With just a Camera and a Sense of Adventure

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Blaine Harrington a great example for photographers who want a job in travel.

At the end of February, Blaine Harrington, boarded a flight from Denver to Venice to begin an intensive three-month photo trip around the world. He is traveling to Italy, India, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Vietnam and China, and transiting through four more (Frankfurt, Germany; Vienna, Austria; Bangkok, Thailand; and Tokyo, Japan). He’ll travel roughly 26,000 miles.


Those who love photography and want to travel the world envy Harrington’s trip and with good reason. Harrington is an award-winning travel photographer based in Denver, Colorado. He was the 2005 and 2006 SATW Travel Photographer of the Year and has worked on assignment for most major news, business and travel magazines. He has over 40 years in the business, has worked in Amsterdam, New York, Paris, and Zurich and has more than 400,000 images from over 70 countries so far.


There are many opportunities to do what Harrington does if you love photography and want to travel the world. If you’re good with a camera, you can become a travel photographer who documents cultures around the world. In most cases, a travel photographer works freelance and sells their photos to magazines, websites, travel agencies, stock image photo companies, hotels, resorts, advertising companies, and book publishers.


In some cases, you will be paid to travel to the destination and take photos, while in other cases, you will need to pay for your own trip and then sell your photographs to earn the money back and make a living.


A career as a freelance travel photographer requires the ability to work independently and knowledge of marketing and public relations. You need to know how to spread the word about the work that you do.


Obviously you need photography experience and the ability to produce beautiful photos and tell a story through the images. Photographers at Wanderlust magazine suggest finding a specialty. “Carving yourself a niche – as a bird expert or underwater specialist, for example –  might make it easier to make a name for yourself,” they wrote in a blog post.


In his post, “How I Make Money as a Travel Photographer in 2015,” Brendan Van Son wrote, “In general, I abide by what I call “The Octopus” approach to income generation. After 2 years trying to make it in traditional journalism, I realized that as a freelancer you need to try to have your hands in as many different pots as possible to survive. Essentially, if I can have 8 different sources of income at $250 each a month, I’ll make my $2000. And, if I lose one source of income, it’s not the end of the world. These are the various sources my hands extend towards.”


It will take time to have such a successful career as Harrington’s and even Van Son’s. After all, Harrington has 40 years of experience, has worked for most major publications and many other travel clients, and has a logistical knowledge of how to put together and do trips that are long and extremely complicated.


“Primarily everything has been figured out and all travel booked,” he said. “I know what I'll be doing on each day and so when I'm there my own problem usually is whether the weather is good or not. Other than that I have local support I have private guides and drivers most everywhere I'll be, so I just need to go about seeing and shooting the locations.”


Harrington will be packing and unpacking gear constantly. “When I fly it has to all fit in two carry-ons and one checked bag, but when I'm in the country and traveling on the ground, I then pull out several other packs and spread the gear out,” he explained. “I have to download photos every night to external hard drives, clean camera sensors, clean equipment, and recharge batteries every night. So there is little extra time to enjoy and relax.”


To see the photos that have won many awards, visit http://www.blaineharrington.com/.



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