Timing and targeting your travel photos

11th May 2011
With summer here I thought it was a good time to write a post that will help travel photographers.

What’s Occurring?
Speaking of timing – any travel photographer will tell you that timing is an important ingredient. I’m not just talking about taking photos at dawn and dusk – everyone knows that! I mean that you need to time your travels to coincide with interesting events. Ideally you want to go during very rare events. It snowed in Barcelona last year, so a savvy travel photographer or travel writer would have booked the first flight out to the Catalan capital. I got there about a week after it melted…

James Appleton http://www.jamesappleton.co.uk/ was much more successful with his timing. He went to Iceland when the volcano erupted and got press coverage from it along with an award winning portfolio in the Travel Photographer of the year competition.

The Raffleasia is the world's largest flower and it only flowers for a few days each year. Dumb luck got me this photo in Cameron Highlands, Malaysia.

This is Kuala Lumpur during Hari Raya, at the end of Ramadan. This trip was planned and calculated and helped get me my first article for CNN.

Feeling festive?
Festivals are a wonderful opportunity because they tend to be annual which automatically reduces the competition. For example, on Alamy (the world’s largest photo library), there are 114,000 photos of Berlin, but only 2000 of the Berlin Love Parade.

There are music festivals, flower festivals, film festivals, religious festivals, beer festivals, cheese rolling competitions, the Highland games and apparently there’s even a baby jumping festival in Spain.

Want to find out which festivals and events are on when, and where?

The best website I’ve found is: www.whatsonwhen.com

Target your travel photos
Photographing a specific event also makes it easier for you to pitch your photos to a magazine. Going to a travel magazine and saying you have some lovely photos of Berlin isn’t likely to get you far. Pitching your Love Parade photos to a travel magazine, gay pride magazine or Lufthansa’s in-flight magazine is much more likely to get results.

The pen is mightier than the camera
If you’re capable of writing the article yourself then you’re even more likely to get a result. That’s how I got commissioned by CNN’s travel website www.cnngo.com

Magazines schedule articles and then photos are found to match them, not the other way round.

If you want to learn how to write travel articles then Wanderlust magazine organises travel writing events and trips, as do Traveller’s Tales. Beware though, travel writing is a whole new art in itself. When you look through travel magazines you rarely find that the writer took the photos because most people are good at one or the other. I like to think I can do both as I was writing long before I took up photography. I just need to work on my public speaking – as you’ll know if you’ve ever listened to my Photoshop videos…!

Warm regards

Dan Waters - The World's Most Helpful Photographer

By TwitterButtons.net


Photo comment By Jason: Do you sell much through Alamy?
Photo comment By Dan Waters: I quickly decided that I wanted to sell through my own website rather than through a photo library. This is because selling stock is largely a numbers game and it is quicker to upload photos to my own website than to Alamy. 80% of photo buyers search on Google rather than photo libraries according to research by Dan Heller. Hope that helps. Dan

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