Defining yourself as a travel photographer doesn’t require a contract with National Geographic. It simply requires that you travel and take pictures, focusing on quality shots that have mass overall appeal.

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Photo by brewbooks on Flickr

Imagine standing in front of a Buddhist temple, like the one in Bodhgaya, India. It’s been photographed a zillion times, but you’re taking pictures anyway, because that’s what you do. You’re happily shooting away when a rare Siberian Crane flies into view. Now you have a picture of value, something that can be sold to a number of animal and travel magazines.  

If you’re already traveling and photography is a hobby, you can turn the pictures you take into cash by selling them as stock photography. If you’re a photographer, who dreams of exotic locales, you can take your photography business on the road and live out your dream. These tips are designed to show you how you can launch a career that will have you globe-trekking and doing what you love.

Define Yourself

As a travel photographer, you should be shooting anything and everything that catches your eye or may have value.

Defining yourself isn’t relative to what you’re photographing, but instead to whom you are as a photographer.

You must define yourself as a travel photographer. This means claiming the title on your social networks, announcing your position to friends and family and even starting a website. You need people to recognize you as a travel photographer.

Even if you were a slave to dirty dishes, working as a busboy, you can redefine yourself as a travel photographer – so long as you have the talent and the right equipment.

Equip Yourself

You can’t be a travel photographer if you don’t have the right equipment. Not only are you going to need photography equipment, you’re going to need backpacking supplies. You’re also going to need the right education. Some people are born with a keen eye for taking pictures, but most need some sort of a photography education, so while you’re saving for travel expenses take some digital photography classes.

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Photo by Nikon on Flickr

Here’s a brief rundown of the photography equipment you’ll need:

  • A high-quality SLR camera
  • Interchangeable lenses
  • Mobile artificial lighting
  • Photo processing system
  • Tripod

Promote Yourself

Marketing yourself isn’t going to be easy when you’re traveling abroad. You’re going to find that remote locations won’t have much in terms of Wi-Fi access and satellite connections can be sketchy. This means your time spent online will be limited. In order to effectively make sales, you’re going to want to hire someone with marketing experience, to do the leg work, while you’re out in the field taking pictures.

Rich Gorman is a consultant and marketer who works to build links and promote businesses and brands. These types of consultants are masters at building online reputations and marketing businesses. Hiring someone like Gorman is the best way to market yourself while you’re out in the field. They will manage your website while you’re away, ensuring you get a lot of traffic and sales.

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Photo by Abdullah AL-Naser

Photograph Yourself

Finally, it’s important to photograph yourself. Of course, photographing your subject is important, but so is photographing yourself. You need to brand yourself as a travel photographer, so take lots of pictures of yourself in exotic locations. You want travel magazines and journals to see you as someone who gets around, so make sure to document your subjects and yourself – everywhere you go.