10 Tips to Help You Take Stock Photos While Traveling

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Do you want to take better travel stock photos but don’t know where to start?

This is the perfect guide to teach you what to be aware of when on a trip and wanting to fit in some stock photos.

Although people think otherwise, travel photography is the same as any other business. There are ups and downs and as any other business, it requires professionalism, administration, and marketing to bring a profit. It may appear glamorous, but the life of a travel photographer is quite lonely and takes many early mornings and late nights. For some, however, this is an interesting field of photography that they prefer over others. Like any business, travel photography needs to make money in order to be worth continuing.

Here are 10 tips that can help you take sellable stock photos every time you travel.

1. Know as much as you can

Travel photographers research their destination an become aware of travel trend and potential places of interest. These are the things that people will probably want photos of.

2. Take as much as you can

Try to take as many pictures of as many subjects as possible as whatever destination you go to — be it a city, country etc. Of course, if you are on assignment, you may not have as much time to venture around. Everything can be photographed, but if you research the are a create a list of possibilities, you can get more.

3. Maximize every location

Stock photography is all about numbers. The more you have, the more possibilities there are of you selling them. Therefore, it’s important that you take as many photos as possible wherever you go. Planning and researching will contribute to this tremendously. However, once you’ve researched and you’re out shooting, keep looking for other possibilities that you may have missed. Look at different angles and perspectives to get the greatest variety possible.

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4. Make every photo your best

Even though it is important to take as many photos as possible, you still need to keep a high  standard. It doesn’t matter if you have 10,000 photos that are not good, no one will purchase them, so always try to make sure every photo you take is the best it can be. That means photographing the subject in the best possible light and composition, and also returning to the same spot, if that is what you need to do.

5. Look for minimum effort photos

Some of the best selling photos are ones that were taken with minimal effort, and cost. Keep your eyes open for potential opportunities around you – that means you capture photos without having to go out of your way to get there, or spend money.

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6. Imagine the story

One of the most powerful elements of photography is that a photograph can tell a much more interesting story than trying to describe it to someone. So, for every photo, try to imagine what the story would be, and what is the narrative that the viewer will take away from it.

7. Think about usage

Will the photograph work as a double page spread, or is your point of interest in the middle of the image? Have you got permission to sell the photo if it is private property? You need to think about all of the different usage elements while on a trip. It’s best to capture the photo in a few different crops, and in both landscape and portrait orientation, just in case.

8. Shoot first, re-shoot later

If the composition and lighting works, make sure you capture the photo. Never assume that you can re-create it later. Sometimes you will be able to capture a better photo the second time, but don’t rely on that.

9. Get model and property releases

Although you don’t need releases in majority of cases for usage of photos in editorials, simply put, photos with model or property releases, “multiply the value of the shots at least 10 fold,”  so do your best to get releases wherever possible.

10. Be ruthless

When editing your photos after the trip, be your own critic when assessing the quality of the photos, and only send or upload those of the highest standard. Every photo should stand on its own merit, not the time or effort it took to take it.

This is a competitive industry, and selling photos is tough. But, with the right attitude, hard work and planning, not to mention practice, over time you will be able to get a sense of the type of images and compositions that sell well as stock photos.

Have you got photos that have sold well? Please share them below.

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