Today’s travel photographers are much more than simple employees of travel newspapers and magazines. They are artists, explorers, and adventurers at the same time. They are on a mission to discover the world and show it to the rest of us. Also, they need to stay in touch with their peers at any given time, so they are quite active on social media. Their Instagram feed is always thirsty for new adventures, so they can’t let one single day pass without posting a new photo to document their journey.
Travel photographers need to carry around a lot of heavy stuff. They need a vast array of lenses, filters, and other photography accessories. Sometimes they want to take photos of landscapes. Other times they have to take portraits of local people. Some other times they have to take pictures of subjects in motion. All these types of photography call for different lenses. A good travel photographer is going to have all these lenses in their bag. Moreover, they are also going to need a tripod for shootings with long exposure times or for recording videos.
Travel is one of the most comprehensive niches in the industry. These professionals need to expect the unexpected and be ready to immortalize it in their photos. This means they might need more than one camera. There are situations in which a bulky DSLR might frighten potential subjects and make them run away or change their facial expression. A mirrorless camera would be better as it doesn’t draw attention that much.
You may imagine a small camera with a pancake lens could be enough for most situations out there. This is not entirely true. A travel photographer may need to take photos on a safari trip. There’s no way one could photograph a lion or a panther with a fixed focal length lens and get away alive and undamaged. A tele zoom lens is a much better approach to this type of photography. The bigger the zoom, the safer the individual taking the photos. Besides, if you shoot from a distance, you don’t risk to scare away birds and other animals that aren’t used to see humans in their natural habitat.
Travel photographers may also want to take underwater photos, especially if they visit Bali, the Maldives or other similar places. This means they need special equipment and accessories for this kind of projects.
So far, the necessary gear adds up to a considerable weight. Besides, professional photo equipment is expensive, so these people have to be paid very well to be able to make a living from their work. If they spend everything they make on new equipment, they are going to go out of business sooner rather than later. The good news is that photographers have the possibility of multiple income streams. They can sell their work on stock photography websites. They can get commissioned by major media outlets to photo document various stories. They can make books and self-publish them on Amazon. They can start a photography blog and make money from affiliate offers or from selling advertising.
As you can see, the job of a travel photographer can be very demanding. Nonetheless, if you can make it to the top, it can be pretty rewarding as well. Having your photos published in magazines such as National Geographic and Lonely Planet can be an excellent booster of your authority. Once you become famous, many sponsors are going to line up to work with you. You can live a life of adventure while earning money out of it, but you have to work hard to make it happen.