Easy ways to make travel photography more valuable

It’s helpful to study photography trends to succeed in the Age of Instagram

Recently, I had the opportunity to speak to a group of photography enthusiasts. While they may never earn a penny for the images they shoot or have an interest in shooting the same types of subjects I do or even have an Istagram account, I wanted to give them an idea of some of the things that are important to me as a working photographer. So, I created an introductory video to introduce them to my work and give them an idea of what’s happening with travel photography these days.

In addition to some background information on my career, here are some of the tips for making travel photography more valuable:

1. Be visible. While I still love print magazines, so much content has moved online and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Images on the web live a heck of a lot longer than they did in print. A common quote among print industry folks was always “Today’s news becomes tomorrow’s birdcage liner.” That’s not true anymore. Now, unless you’re using Snapchat, photos living in the digital realm can potentially be seen indefinitely by millions of people around the globe. Join Flickr. It’s an easy way to start posting work online.

2. Be social. The power of social media lies in its ability to market your photography and show off your skills. Start a public Facebook page or an Instagram account. Start following other users that you admire and appreciate. Comment on their work.

3. Find a niche. Start a photo blog or an Instagram account that’s all about your photography niche. If you don’t have a niche, find one. It’s your chance to share your love of photography and document everything about your chosen topic. Most importantly, stick to the topic. My Instagram account is about travel photography. I’m often tempted to post pictures of my nephew and niece, for example, but I hold back. That’s for Facebook. The people who follow me on Instagram expect travel photography and that’s what I plan to keep giving them.

4. Study the market trends. Millennials are already driving the demand for certain types of photography. They are used to transmitting every moment of their lives and we see it play out on social media — closeup and personal. This is the #Selfie generation and they love to see themselves doing things. Tourism departments are changing their brand strategy to reflect the trend. The catchphrases are “authentic” and “experiential travel.” People don’t want to just visit a location, they want to connect with it, have authentic and unique experiences that create lasting memories.

5. Don’t give your work away for free. I do have requests from media outlets and corporations to use my photos in exchange for attribution. However, a credit line doesn’t pay my electric bill or equipment maintenance. If someone wants to use one of your photos, be enthusiastic while you tell them how much you charge for the images.

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