Most of us like to take happy snaps and selfies, but a few take a deeper interest in photography. Photography is considered an art form and like other forms of art it can be used to evoke an emotional response from the viewer of the captured images. It is both technical and artistic at the same time.
Due to the great advances in technology we can all be photographers simply by carrying a smartphone. The cameras incorporated in smartphones just get better with each generation, but those who wish to take their photography more seriously will invest in a purpose built camera. Because of the digital era in which we live and much easier mobilisation, many have turned to travel photography as a way of life and earning a living. This satisfies two desires at once. The fancy-free lifestyle and the artistic bent.
Travel Photography as a Job
To become a travel photographer, you first have to understand that it is very different from going on holidays and taking a few artistic snaps while sightseeing. Travel photography is a full time job. Your eyes and camera need to be always ready to capture that special moment that tells a story as seen through a lens. It’s not like going on holiday where you plonk yourself down somewhere, not straying too far and take a few interesting snaps. Travel photographers need to be on the move constantly, a couple of days here, a few days there and so on. As the wise man said, ‘It isn’t the destination, it’s the journey that counts.’
Doing the Job
Some photographers earn their living by getting assignments from established clients and basically have a home base. Others, like travelling photographers, incorporate their love of photography into their lifestyle. They have to pitch their images and ideas to travel organisations, companies, and agents to sell the pictures of what they have already taken or to get commissions. It’s a freelance existence with travel thrown in.
Living the Lifestyle
The existence of a roving photographer can be lonely. Like any artist, you may have many friends, but the production of your art is done alone. So, anyone contemplating this kind of rootless lifestyle must be self-contained. Sociable, of course, but not someone who always needs to run with the crowd. Sometimes getting that perfect shot involves a lot of patience and also a lot of hassle. Some perfect moments present themselves suddenly, others may take some waiting for.
Skills You Need
To prepare yourself to become a travel photographer you have to make sure that you have all the technical skills required for the job. Freelance travel photography isn’t a team effort or studio occupation. It’s only you, your camera, and the subject, without anyone else around to ask advice from. Many photographers start as rank amateurs, but because of their love of the medium, they learn more as they go along. To take yourself up to an expert level it would be well worth your while to take a photography course. Along with the technical skills you will learn about composition, angle, and lighting and how to take or manage the shot for maximum impact; to make your images come to life so that they speak to the viewer.
You have the will and the enthusiasm, but what you have to also take with you is some decent equipment. Of course, you want to take the best, which usually means the most expensive. That isn’t always the case. Spend what you can afford but base your spending more on quality and purpose than anything else. Ask advice and investigate the properties and features of the equipment before buying. Read customer reviews of those you shortlist. As you will be travelling, you don’t want to overload yourself with cameras and accessories so choose carefully. As you progress and you become more skillful, you will learn which kit will always make your packing list first.
Patience is a Definite Virtue
A good photographer is quick to sense and capture a fleeting moment, but also patient enough to wait for the right time. The artistic criticism that you develop with experience will teach you to have both the patience of a Buddha and the reflexes of a snake to seize the moment. Only experience and experimentation will teach you to recognise that perfect shot when it is presented to you, but you also need the technical skills to ensure that you capture it correctly.