7 Popular Travel Photography Jobs (With Essential Skills)

Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 15 September 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Travel photography is a lucrative career option for skilled photographers who love to travel. Though it may not provide conventional work hours, it can be engaging and satisfying. If you are creative, have a keen interest in photography, like to travel and are currently exploring suitable jobs, knowing more about travel photography jobs can benefit you. In this article, we examine various travel photography job options, their roles and responsibilities and some essential skills for a travel photographer.

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What Are The Different Travel Photography Jobs?

Travel photography jobs are ideal for those with a passion for photography and possess the necessary soft skills. A travel photographer may be an amateur or a professional who documents landscapes, culture, wildlife, people and experiences through photos and videos. With a rise in demand for quality photographic content, there is a corresponding supply of unique licensed stock photographs that can support it.

Travel photographers can work on their own as independent contractors, with media companies as salaried staff or as travel journalists or bloggers. You can choose a job that suits your interest, skills and preferences. If you are looking for travel photography jobs, you can consider the following roles:

Freelance travel photographer

An amateur or a professional freelance travel photographer takes travel-related pictures and videos for a client. They may not work full time and choose clients and projects that interest them or pay well. Their clients may include individuals, magazines, websites, publishing houses, media houses, hotels and content writers. They may create pictures and videos of interesting locations, adventure tourism, culture and heritage at local and international destinations.

An updated portfolio, a functional website and a significant social media presence can be important for a freelance travel photographer. Photographers can earn money by promoting commercial brands and products on their website, or their personal and professional social media platforms. As an experienced professional, conducting in-person or online travel photography workshops is another way to earn an additional income.

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Photojournalists work in-house or on a contractual basis for print, web-based or visual media companies. Apart from taking professional travel-related photographs and videos, they may also write to support visual material. Travel photojournalists cover multiple types of assignments and may make visual records of the beauty and infrastructure at a destination, report on culture and heritage, explore local food, document the activities at tourist spots or find things to do during a holiday. Experienced photojournalists may take up time-sensitive and challenging assignments like covering natural disasters, wars, famines or the impact of climate change.

Photojournalists usually have unique aesthetics and may develop a signature style so that their work becomes evident. Knowing how to negotiate rates, contracts, perks and benefits, reimbursable expenses and insurance for equipment is essential for a freelance photojournalist who travels frequently. Since they market their own services, perseverance, self-motivation and research skills can provide an advantage while securing work. As they may frequently travel to remote places, they also require strong survival skills and the ability to safely navigate dangerous situations.

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Travel blogger

A travel blogger creates engaging and interesting content related to personal travel experiences and publishes content on online platforms. They may focus on making content documenting vacationing experiences, adventure tourism, food, heritage, culture, architecture or personal exploration. Potential travellers look for advice and recommendations from experienced travel bloggers. Most travel bloggers host their website, create a unique brand name, start blogs with visual content and attract traffic on their pages using digital marketing practices.

Travel bloggers can use their content to promote specific destinations, give tips on travelling and educate followers about inherent risks that certain travel experiences incur. Travel bloggers with large followership typically get sponsorships for travel and accommodation. They can also earn money through affiliate marketing, social media campaigns and from advertisements on their webpages. They may sell their photographs and videos to individual clients or stock footage agencies. Travel bloggers can also publish tour guides and coffee table books, and contribute to long-form media formats, like podcasts and interviews.

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Destination wedding photographer

Destination weddings are a global trend where couples and families choose to organise weddings in exotic locations. A destination wedding photographer travels with the group to record and document events before, during and after the wedding ceremony. Photographers research the location, identify spots for memorable pre-wedding photo shoots, discuss photo shoot ideas with the couple and set up scenes and props accordingly. They arrange necessary equipment and work in a team to conduct shoots as per the couple's and family's requirements.

Wedding photographers may work with one or more assistants to assist them in their preparation, so that they do not miss crucial events during the ceremony. Destination wedding photography is a high-paying job and most photographers offer packages for couples to choose from. Apart from creating high-quality, customised photographs, they require skills like negotiation, persuasion, attention to detail, planning and patience to complete a wedding assignment. With experience, they can set up their own company or continue to work with event management companies.

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Cinematographers are experienced professionals who work to create documentary films, internet videos, films and television series. They are responsible for taking important decisions regarding the aesthetics, lighting, framing and colour palette of every shot in a feature film, short film or documentary. They work closely with directors to support their creative vision. As part of their duties, they choose the visual style and set up camera and equipment accordingly for each shot. They decide on the type of camera to use to get the best shot and the frame that best captures the activity of a scene.

Travelling to locations and studios before the shoot, planning and placing equipment and props and conducting rehearsals to prepare for the shooting, are additional duties of a cinematographer. A cinematographer travels with the film crew until they complete shooting and may also assist with post-production activities. You can learn cinematography at a film institute to become knowledgeable about the technical aspects of photography. It is a well-paying job that gives recognition and respect, as their role is crucial for the success of a production effort.

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Wildlife photographer

Wildlife photography is an ideal career for those passionate about wildlife, photography and travel. Physical fitness is important for these professionals, as they may navigate tough weather conditions and dangerous terrains carrying equipment to capture wildlife in its natural habitat. Knowledge about animal behaviour, survival routines and first aid techniques are crucial to prevent or treat injuries and accidents during an assignment. They may spend many days pursuing an animal or a bird sighting, and hence, patience, determination and perseverance are key qualities in a wildlife photographer.

Television channels, wildlife conservation agencies, nature enthusiasts, book publishers and documentary and movie producers hire the services of wildlife photographers. They can also work as freelance photographers and sell their photos and videos to interested clients. Many wildlife photographers publish books, conduct wildlife photography courses and organise photo walks and treks to earn additional income.

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Cruise ship staff photographer

Cruise ship companies may hire one or more photographers to record events and to make portraits for their guests. The primary responsibility of a cruise ship photographer is to shoot videos and photographs of guests on a ship and at destinations where the ship docks. They process footage and images to edit and sell to the cruise company. They may travel outside the ship with guests to click photographs using natural locations as a backdrop.

Staff photographers also cover events like costume parties, game shows or music shows that cruise companies arrange to entertain their guests. They may work to achieve revenue targets, by selling photos, videos and accessories during a cruise. Maintaining the camera and other equipment on board in good condition is an additional responsibility of a cruise ship staff photographer.

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What Are The Essential Skills For A Travel Photographer?

Travel photography could be a career option for many aspiring photographers and it promises adventure, travel and independence. Apart from essential photography skills, travel photography jobs require additional soft and hard skills to succeed. If you are looking for a travel photography job, consider developing these competencies:

  • Planning

  • Attention to detail

  • Multitasking abilities

  • Visual design skills

  • Technical knowledge

  • Patience

  • Determination

  • Self-motivation

  • Stamina

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