How to Create a Portfolio of Travel Stock Photographs

If you are into stock photography, then one of the niches worth exploring is travel. There is a lot of demand for travel photographs. Magazines, websites, blogs, and travel companies frequently publish articles on travel-related topics. In a majority of the cases, they would not send a photographer to click photos of the place featured and instead would prefer to use stock images. If you have a good portfolio of stock photos, then you can find it to be very profitable. The key here is to create a collection of top-quality travel stock photos. This guide tells you how to go about doing it.

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Taking the best travel stock photos

1) Do proper research

When you are creating a portfolio of stock travel photos, you need to have photos that people want. Many people make the mistake of shooting photos of places they visit and uploading them on stock photo websites. They are later surprised when the photos don’t sell. The reason is photos of certain places are already available in abundance. The chances of your photos selling are reduced.

You need to take photos of places or themes where there are not many photos available. For this, sufficient research is needed. Study travel websites and stock photo websites to know the types of photos available. Also, do keyword research to understand what kind of travel photos people are looking for. With this research, you should be able to work out the photos you need to take that will fetch you good returns.

2) See what your competitors are doing

Your competitors are other travel photographers who sell stock photos. Finding out what they are doing will be helpful. Check out the photos they are uploading on stock photo websites. Look at the categories they are focusing on. This information will be helpful in deciding what you should do.

This doesn’t mean you have to copy other photographers. Get ideas by seeing their work, especially that of the top travel photographers. You can then decide the destinations to explore, the types of photographs to shoot, and how to go about doing it. A good businessperson will always keep a track of what competitors are up to.

3) Look for unique photography opportunities

Once you start shooting photographs, don’t take the same old photographs of popular locations. These photos are a dime a dozen. There would be many such photographs online. So, for someone to buy your photo, it needs to be exceptional. This is why you need to try and look for unique photography opportunities.

Whatever the place you are visiting, find out unique places in those areas. Google for ‘unique places near …’ or ‘little known tourist spots in..’ Such places present great opportunities for travel photographers. You can get great photos in places where you don’t have to battle the crowd to take photos. These photos would be unique and have a better chance of being sold.

4) Walk around as you shoot

A professional travel photographer will ditch their vehicle and prefer to walk. While moving in a vehicle, you are likely to miss out on photo opportunities. Where possible, try to walk around the location where you are shooting. This will help you spot good photo opportunities. Be ready to walk a lot and come prepared. The effort you put in will be worth it when you get great photos.

5) Try to capture details

Most travel photos are of landscapes with wide views. These are standard photos that every photographer takes. If you want your photos to stand out, then focus on details. The photographs must be unique and have details that are not present in other photos. Look for unique views or angles that others have not explored. Capture intimate details that make the photo stand out.

6) Talk to locals

The best way to find out great photo opportunities is to talk to locals. Meet locals at places like cafes, restaurants, and shops. Avoid the expensive places and instead visit shops frequented by common people. Make friends with locals and chat with them. Let them know you want to take unique photos of their city/town, and you will find they would be glad to help you. They will suggest the best and most unique locations to take photos.

7) Use the CLE formula

The formula to take the best photos is CLE – Composition, Light, and Emotion. Take time to compose your shot to get the best effect. Use light play effectively and try to capture emotions, so the photo stands out.

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