Do you have aspirations of funding your travels through photography? Breaking into the freelance photography game can seem like a struggle, but it needn’t be too complicated. As far as digital nomad jobs go, travel photography can be immensely rewarding – after all, who wouldn’t want to capture their memories and get paid for it? In this article, we’ll give you some tips on how to find remote work as a freelance travel photographer.
The first piece of advice that we’d give to prospective freelance travel photographers is shoot to document. Document every little detail. You’ll become proficient at identifying scenes and compositions which best tell the stories of the destinations that you visit. It goes without saying that to excel at any discipline, you need hours of practice, and travel photography is no different. Your photographic prowess is often linked to the hours you put in behind the lens, so as a start, just get out there and shoot.
Once you’re back at your laptop and you’re reviewing your images, you need to be ruthless with your culling. This curation process is a vital part of editing, and one which not a lot of people talk about. The reason why this step is so important – especially if you’re looking to bag a freelance photography gig – is because it feeds into our next piece of advice: Setting up a portfolio.
A portfolio should be something that fills you with pride; it gives you an opportunity to display your work as you want to display it. You can either create your portfolio on a website, or create a PDF ‘e-kit’ that you can send to prospective clients. There are numerous advantages to having your own website portfolio rather than relying on social media platforms to house your travel content. For starters, hosting your own portfolio adds a degree of credibility to your work. Secondly, you’ve got control over how your content is displayed. Finally, you’ve got the ability to show of your design chops from a wide range of website templates.
Within your portfolio, try to create stories around your travels. This could take the form of a travelogue, or it could be a general blog series with advice for prospective travelers. Even if your goal is to get into freelance travel photography, you need to show prospective clients how you can bring value as a content creator.
Right, you’ve got a stunning portfolio of images living on the Internet, now what? Well, now the real work begins. Do some research on travel publications, and find magazines and websites that need contributors. A well-crafted pitch email to an editor could (and generally will) get you a positive response. Conversely, you’ll need to accept that sometimes you won’t always get the gigs you want, or that you might need to settle for a few editorial travel features before you find a retainer client that pays you regularly.
With your client relations established, keep shooting and documenting as you continue traveling. Build up a bank of images and travel stories so that when editors reach out to you for ideas, you’re able to pitch fresh, unique ideas.
It doesn’t hurt to add a writing element to your photography work. Being an all-round creative will definitely work in your favor, as companies are looking to hire multi-talented individuals. Adding to your skillset will serve you well when it comes to freelancing, as you can upsell to your clients, charging more for additional services.
Try to create a signature style with your travel images – use one or two focal lengths that convey a specific mood or feeling, and make use editing techniques like split toning and tone curves to keep a consistent aesthetic throughout your work.
Most importantly, understand that the road to becoming a freelance travel photographer can be a long one. You could go so far as to say that the time and financial investment far outweighs other remote assignments, which makes it all the more difficult to crack. Perhaps you’ve always been nifty with a camera and you’re looking to add an edge to your remote working repertoire. Freelance travel photography is the perfect way to do it!
Written by Stuart Hendricks