Destination Photography 101

Destination photography is a popular way for photographers to travel the world. It allows them to explore and portray other people’s lives and cultures. It is a brilliant niche to explore!

But, even though many photographers would love to travel, too many don’t understand destination photography. Or how to get started in this niche in the first place.

In this post, we will help you understand what destination photography is. We will also discuss how to get booked, how to prepare for the journey, and what are they key points to keep in mind. Destination photography is not an easy job, but it will be a wonderful experience nonetheless.

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1. Pick a destination

This is an important decision to make if you have no previous experience in destination photography. It might sound like a great idea to start your journey by travelling to the other side of the world, but people are very likely to underestimate how much time and planning this requires.

Know the location well, study the history, know the language, and know where you can shoot your clients.

If this is your first time exploring a new location, the best way to start your destination photography is to choose a destination that you are already familiar with. The destination can even be within your own country! This will reduce the surprise factor, and it will make you more confident in your work. You are likely already familiar with your home country, and you know that there are many beautiful areas to see. This could be a great start for building your first destination photography portfolio!

Once you decide to explore areas where you haven’t been before, research the culture, the language, and the site of the location before you arrive. This will reduce the stress and the uncertainty of being somewhere new. Remember, when you reach the destination of the shoot, as a photographer, you will pretty much be in charge of the whole operation. And if you aren’t certain of what needs to be done, there will not be other people around to help you either.

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2. Prepare a portfolio section for each location you visited

When it comes to destination photography, what you show is what you get booked for. Do you want to photograph people on the beach of Thailand? Make sure you have those photos in your portfolio!

Your portfolio will speak more for your work, your experience, and your style than you could ever talk through yourself. Whatever location you decide to go to, make sure that your destination photography portfolio reflects your skills and your experience in that area. No one will book a newbie for such a complex job, so make sure that you don’t look like this is your first time doing it. You may not actually be a newbie, but if your portfolio doesn’t have examples of similar work, it is as if you were.

This is why it’s a good idea to start with destinations that are easier to reach until your portfolio is strong enough to show your style and skills. Don’t forget to collect photographs of various elements (water, fire, wind, etc.). You will need them to showcase your ability to work in a variety of environments.

Keen to showcase your travel photographs to the widest possible audience? Download phlow today and show us your photos!

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3. Do the math, and be ready to stick to it!

Destination photography means that you should not be paid just for your work, but for travel, and various expenses that you will have to incur while travelling. Make sure you know your numbers and quote them correctly.

If you are afraid to be too expensive and you cut your numbers, you won’t be able to afford it.

Don’t get too excited about this new destination photography job before you calculate how much it will cost and how much you will earn for it! You need to keep in mind the travel expenses, accommodation, food, and equipment transportation. If you were to pay for these things out of your own pocket, you would soon use up much of the payment for your work.

Preparation is everything when you are a destination photographer. You can help yourself by also consulting with people who have already done it. You will learn more from the mistakes they’ve made than from their success. Make sure that you do not repeat the same mistakes they did.

4. SEO the Heck out of Your Website

If someone searches “beach photoshoot in Thailand”, guess which website should be the first result in Google?

Yours! Learn SEO and pump up your site!

Your website needs to be on Google’s 1st page for the RIGHT keywords if you are to attract any clients for destination photography! Make sure that you have a strong SEO package to help you. The keywords must connect to the location, the style of photography, and frequent keyword search results.

PRO TIP:  The best strategy is to choose a few destinations that you’d like to visit early on. That way, you can work out your strategy to get to them step-by-step. Start from your website SEO and include the chosen destinations in your keywords strategy. Try to find work that is similar to the type of destination photography you would do. Example: if you’d like to get booked for Thailand, find work that includes the beach, nature photography, etc.

5. Marketing, Marketing, Marketing

Know your Buyer Persona. It all comes down to being familiar with your buyer persona. What does that mean? You need to know early on what type of customer is your “ideal client” and then craft your marketing strategy to reach them.

PRO TIP: Download our FREE Buyer Persona template to help you analyse and put together your ideal client profile.

Next, use the power of phlow to reach out to these cultures and make yourself known as a photographer who loves portraying the world through destination photography.

The last, and perhaps most important step is to have a strong, continuous marketing plan. You need to understand who your clients are, what they want, what kind of life they lead, and how you can form a connection with them as soon as possible.

In order to succeed, your planned marketing activities should be carried out regularly and consistently. What does that mean? Your website and social media pages should be updated regularly, your portfolio needs to be spot-on, and your name should pop up first on the keywords you want to be searched for on Google for destination photography. However, if done properly, the rewards that will come with it will be the defining moment for your destination photography business.

We recommend to start with drafting a marketing strategy tailored to your photography business. It will serve you as a basis for your further marketing-related decisions. To help you get on your way, we put together this Marketing Fundamentals Guide ! You can download it for FREE.

Jovana is a marketer with a university degree in International Marketing and a postgraduate degree in Marketing Management. She has almost 10 years of experience in marketing jobs in various industries and business types and a proven track record of over 50 successfully delivered projects related to digital marketing and business growth.
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