS-C users). In addition to providing razor-sharp results, a prime lens’s only purpose is to speed up the shooting process. Without a zoom ring, fiddling with the camera’s settings is less appealing, leaving more time for actually taking pictures.
Your tripod, however, should be compact and lightweight so that you can take it with you wherever you go, be it atop a mountain or down a winding path.
You should always have a backup power source, storage medium, and data cable. You might not think you’ll need that much storage space, but you’ll fill up your memory card in no time. Bring additional batteries even if you tell yourself you’ll be good and charge them every night. Don’t leave home without the charging cables you’ll need!
An additional piece of advice is to pack a universal plug, as most camera equipment, battery chargers, and laptops are dual voltage for nations that operate on 220 as opposed to 110. You may use this with any outlet by inserting a standard US plug (two flat prongs) into it. It’s easy to carry about in case of an emergency and doesn’t weigh much.
On bright days, a polarizer really shines. It’s not uncommon for the sky’s blue or a mountain lake’s turquoise to become lost in the glare of the sun. A polarizer will enhance the vibrancy of the colors. And effective polarizers may be found at a low price. They are lightweight and compact, making them perfect for taking on the road.
Last but not least, the bag is required. Professional photographers really need to have access to a camera bag. It’s a practical method to transport your gear and a useful organizational tool.
6. Have Patience
This is especially important to keep in mind at the busy tourist attraction. It’s not uncommon to have to wait 15 minutes or more for the ideal conditions to snap a photograph, whether it be a lack of other people in the frame, optimal lighting, or the arrival of a natural phenomenon like dawn.
Be prepared to take your time and have patience with whatever it is. The most captivating photos are the result of patient waiting. You don’t want to take the same photos as everyone else, and despite your best intentions, you may never return for another round of images. So, hold off until you have the ideal photo.
7. Wake Up Early and Stay Up Late
Photography is best done in the early morning or late evening, as opposed to the middle of the day. The proverbial adage “the early bird gets the worm” holds true here. Taking pictures of popular attractions is easiest first thing in the morning, when there are less visitors. It’s possible to have the place to yourself if you get there early enough.
Sunset, at day’s conclusion, also offers magnificent color for photography. If you want to take advantage of the golden hour, you should plan beforehand. And you really ought to have a plan for where you’ll do your photography.
8. Be Considerate
Don’t trespass; instead, get permission from the landowner before exploring, and offer to show off your photos to them. Don’t snap images of individuals unless you have their consent to do so. If you want to take a photo of a busy city street, you probably won’t stop to seek everyone’s permission, but if you want to take a picture of a store owner there, you should probably ask.
You may get to know someone better by starting a conversation about anything else, such as asking for directions, getting restaurant recommendations, or making a purchase from their store. This is a great icebreaker! In other cases, they may demand payment in exchange for a photo. You are under no obligation to provide them with any, but you should be courteous if you decide not to.
9. Learn How to Pre-focus
To prepare for the subject’s potential motion, photographers might pre-focus on a certain area of the frame. With this method, you may set up the photo in advance and patiently wait for the subject to enter the frame before pressing the shutter button. Using the camera stealthily is essential for capturing beautiful individuals and street scenes.
Henri Cartier-Bresson, widely regarded as one of the best practitioners of street photography, would oftentimes paint the dazzling metallic portions of his Leica black and then literally hide behind a corner to snap photographs of people in the most candid of stances.