Travel photography never stays in place. In stock photography, this category is particularly important because the demand is all year round. What’s interesting is that you can have several photographers visit the same place, and they’ll never come back with the same images.
We asked 3 professionals and travel photographers to share some insights into the market so that you can take the advice and build on your portfolios. Sometimes it’s hard to find a direction to take your photography next and these professionals might just have the answers for you. After all, every trip is a creative opportunity.
What do you think makes travel photographs stand out?
“Travel photography actually expands horizons and allows you to take a closer look at places where some people may never have set foot. You can submerse yourself in the atmosphere of this place, see beautiful landscapes, people, and experience emotions and thrills of adventure and discovery. These photographs capture risk, beauty, the notion of the unknown, the spirit of discovery and all these things are incredibly attractive.”
“I personally like a personal touch when talking about travel photographs. Just a beautiful picture of a beautiful place is not enough anymore. Because there’re so many places on Earth that are truly incredible but after seeing a thousand touristic pictures of them, you just scroll down thinking like “Okay, that’s Colosseum/Machu Picchu/Eiffel Tower, what’s next?”. But if there’s something that makes you feel that you’re right there, in the moment with the photographer, like a little detail that teleports you to that very place – this I think makes a travel photograph special.”
“I think there’s no one special rule that will make you a good travel photographer. It’s all only in your mind! Just find the place and think about what inspires you. When I find this place in my journey, usually i’m so excited and I have a lot of ideas, and just know how desperately I want to capture it.
Don’t forget about the light. In the morning, you can take amazing pictures if you put people on your shoot. At sunset, you can do the same but in a different light and that’s ,another idea – something magical you can create. I’m sure you probably know all this already.
My advice to you is to find your recipe. Be yourself, find your inspiration and your own colors. Make your photos shine and with all this, you will find your own style!”
In all your travels, what location has inspired you the most?
“For me, it’s Bali. I loved the nature, the people, the ocean, volcanoes, waterfalls and of course surfing. It’s an incredible place where everyone is able to find their gifts from the island. Each person finds whatever it is they’re looking for.”
“One of my favorite spots is the top of Batur volcano in Bali, Indonesia. I’m not that good at sports, and a couple of times I literally thought that I would die somewhere in the middle of getting to the top, but all this really worth that feeling when you’re having a cup of hot tea sitting in the steam of volcano and enjoying the sunrise.”
“In all my journeys, I have really one type of location that inspired me the most. Its mountains and volcanos in places like Norway,the Alps, Iceland. These are the places that made me feel connected so that I could focus on the things I’m passionate about.”
What do you think clients are looking for when searching for travel photos?
“Clients are looking for those incredible landscapes, photographs that translate the mood. They’re looking for people that do make those trips, to dive and contemplate on those places where they would like to go or the places they will never go to.”
“I suppose that of course, quality comes first. I also believe that now, clients don’t want to buy basic pictures that have nothing special in them. Now, big companies also don’t want to use plain boring pictures, so I’d say that catchy photographs with interesting details are always in demand.”
“It’s a good question that doesn’t have one definitive answer. What I will tell you is that first of all, as a traveler, you have to start with a dream. How do you envision your portfolio? Imagine the perfect lifestyle, your dream destinations – what do they all look like? Solve this and you’ll strike what they’re looking for.”
What can photographers do differently, for more creative travel photography?
“Each photographer has their own vision; they see the world differently. If they step aside from just shooting landscapes and try photographing action, themselves, their friends, how they pursue everyday tasks, where they live, how they eat and go about everyday life. The subject shouldn’t always be the most beautiful place, instead it should be photographs presented without embellishments – authentic places, vantage points, different points of view and fragments of everyday life.”
“Try to find new angles, work on details, shoot more real people, try to catch true emotions, all in all try to think differently.”
“I think the best way is to really look around you. Start working on you. Read as many books as possible, or find Internet resources on the topics that interest you. Find photographers that inspire you and imagine that you can come up with something even more unique to offer. How can you take this inspiration and stand out? Find old magazines and books, visit art galleries and just get out there. Open your mind to new possibilities.”
It’s difficult to pinpoint the success of certain travel photographers but one thing that’s true is that each individual photographer has their unique view of the places they visit. It is this vision and bundled inspiration that comes from within that helps to produce work that is both original and captivating.