How to Become a Professional Travel Photographer

By Lily Evans | Tips & Trick

Oct 13

If you love your job, you wouldn’t have to work a single day – so the saying goes. And true enough, millennials are moving away from traditional workplaces and turning hobbies into full-time professions. Food blogging and travel photography are excellent examples of such ventures.

​As the cost of traveling continues to go down, more people are traveling at an even younger age. Even college students and fresh graduates can even travel on a budget nowadays! That said, it comes as no surprise that this tech-savvy generation takes a special interest in travel photography.

Whether you just want to better document your travels or you want to turn travel photography into a full-time job, here are some handy tips and advice on how to become a travel photographer.​

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What You Will Need

The wonderful thing about travel photography is that it requires very few things to get started. That is not to say, however, that it’s a cheap hobby or profession. Depending on the particular gadgets you decide to use, it can be affordable to downright expensive.

​That notwithstanding, here are the four basic things you will need to become a travel photographer.

Camera & Laptop

​1. Budget

. If you want to be a travel photographer, the first thing you should do is to travel. For your first travel photography tour, you don’t really have to go anywhere insanely far or remote. If you don’t have a hefty budget, a nice location in your country should suffice.

​2. Camera

This goes without saying. Your camera is your tool of the trade, so this is the most important of these four. A high-quality DSLR camera is, of course, ideal. However, if you’re an amateur in photography, I wouldn’t recommend shelling so much on a DSLR right away.

Instead of investing in an expensive camera, get a good-quality digital one. If you have an iPhone or another phone with a decent camera, you can also start working with that. Once you get the hang of travel photography, that’s when you should start investing in a DSLR​

3. Laptop

In this age of digital photography, retouching photos every so often or converting them to other formats is pretty much an indispensable part of travel photography. If you plan to process your photos on the go, then you would have a reliable laptop.

​If you can put off processing the photos until you get home, however, then a desktop computer should do the trick.

4. Editing software

You can’t really edit your photos without an editing software, so this one is also indispensable. There is a number of different software in the market, so choose one which suits your needs.

What You Will Do

Now that you know what you will need, let’s proceed to the step-by-step process.

Step 1: Find a Good Location

Find a Good Location

The essence of travel photography is capturing extraordinary places. That said, choosing a location is the first, and possibly the most important, step in travel photography. Choose a place that offers something new and fresh. After all, a vital part of a great photo is a great subject.

​This is not to say, however, that you have to climb mountains or visit other extreme locations. More often than not, it’s just a matter of finding nooks and crannies that are often ignored or overlooked. In certain instances, it’s also just a matter of seeing a place in a different perspective.

Step 2: Practice Taking Shots

Practice Taking Shots

If you’re already a pro in photography, then you can skip this step. For first-time photographers, however, who want to venture into travel photography, this step is essential. Note that photography has both an artistic and a technical aspect. One will not really function without the other.

So before you start traveling and snapping away, learn the basics of photography first. Practice with different shots, angles, perspectives, and even cameras. Your shots might not be perfect at once, but always remember that practice makes perfect.

Practicing is also important because it affords you a chance to familiarize yourself with your camera. Once you understand how it operates, it also becomes a lot easier to improve your shots. After mastering basic photography skills, you can start experimenting with other photography elements.​

Step 3: Take a Lot of Photos

Take a Lot of Photos

I take as many photos as I can whenever I travel and I highly recommend that you do the same. Take photos in transit and on your way to your destinations. It might be tempting to take photos of just the famous sights you’re visiting, but you’d be surprised at how great other shots are!

​If you’re visiting a popular tourist destination, chances are it has been photographed countless times already. This is why it’s incredibly important to come up with novel shots taken from a different perspective. This can only be achieved by photographing locations from different angles.

​Instead of constantly checking your shots and deleting those you don’t like as much, just take photos and sort them afterward. This way, you’d be looking at your photos with a fresh eye.

Step 4: Pick The Best Ones

Pick The Best Ones

Once you’ve taken your photos – and after you’ve rested your eyes – you’re ready to start selecting your best shots. Look at the color and composition. Look at the angles. Choose the photos that look as though they are ready to jump off the page anytime.

A lot of factors come in choosing photos and it would really depend on your personal preference. If you intend to sell your photo, then you’d also have to take into consideration the specific guidelines given by the magazine or editor.

If you’re photographing a famous place, then you’d easily find photos of the same online. Look at these photos and pick among your shots one that stands out from the rest.​

Step 5: Digitally Improve Your Photos

Digitally Improve Your Photos

This part is optional. In certain cases, especially when lighting is particularly good, you’d get a crisp and vibrant shot. But travel photography is drastically different from studio photography. In the latter, you have total control over the lighting and angles. This is not the case in travel photography.

True enough, it is not uncommon to have less than ideal lighting while taking travel photos. This is why a good editing software is essential. Note, however, that you should limit your editing to enhancements.

Remember that you want your photo to be an accurate representation of the site you are taking a picture of. You can use an editing software to adjust the brightness or make the colors more vibrant, but the photo’s composition should more or less stay the same.​


Conclusion

Woman Photographer

Being a travel photographer is not easy, but that doesn’t mean it’s not doable. With the right tools and some practice, you can turn travel photography into a fulfilling hobby or even a full-time job! It might require you to shell out some cash, but trust me, it’s well worth it.

How about you? Do you have any tips for aspiring travel photographers? Have any editing software or cameras you can recommend for beginners? If you do, let us know in the comments below. We’d love to hear tips and advice from you.

Did you like this tutorial? If you do, let us know in the comments below. And please don’t forget to share this article with your friends.​

About the Author

I'm Lily Evans and I’m here to share with you pieces of travel advice, as well as handy tips and tricks, which I have accumulated over years of travelling and exploring the globe.