Getting Your Start in Travel Photography

Feb 14, 2008

There are certain landmarks so deeply ingrained in the public consciousness — the Golden Gate Bridge, the Grand Canyon, the Great Wall of China — that they have become passé. Rather than capture scenic vistas or dramatic architecture, tourists prefer to capture their own image: a “selfie” is a way to personalize a familiar subject. But more importantly, a selfie allows tourists to insert themselves in the foreground of places they have seen for years in photos.

That is the power of travel photography: it inspires people to visit places by showing them what lies in store. Travel photographers straddle the line between artist and pitchman, exposing people to beautiful attractions while simultaneously encouraging their viewers to come see those attractions in person. Though it can seem a high-priced hobby, travel photography is a great way to profit from the marriage of two passions and can be done by anybody with a camera and a well-trained eye and mind.

What is travel photography?

Simply put, a travel photograph is any picture that compels someone to visit the place depicted in the photo. More specifically, travel photography is anything involving the tourism industry, including tourist attractions, local events/cultures/customs, people, hotels, and outdoor scenery. It spans all photographic genres: portraiture, landscape, wildlife, architectural, journalism, and event.

Travel photography is easy to get into: all you need is a camera. Make a habit of taking photos when you go on vacation; even if you don’t have the means to travel, hone your craft wherever you live! Just remember that as the entry barriers are so low, anyone can join the leagues of travel photographers working out there now.

Digital technology has made it easier than ever to market yourself. But merely uploading your work to sites such as 500px or Stocksy will not guarantee making money from you’re your licensed photos right away. However, it is a way to begin building a portfolio.

What it takes

Photography is one of the hardest arts to break into. The high cost barrier and the technical language both dissuade newcomers from giving it a try. Travel photography is even more arduous, with the added expense of travel and the risk of damaged, lost or stolen gear. Furthermore, the travel schedule puts immense stress on both the body and the mind, not to mention the various stressors that plague the photographer in any given destination: strange food, non-potable water, harsh weather, and often uncomfortable living quarters. Travel photographers must be adaptable, open-minded, and able to block off distractions. You must be able to see things from different perspectives: not only from the usual perspective; but, if you want to stand out from the crowd, you must also find a different way to make the same picture. A lost suitcase or a sleepless night cannot prevent you from perfectly capturing a sunlit bridge or perfectly positioning a street musician before you snap a picture. Remember that there are no excuses. If you don’t get the shot, no one cares why, only that you did not get it.

Hone Your Craft with Steinberg Photography

Photography is an art form through and through, and becoming a professional is no easy task. But Steinberg Photography can help. Join one of our group workshops, book a private session or join our upcoming Colors of the Rockies guided photography tour, and we’ll give you the tools and the training you need to hone your talent and unlock the artist within! Visit our homepage today to find out how.