Learn how to stay ahead of the com­pe­ti­tion in this chal­leng­ing genre

Digital Photograper - - Contents -

Suc­ceed in this chal­leng­ing field

For many pho­tog­ra­phers, be­com­ing a full-time travel shooter is some­what of a dream job. The prospect of com­bin­ing our love of cap­tur­ing images with see­ing more of the world through a lens is very ap­peal­ing. How­ever, mak­ing travel pho­tog­ra­phy a gen­uinely prof­itable and sus­tain­able pro­fes­sion is in­cred­i­bly dif­fi­cult. This is largely due to the vast num­ber of other pho­tog­ra­phers at­tempt­ing the same thing. With so much com­pe­ti­tion present, it can be chal­leng­ing to at­tract enough im­age sales to sup­port the life­style and cover costs. This is es­pe­cially im­por­tant and po­ten­tially prob­lem­atic in this genre, as there are large and un­avoid­able ini­tial out­lays to be made – namely travel and ac­com­mo­da­tion – be­fore any images can be taken. A po­ten­tial solution is to at­tempt to se­cure clients be­fore tak­ing a pho­tog­ra­phy trip. Ap­proach book pub­lish­ers, cal­en­dar man­u­fac­tur­ers and post­card or poster print­ers to pro­mote your ser­vices, or check their re­spec­tive web­sites for ‘want’ lists. This can give your images a more se­cure pur­pose be­fore they are even made, adding value to your ex­cur­sion and re­duc­ing the risk fac­tor – that of in­vest­ment with­out re­turn. Once you ar­rive in the field, al­ways shoot with a pur­pose or im­age func­tion in mind. Make your pho­to­graphs fit the needs of your in­tended cus­tomers, ar­rang­ing com­po­si­tions to al­low for copy to be added, and shoot­ing in the ap­pro­pri­ate frame ori­en­ta­tion and at a suit­able fo­cal length. Whether or not you are shoot­ing for a pre­ar­ranged com­mis­sion, en­sur­ing your shots have max­i­mum ap­peal and sell­ing po­ten­tial is vi­tal for se­cur­ing a com­pet­i­tive mar­ket share and pos­si­ble re­peat busi­ness. If you man­age to es­tab­lish a work­ing re­la­tion­ship with po­ten­tial users of your work, keep them in­formed of your travel sched­ule, so that they can keep you ap­prised of their im­age needs and you can present your­self as work­ing flex­i­bly with them in mind. It gives you a com­pet­i­tive edge if clients know where you will be and when.

To in­crease file ver­sa­til­ity, shoot scenes in both por­trait and land­scape ori­en­ta­tion and take mul­ti­ple ver­sions. Hav­ing du­pli­cate files en­ables you to sell on an ex­clu­sive ba­sis, for higher fees, should a client or agency re­quest this, while hav­ing al­ter­na­tive shots to sell freely.

Be­yond costs, an­other chal­lenge is cap­tur­ing images that out-com­pete the com­pe­ti­tion for the at­ten­tion of

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