Do you love to travel and take photographs? In this article, we show you how to start a travel photography business based on your passion for travel.
What is beauty? What makes the world beautiful? It makes sense to suggest that beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder, especially so, when the beholders are women.
Women in India have a variety of options when it comes to a photography career today. Gone are the days when they just had assignments in wedding photography or doing baby portraits.
Fashion Photography is increasingly seeing a number of women photographers succeed, and so is travel photography. Women make great travel photographers because we live, think and breathe beauty.
The more that we go places, travel around the world and see cultures, buildings, food, amusement avenues, diverse geographical features and wildlife, the further our definition of beauty assumes meaning.
Since women like to explore and learn without worrying about the purpose, they derive value from what they learn as they go places and visualize ways to derive messages from visual experiences.
The first Indian woman photojournalist, Homai Vyarawalla, is an icon for women in photography today and showed that Indian women can pursue a career in photography with immense confidence, skill and finesse.
Legendary photographer, Margaret Bourke-White, was the first female photographer to get a job with Fortune magazine in the late 1920s. She was the first photographer from the West to be allowed into the Soviet Union and is also known to have photographed Mahatma Gandhi just a few hours before he was assassinated.
Anne Geddes is a notable photographer of infants and has been an inspiration to many. Other fields in photography include newspaper and magazine photojournalism, nature photography, culinary arts and food photography, sports photography and wedding photography.
Shilpa Gupta, a 26-year-old freelance photographer says “I do a lot of wedding photography, and I’m an artist who sets out to capture the perfect moments of the bride and groom’s special day.”
As Gupta describes it, photography is an art that is just as tricky as painting. The visual aesthetics of the scene have to be perfectly captured. As a woman, Gupta feels that her way of looking at a setting will be different from how a man would see it, and that will reflect in the photograph that she captures.
Aparna Dharmadhikari, who is a Director of Photography, has worked on several TV shows like CID, Don, and Happy Go Lucky and is one of the first women to have been successful in this profession.
7 Steps To Start A Travel Photography Business
Travel photography is a great business for women to start and if they can harbour entrepreneurial ambitions, there’s no stopping them. Here are some steps for women to get started in the business of travel photography.
1. Learn About Photography
The first step is to seek the right education in photography. To start with, photographers deal with technology and the world of photography is evolving every day.
One has to learn the skills of identifying, operating and maintaining photography equipment.
Knowing the basics of aperture, shutter, lens, flash, picture clarity, light customization and different modes, battery life and photo editing are necessary.
There are various universities and mass media institutes that offer professional photography courses, vocational training courses and extra credit programs for ambitious professionals.
Further interning under a veteran professional travel photographer always helps. Networking with people, interacting with them and sharing their experience is important.
You can also do an online photography course, learn how to take amazing images and sell them, whether you use a smartphone, mirrorless or DSLR camera.
2. Purchase Your Photography Equipment
For travel photographers, a lightweight and compact camera for travel photography that is easy to disintegrate, pack and assemble should be preferred.
Not that the performance, features and functionality are to be overlooked but it has to be easy on the person carrying it while travelling. It is a good idea to start with rented photography equipment instead of investing money in high-end cameras.
Remember, that we’re talking about business here. Always keep your risk profile on the lower side, to begin with.
3. Create Your Portfolio Website or Blog
For women to build a business out of travel photography it is important that they switch on their marketing and public relations machinery at an early stage.
A fundamental step in this direction is to create one’s own portfolio website or blog with good photography content. You can also build an online store on your website and sell your images through it.
Remember that it may not be possible to rely on face to face marketing when women are busy travelling to different places owing to constraints of time, distance, costs and lack of verified information about the credentials of prospects.
As such investing in building a travel photography website and digital marketing services can prove to be a very cost-effective means to enhance customer outreach, showcase your offerings, and brand yourself as a photographer.
4. Differentiate Your Photography Services
The next logical step in creating a business out of a passion for travel photography is to define your service offerings and specialize in a specific genre of travel photography. Why is this required? To succeed in doing business you need to understand that strategy is specialization.
As you gain experience and exposure to different genres of photography while travelling across the world, sharp patterns of excellence and strengths will emerge, paving the path for you to understand yourself and your work better and repeat the practices that deliver the best results.
There are various genres of nature photography, wildlife photography, landscape photography, fashion photography and more. Once travel photographers have spent a year or two interning, freelancing and travelling, a picture on the road ahead begins to emerge.
5. Create a Social Media Presence
Once you have a feel for the market, the tastes, and preferences of clients and information on the pricing for different services offered, it is time to go a bit further and invest more capital into social media marketing.
You need to brand yourself, create a niche segment based on specialization and communities of followers on social media for branded photography content to go viral.
Remember that travel photography deals with intangibles, and there are no inventories unless one is planning to sell branded merchandise. Leveraging social media augments the tangible component of business development, brand building, and brand recall generation.
Moreover, it gives local access to resources and prospects. Local contacts, local acclimatization, and local communities enable space-specific learning and can be sources of strategic advantages.
6. Find Your Niche & Monetize
Once your website has been up and operating for long enough (two to three years) and your social media marketing is in full swing, projects should start dropping in.
At this juncture, travel photographers should look back on the journey thus far and reflect on the key learning outcomes.
The point is to look for patterns, trends, and insights emerging from the experience and identify a niche segment that can be a source of advantage in business going forward.
You should from here on, spend time and effort looking for non-imitable and rare aspects within one’s body of work and seek to build on that to create brand equity and differentiate one’s travel photography services.
7. Keep Learning and Be Confident
The path to travel photography is full of twists and turns at every stage. As the journey in other walks of life, travel photography also presents uphill challenges like criticisms from art cynics, higher demands for creative inputs and aesthetics and bargains on the pricing from clients.
The final and never-ending lesson that travel photographers must learn from the experience and keep learning is the skill to deal with not just new geographies, cultures and photography equipment but handling people.
As you get better at dealing with people, your confidence in themselves and in your travel photography as a sustainable business will only grow.
Last but not the least; it is not the camera lens that makes the world a beautiful place. It is the photographer’s imagination that makes the difference. A woman’s perspective is different from a man’s and can add whole new dimensions to pictures.
Women should always be proud of their vulnerability to emotions while working behind the lens. These emotions only add strength to their travel photography.
A wanderer by choice, Michelle Breitstein has an unending love for the mountains. She craves experiences of all kinds and goes wherever her wanderlust takes her. She has explored Switzerland, India, France, Austria, Nepal, Tibet and several places in her own country, United States.
Her great achievements include trekking to Everest Base Camp, Chadar Trek and Bernese Oberland Glacier Trek. She also has an interest in mountain biking, kayaking and leading a nomadic life where she can spare time for travel writing, adventure sports, photography, volunteer travel, and staying cooped in a caravan and guiding a tour. You can connect with her at @iammichelle_05