The life of a travel photographer is filled with adventure, and one of most satisfying profession for your perpetual wander-lust. It seems like it is one of the easiest skills to master, because all you need is a camera and a plane-ticket right? Well, it is not easy as it looks because this domain is swarmed by a millions of creative soul, and the competition is stiff.
This little guide contains the secret-sauce to become a top-notch travel photographer in no time. As you read through every word till the end, you’ll learn what it takes to become a rock star travel photographer.
1) Learn photography – Buy a camera and understand the nuts and bolts of how it works. Formal education is not necessary, when it comes to creative skills, talent is latent and with a little practice it shapes to fruition.
2) Travel and tourism courses – Although not a mandate, a diploma course in travel and tourism will act as a leg to stand on to prove your passion for the industry. When you know the ABC’s of travel and tourism, it shows your ability to fit in right away. It makes you stand out in a crowd, and more like a blue chip investment for the employer.
3) Pick a niche – What this means is, you need to stand out from the swell of creative-heads. Your unique perspective around the world should show through your portfolio. The idea is to create an insignia style where viewers look at your photos and say “Woah! I know who clicked that!” Niche photography comes in the form wild-life, people/culture or landscapes.
4) Don’t try to hit two birds with one stone – The path to becoming a successful travel photographer is rife with challenges. To say the least, it will test your mettle. You have two roads to be taken; you can either go for a distinct job that allows you to travel frequently or get into travel photography from the get-go. In my journey, I started out with the former choice, where I was sent off-site for my projects. You have to briefly assess what’s your position and take a call on how you’d like to start.
5) Create a portfolio and a blog – As a travel photographer; you must create a booklet of your best photographs in the form of an electronic booklet (PDF). Every client will take a glimpse of your portfolio before they hire you for a project. Along with it, a well-written blog will tell the story behind your portfolio that makes viewer connect with your pictures on an emotional level.
6) Get ready to sell your services – The one skill that really will turn you from good to great is to learn the art of selling. What’s the point of clicking breathtaking photographs and not getting paid for it? Snap photo’s as many as you can, but the bank lies in getting it sold to the right buyer. Squash your fear and cold-call NGO’s, travel institute, Magazines, Hotels or Government tourism board. The more you tell, the more you sell. The more you sell, the bigger your bank.
7) Learn the Art of Story-telling – Travel photographers are essentially people who tell stories through pictures. In order to become an influential photographer, story-telling is the life-blood to your growth. You’ll attract business in bulk if you can tell the tale by painting stories through both photographs and words.
8) Capture emotions and not only photos – This applies to every type of photography, not just travel. A click from Goa will justifiably be upbeat, but a photo from an orphanage will reflect the state of affair of the orphans. A common mistake made by newbie photographers is snapping photos without a purpose.
9) Practice patience – With the overwhelming pressure associated with travel photography, a lot of people become irritable and impatience. Some of most mesmerizing photographs come to life when it is anticipated or rather calculated. A beam of the first sun-rise over snow-lapped mountains or maybe calm blue sea with a gleam of sun-set does not come without patience and planning. Also, make your sure you fit in empty windows in between your itineraries to wander-about, sort of like planned-spontaneity.
Don’t believe the myth of 10, 000 photos needed to turn you into a travel photographer. It can be your first shot or 100th snap, what really matters, is that you keep your nose to the grindstone and you will definitely see the light at the end of the tunnel.