The Business Of Travel Photography; Lots Of Clients, But Plenty Of Competition, Too Page 2

In another direction, Karen Gordon Schulman ( uses her Focus Adventures photo workshops and tours as her primary marketing tools. She says, "I keep an updated website, send out e-newsletters, some direct mail--post cards and flyers--lots of word-of-mouth, slide show programs of my travels, some print advertising, and I am currently working with Strabo Tours for my Ecuador and Ireland travel programs. I also actively work with two stock photo agencies--Index Stock Imagery and SuperStock. Most of the photo leasing of my travel photography is through these agencies, both for editorial and advertising usage."

To illustrate how diverse travel clients can be, Schulman gives this example of a sale to a product manufacturer: "Last year my husband, Joel, and I spent a month sailing in the British Virgin Islands. We did not have any specific jobs in mind, but we knew that our underwater photography had the possibility to be used for stock photography. While away my office assistant called to say that we had received a request for fish images to be used for a new Caribbean fish ID product. Since we were doing underwater photos daily anyway, we had fun searching for different fish species that could possibly be used for the product. The company, FishFlips, eventually used 20 of our images to create a Caribbean fish ID bracelet. This led to the same company using our images for their Hawaiian bracelet. They were great to work with and it was a fun project."

© 2005, Karen Gordon Schulman, All Rights Reserved

What if you are looking at travel photography as a career transition or you are just getting started? Philiba recommends, "Learn what makes a good travel photo. Learn your craft: composition, color, shadows, cropping, how to shoot the same subjects in a new more inventive and exciting way, if possible. Study what your prospective clients have done before, and then show them your best photos which relate to their business. Don't give up after your first encounter, I seldom got an assignment or commission the first time I contacted a new client."

Schulman adds, "I would recommend that you have some business knowledge (or find a manager and just do the creative work). I have been in the professional photography arena for 25 years and have learned so much from other photographers, clients, friends, and experiences. Joining a professional association, like ASMP or similar, is a must. It is most important to understand that ours is a service profession. Whether it is a workshop or tour, or an image to be used for a specific purpose, it has value to the client. Providing excellent service is the number one tool for success."

© 2005, Karen Gordon Schulman, All Rights Reserved

Doug Castanedo ( has the last word on the business of travel photography: "The dedication to preparations, details, and perfection is incredible. You have to have a tremendous amount of discipline and self-confidence in your vision...and then it helps if everyone likes your vision...and you."

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