How to start a travel / landscape career?

Discussion in 'The Aspiring Professionals Forum' started by wayne_lee, Jul 18, 2019.

  1. wayne_lee

    wayne_lee TPF Noob!

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    Hi everyone, I'm Wayne and I'm new here. I'm from Canada, now living in Hong Kong.

    I just signed up here and I come to you all because I've put off for too many years something I've always wanted to do, not just a career but the dream. I want to be a travel / landscape photographer and I'm not sure where or how to start given my gear, my experience, and the budget I have to start with. I'd like to be like the Youtubers like Peter McKinnon, Thomas Heaton, Brendan Van Son.


    Ideally, one day I would like to have my own Instagram feed and Youtube channel about landscape and travel photography as I continue to improve my craft and be really good in these areas, especially photographing exotic landscapes and cultures. I want to impart my own expertise on the field on social media, and run workshops eventually. I'd also like to create course content, have a blog, teach students in class, and even have them come shoot with me in different countries as I teach them.


    My challenges are my photography technical knowledge / experience and finances. I am still at amateur level: not bad but would not consider myself professional yet. The greater challenge is how I can leverage myself financially and kickstart my career as a travel photographer through magazine, editorial, publishing jobs, etc. in order for one thing to lead to another, financially and experience and ability wise (just like how Brendan Van Son and Thomas Heaton mentioned). Which way would you guys suggest: saving a lot of money and flying to wherever and shooting whatever I want to build a portfolio, or shoot for travel and landscape companies first so that I can build a following and then leverage those photos I did for publishers and turn it into a personal brand?I've tried to save money by doing normal jobs like sales and other gigs for this so-called dream I'm pursuing, but it's a dread doing something that I hate to do something that I love. It's kind of been like tread milling. So I've put everything off for a very long time, but I'd like to give it a chance for myself to enter the field directly and even if I face the financial challenges in it, then at least I'm still building on my craft.


    My gear and finances are as follows: Gear: Only a Nikon D750 body, 24-70mm f2.8 lens, a 16-85mm, and a 50mm 1.8G prime lensFinances: $17,000 USD in savings.


    So it's important how I use this little money to execute as wisely and strategically as possible.Do I need any more gear? What additional lenses, filter, etc. do I need just to put my food inside the door to get some shots going that's worthy of sales for editorials and publishers? Do I try to land jobs immediately or do I need to build a portfolio by shooting in my local area first? How do I know when I am ready?This is one of those situations where you need experience to get the job, but you also need a job to get the experience.
    Also, I'm taking time off work for the first time in 3 years for travel, so I would like to take 2-3 months to go to one or two of the following countries: Nepal, Tibet, West China, Northern India, Mongolia. These are the kinds of landscapes and cultures I like to shoot and I'm looking to using some of my budget I mentioned for those 2 months to build on my portfolio to hopefully capture some great shots.


    Overall, do you folks have any general suggestions, course of action, or just sources I can look into to get started?This is all very much for me to understand and try out by myself. Help would be greatly appreciated. Many thanks and here is my Instagram, where you can see my passion for the outdoors in my 2016 backpacking trip to the Philippines, Indonesia, motorbike trip in Vietnam, along with some photos of Europe, Japan, and Hong Kong.

    Instagram: wanes.world

    Instagram link: Wayne Lee (@wanes.world) • Instagram photos and videos


     
  2. Soocom1

    Soocom1 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    main point. its not gear, its the photographer.
    So many resources from various web sites to books and professional organizations.

    But the real kicker is the images themselves. Regardless of the gear, its how well you shoot.
    Post, post post and take C&C as much as possible and let it grow.
    the only way to get to the pro status is to become one and sell your stuff.
    otherwise its mostly snapshots.
     
  3. Jeff15

    Jeff15 TPF junkie!

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    Hello and welcome, good luck..............
     
  4. chuasam

    chuasam Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    It's much easier if you're female and conventionally good looking.
     
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  5. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    If you want to take your $17,000 in savings and use it to finance a career as a travel photographer, you can simply send it all to me. The results will be the same and it will be much easier. The era of the freelancer is pretty much gone. There is room for a few, but those people all have something in common. They are excellent photographers and outstanding self-promoters.

    Can you break in to this market? Sure, but it's going to take a LOT of work. You need to be producing images of a much higher caliber than the average person. Looking at your IG feed, your work is nice enough, but nothing really stands out from 10,000 out photographers. What you need to do is improve your craft to the point where you can produce spectacular images of your local area. When you're working head and shoulders about the locals,

    As far as gear, your fine. A long lens (70-200) might not be hurt, and some filters; a CPOL, 6-10 stop variable ND and a few hard &soft G-NDs as well as a tripod should be ample.
     
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  6. OGsPhotography

    OGsPhotography No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Peter McKinnon is a magician. I’ll repeat, hes a frigging magician. Its a magic show.

    Also, two videos from McKinnon was enough for me, hes appealing to the masses though Im turning tk him for real knowledge.

    Also, be like Nike. Just do it.

    Spend your money as you see fit, try to earn and extend your trip. Live on the cheap. Meet some rich people....

    You’ll be young one once. Most people go through their savings, their parents savings, and another 40-200k in loans before they figure life out, if ever.

    Good luck.
    OG
     
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