Travel & Your Photography

There’s nothing like a trip to open your eyes afresh. Whether it’s across the state or in a new city or to far-flung places around the world, our minds react to the newness of it all and our photography follows accordingly. As a parable, when in New York my office is quite close to the Empire State Building, and when I walk by on my way home I see dozens of people pointing their cameras straight up or angling for a good view. I sometimes forget just what might have caught their eye—then I remember the grand old building that is such a NYC landmark. It’s something I walk by nearly every day, and I don’t even bother to look up. For others, though, it’s an amazing site worthy of a photo, and that’s because their eyes are open to what’s new around them.


In this issue we focus on travel photography with a host of articles on memorable trips, locales, and how photographers react to the light, people, and places around them. Some of the locales are “exotic” while others are simply journals of family trips taken by photographers: we hope that one will inspire you to think about how sharing experiences with the ones you love does not preclude making great images as you go.

We also have a comprehensive report on the travel photography market in our Business Trends column. Now that the world is awash in images from every possible locale on dozens of stock and microstock sites, and it seems everyone wants to get into what appears to be a great way to make money with their images, we hear from some travel pros who still make a living with their cameras. But their emphasis on what sells, and the types of clients they serve, should make you consider what it takes to make it a viable market for your work.

There’s no question that the market has changed, and the days when you could take a two-week jaunt down the Danube and hope to make some sales seem like they are over. Not to relive the good old days, but there was a period of my photographic journey when I did just that. But even then it took lots of planning, getting shooting lists from my stock agency, and even contacting travel magazines for their editorial calendars before I went, then editing, submitting, and usually ending up with five placements out of a hundred.

But travel photography is certainly not all about making a couple of bucks from your images. Try an experiment the next time you hit the road. Walk around without your camera for as long as you can stand it. Then open up your bag and take the camera out and note how just having a camera in hand changes the way you see, where you investigate, and how it brings you down roads and into spots where you might never have thought to go without it. Then consider making images of people you meet or see along the way. Take it from me, you never know where that will lead you.