Travel Photographer

Capture images from around the globe.

Quick Stats

Salary Range
$17,000 – $63,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Travel Photographers do?

A Travel Photographer’s job is to travel to places and photograph them in new and unusual ways. Have you ever seen the moon rise in Paris, or the sun set in Beijing? Have you watched kids play in Africa, or fish swim off the coast of the Galapagos Islands? While for most people, the answer is a disappointed, “No,” for Travel Photographers, the answer is a proud and resounding, “Yes, of course!”

As a Travel Photographer, you’re typically a freelance Photographer. You’re kind of like a Stylist, and your destination is the Model: She wants to look her best, and it’s up to you to dress her up and present her in her finest garb.

With that in mind, your goal as a Travel Photographer is to take photographs that you can sell to book publishers, magazines, websites, Chambers of Commerce, convention and visitors bureaus, government agencies, travel companies, hotels, tourist attractions, etc. All of those organizations use photographs to market, promote, and publicize their destinations to travelers, tourists, and potential visitors, using them, for example, in brochures, postcards, posters, guidebooks, and advertisements.

Although you might be commissioned to take photos, in which case you’ll probably be sent on an all-expenses paid work trip, you typically must travel on your own dime to take these photographs, then reimburse yourself later. As a result, taking photographs is only a small part of your job. The other, much larger part is marketing and selling them to buyers. (Admittedly, selling the Great Pyramid of Giza isn’t nearly as fun as photographing it, but it’s a small price to pay for the view!)

Should I be a Travel Photographer?

You should have a high school degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Trustworthy: You are known for your personal integrity and honesty.
  • Levelheaded: You hold your emotions in check, even in tough situations.
  • Flexible: You're open to change and think variety is the spice of life.

  • How to become a Travel Photographer

    Most Travel Photographers have no higher education and get on-the-job training. Think about earning a Certificate or Associate's degree to increase your competitiveness in the field. Chart?chd=s:9cddaa&chl=no+college+%2864%25%29|certificate+%2829%25%29|associate%27s+%284%25%29|bachelor%27s+%284%25%29||&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,64,64
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