It’s the number one question I get asked, whether it’s in conversation or on social media: “How do I get into travel photography?” And I always try to tell them the truth, and that while it’s amazing and an incredible job to get into (and there are many reasons why it’s so rewarding), travel photography is also very challenging, and has its difficulties, much like any job.
Yes, you get to travel and see some of the best places this world has to offer and work with some amazing brands and clients. But traveling and constantly being away from home can have its issues and downsides you have to prepare for before you jet set.
My hope is that these truths will prepare you for the realities of the job.
1. It’s hard work, not vacation
Travel photography is hard work — it’s not the vacation it appears to be. Yes, you might get to stay at a nice hotel or do an amazing sightseeing tour, but you are rarely relaxing. Your working hours can range from 3am to 11pm, and even later. Sometimes, it takes driving through the night and sleeping in your car to get the shot you’re looking for (trust me, I’ve done this, and it’s not exactly fun, though it does provide a lot of funny memories).
When you’re on a job, you’re always on, whether that’s shooting, organizing, or post production. You’re always doing something, and if you’re not, you’re normally taking a quick nap to recharge for the next shoot. You’re rarely sitting on a beach, sipping on margaritas (even if you do happen to snap a beach photo here and there). In fact, you’ll most likely be drinking lots of coffee instead. So don’t go into travel photography thinking it’ll be a walk in the park, and the vacation you’ve always wanted. You will work, and you will work hard.