Travel Photography: Landscapes, Aerials, and Skylines

 

Lesson Info

Destination Travel

Let's talk about it for a second; they say well shoot at home, but what if you're not? Research the upcoming trends and be the first to go there. Or at least one of the first, right? No one's the first to go anywhere anymore. But you don't want to be the last and, poor Iceland, I always pick on the poor Iceland photos but everybody's going to Iceland and photographing it. I think I heard somebody from their tourism board say something like, "We don't need more people doing "more photos, we're good. "We've got a lot." So figure out where trends are gonna be. I remember when people were talking about Croatia. You know, by the way Croatia is a great vacation destination for Italians. You might not hear about Americans going there but it might be a destination for other countries to go there. So look at what trends are in other cities, and other countries, and where they go on their travel destination, and that might be a really great place, 'cause if people are going there, that means oth...

er people might go from other places and that might also give you a chance to market a story that hasn't been done before. But really research the upcoming trends, and be the ... I say be the first to go there sort of facetiously. But definitely be an early adopter of that trend. So the people who were first to the whole Iceland thing did pretty well with it. And then become an authority on an area by visiting it often, especially if you don't live there. I know it sounds nice, yes. Become an authority on Italy by visiting it often. I'm working on that as much as I can but you know, you'd be surprised. You go two or three times, you keep photographing it. Next thing you know you've got a whole portfolio from a particular country. It might get you a reason to get an assignment to get back to that country for one of the hotels that you're building a relationship with. So, it's not a bad idea to go back to the same places over and over and especially if you like them. You don't have to have the same trip. You don't have to go on the same tour, for instance. But, you can go to the same region. Maybe you always go to a certain region of a country or of a state that you live in or a park, or wherever it is that you're going, right? National park. But, definitely a key thing. This is also the other thing; people always say, "What do you need?" Read magazines, pay attention to what people are talking about and writing, including your friends who travel. That's a really big one. A lot of times if you have a community of other travelers, and people that you talk to, they're gonna be the ones to be like, "This is where we're going," or, "We're taking a month off and going to wherever." I know for a minute, I think like Myanmar was real big and then, you know obviously things change in the global landscape, but talking to people, paying attention, seeing what's going on covers. Bring all that information together. If you really are serious about it, get a subscription to your five favorite magazines and then read each one, find the images that you like and figure out how you can do that same thing. If the market becomes quickly saturated, move on and find somewhere new to go. I mean, this is basically what we were just talking about. If it's already popular, you've probably already sort of missed it. Now that doesn't mean that for everything. But like, is it Skogafoss Falls in Iceland is a very specific destination everyone goes to and photographs; it's very, very dense. I wouldn't recommend going there, but there's probably plenty of other places that are not nearly as photographed in the same area that show it differently and maybe can open up a new opportunity, so. You have to really just keep pushing yourself to be different. I find a lot of people, especially at Tandem will say, "I went to your archive "and I didn't see anything like this, "so I didn't submit it." That's exactly what you should be submitting. It's the stuff that you don't see that fits the genre that should be coming into our archive for sale, for instance. Or your archive for sale, right, or wherever. If you're not seeing it, then that's the market. That's the place that you wanna be. So, if it becomes saturated, move on and find somewhere to go. That's the overview on travel. Any questions about all this stuff? Yes? Just curious: you've mentioned stock photos a lot. Yeah. There's a million sites with a gazillion stock photos. Everyone has really great photos on there. Do you think that's a waste of time? Do you think you just do this go get 'em, you know? Well great question. That's like a whole 'nother class to answer that question. You know, I think no, it's not a waste of time. Yes, there are a lot of photos. I can think of one agency in particular that has 115 million images in it. I think travel really opens up the possibility and I talked a lot about like cityscapes and skylines because they're constantly changing, which means all those million of images constantly need updating. The planet's changing, there's all kinds of changes going on, right? What's happening in Northern California with the fires is devastating and sad, but it's re-shaping the entire landscape, and it will change that industry and it will change how travel there is looked at. So you know, because there's a lot of images I simply, the only answer I really have about that is that you need a lot of images too. And I kind of liken it to buying a lot of lottery tickets. Every time you buy more, you have a greater chance of winning; it's the same thing with photography and especially with stock photography. The day of shooting two or three thousand great images