In a world dominated by smartphones, many of us often travel to places, snap a beautiful picture, add a cool filter and then post it for all to see. Indeed, travel photography can seem pretty easy nowadays. However, how many of us truly understand what goes into travelling for a living in order to visually tell the stories of different places, people and cultures?
WHAT THE WORK INVOLVES
Although it's the most prominent part of the job, there's a lot more to travel photography than taking the actual photos. You have to:
• Research places prior to travelling to determine levels of safety, interesting sites to photograph, and cultural norms to keep in mind.
• Search for flights and accommodations at economic rates.
• Plan a list of specific shots and angles before a shoot.
• Use several photographic techniques, equipment and editing software to produce high-quality images.
• Market your portfolio to potential clients.
• Communicate with clients to fully understand their vision and what they require.
WHO IS THIS CAREER FOR?
First and foremost, you must have an eye for interesting, unique scenes which you can use to tell stories, visually and creatively. Good interpersonal skills are also important. Your ability to act in a friendly and respectful way towards people of other cultures can help you immensely. You also need to have a curious mind —one that leads you to explore unknown, unique aspects of a place —along with enough physical and emotional stamina to handle being on the move for long stretches of time. Finally, you must understand how to operate different cameras, pieces of equipment and software. Also, if you're a freelancer, you should have a basic understanding of how to price and market your work effectively.
WHAT CAN I EARN?
Travel photographers, many of whom freelance, can typically earn a low- to medium-level income. While certain jobs may pay well, or you sell certain pieces at high prices, work can often be inconsistent. For this reason, some persons will have to have an additional job which provides a steady stream of income. Conversely, there are some who work in salaried positions at travel/tourism publications, thus giving them more stable income year-round.
HOW DO I QUALIFY?
Today, more persons are being self-taught, thanks to a plethora of online courses and resources. However, some publications may still be more likely to hire persons with a university degree in photography. High-school subjects like visual arts, information technology, principles of business and a foreign language can all help to prepare you to work in this field.
WHO OFFERS TRAINING IN JAMAICA?
• Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts
• The University of Technology
• The University of the West Indies (Mona)
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