Travel photography is quite the popular genre nowadays. Everybody wants to travel, so why not earn a few bucks while doing so? That is all good, and no judging there. However, travel photography oftentimes looks much easier than it actually is. There is a decent amount of planning required on top of regular planning for regular shoots because there is a bigger risk, bigger costs involved and so forth. So let us go over some important things you should know about before venturing out in travel photography.
This has nothing to do with the ability to make panoramas, but more with the ability to shoot commercially viable photographs in a given country. Freedom of panorama is basically a copyright act that forbids or allows photographing public places, monuments, historical sites, national treasures and so forth. Every country has their own set of rules for that matter, and before venturing on a photography trip in the desired country, research if you are actually able to take commercial shots without a permit from the country, city, or specific authors/architects.
Some countries impose quite weird freedom of panorama laws. In Italy per se, if you are Italian, you can’t photograph monuments and churches in which are built by an architect or a sculptor who is still alive or hasn’t been dead for 70 years. However, if you aren’t Italian you can, but only on the condition that you upload the pictures outside of Italy.
You can’t use pictures with people in them for commercial use if you don’t have model release forms. However, you can photograph events, like the Rio Carnival, but only for editorial purposes. This means that you can still earn a few bucks, but the photographs can only be used for newspapers and news websites of sorts.
This is a bit tricky, since the competition is quite big, and the photographs become obsolete quite quickly. Unlike stock photographs which can be sold for years, editorial photographs become obsolete after the event is done, or basically after the media coverage of the event is done.
When you are doing the math on how much you are investing in the trip, versus the projected return from the images you are planning to bring back, make sure you include the full cost. Under full cost, I mean including the cost of your time on top of all the other expenses. Set yourself a value per hour of your time, and factor that on top of the cost for accommodation, transport, food, etc. That way you’ll have the whole picture of how much you’ll spend on the trip, and that way you’ll know how much you need to shoot in order to get to zero. Finally, plan on how much extra you want to make on that trip.
If you are hired to do a gig for a travel agency, for example, that involves shooting certain stuff in a different country. The fee you should set should cover the risks as well. Risks are lower when you are working in your hometown, because if anything goes wrong you have support from friends, family, coworkers and so forth. If anything goes wrong in a different country, however, it will surely cost you more, and it will be more complicated to sort out. That is why you’ll need to adjust your price accordingly.
You don’t have to be a stranger to the place you are going to visit. There are countless ways that you can research and plan ahead for locations, local customs, culture, and so forth. This is imperative for the success rate of the trip and a number of keepers you’ll create. You can use resources like discussion panels on Couchsurfing, photos from the place you are visiting by other photographers, Google Images, local maps, and so forth.
You can also look up tours from travel agencies, and their agendas (you don’t have to book for that), and see some points of interest there as well. This can serve both purposes, either to go there, or avoid it due to large crowds of tourists.
Make the most of your trip, take the greatest number of pictures possible, and experience the place as much as you can. But in order to do so, you’ll have to be prepared, and plan things ahead. In order to be able to make some money out of the shots, you’ll need to be sure that you can legally sell the pictures from that country, and you’ll need to scout out great locations so the photographs are eye catching. In order to profit from the trip itself, you’ll need to minimise your costs and risks so the return is bigger than the investment itself. It’s really as simple as that. Now do the math, do the research, and go visit that country you’ve been planning for ages now.