and then saying, "I'm done. "I'm gonna retire and live on my income," are over. It used to be like that, where you could have a library that would generate income and get people selling it, it's not anymore. So having a quantity of work is helpful, and you may see revenue from that. But really it's like any other product. If you have 10 oranges and you sell all you don't say, "I'm done, I'm gonna live off that." You get 10 more and sell those. It's the exact same thing, I think in the photography world today, where you have to constantly be producing a product to sell, and I think that it's not a waste of time. I think it's one piece of a broader diversity of revenue that you need to have in your business. This is definitely something I go into great detail in the bootcamp class, about how to diversify and where all the different channels of revenue are, but stock photography's absolutely a key pillar of it. That's why there's also more agencies than ever before, and they're all different. So a lot of them, and I think the trend in general, one last thought on that is, they're, including ours Tandem, we're outdoor only. Adventure, travel, nature, right? I mean that's the bulk of our work. We really know that space very well, we're highly specialized. A lot of these other agencies are not as specialized. We have a relationship with our photographers. We just had a meeting with a magazine who said, "We love you guys 'cause you can pick up the phone "and call them and find out where on the trail "they were when they took that photo "and give us a quote." They're willing to pay a premium rate for that. You don't find that when you've got tens of hundreds of millions of images elsewhere. So you just have to figure out where you fit, what kind of relationship you want, and what pricing model works the best for you, but there's a lot to it but I think it's absolutely imperative to keep doing it. I don't think it's going anywhere any time soon. Yeah? Does a landscape image become a travel image only with supporting images, like which describes the travel or? Well, I think a landscape image can support ... It just depends on the outlet. I mean you can have an entire story of just landscape images. It could be about Autumn in Maine, and there's maybe one shot of a road and then the rest is just great landscape images. I think that ... I think it just depends, it depends on the outlet. You know, who you're shooting for. If you're shooting for yourself. Landscape images, I think are probably the most single most diverse placement of-- I'm sorry, the single most diverse type of photography because of the volume of placement that exists for them. I mean, think about like flat screen TVs, when you buy the box. Sometimes it might be a city, but it's usually a nature photo. Same thing with cellphone ads. Landscapes have such a broad degree of placement in the marketplace that they're kind of a good business to be in, but they're hard to do. A big part of why they're hard to do, going to your point of watching the edges, I mean a great landscape photo; and again, a lot of this is in this bootcamp, but it's all about those edges and details and looking at the whole frame corner to corner, end to end, edge to edge and all of the different variety. Horizontal and vertical, making sure you have it. They're hard to do because they're time-consuming, but they have great value. Which is why I believe in a really slow process when I shoot my landscapes. My goal, and I just talked to somebody about this. One great photo a day; that's my goal. One great photo a day, and I guarantee you'll do well with that, so. Yeah, any questions online? No? We're good. Hey we're good, all right. Any questions here? Any final thoughts for anybody just ... Yeah, well let me summarize it up. I already got my lesson summary. (laughs) Anywhere you go, even your hometown can be considered travel photography. I mean as I keep saying on this and in general, I mean there's so many markets as we talk about, from luxury travel to camping, and so on. Remember, start wide, work your way in. Cityscapes are like landscapes. Landscapes all have a broad appeal. Make sure you incorporate how people experience the place, alone or with people. Make sure you get your permission and releases, scout your location, work the scene. Keep your work authentic. Look at other people and what they're doing. I think that's key; see what's out there, see what's getting published, and you'll find out. Look at, I think there's like a magazine just dedicated to islands, right? You can just specialize in islands if that's what you so choose, sounds like a good way to go. Educate yourself on what people are buying, and what they're saying, if it's a hot destination. Don't forget about aerial photos, think about how you can get those. Make sure that you avoid all the common pitfalls such as having unrealistic expectations and so on, and become an authority on what it is you're doing. I mean really own it. If you're gonna be the island person, you better know your islands. If you're gonna do travel, you should know your geography, too. I think that's always a helpful way to go. Also you can stay in touch. I actually am publishing most of my work and the best place to stay in touch with me is here on Instagram, @ianshivephoto. I do post on Facebook as well, but mostly I just love it as a platform and stuff, just 'cause it's great. It can be spontaneous. It's a combination of still photos. We also have @tandemstock is our agency Instagram, and you'll actually see a lot of our spreads there; I should have put that up here but it's @tandemstock, T-A-N-D-E-M, S-T-O-C-K. We put a lot of our spreads from our travel magazines and travel placement there, so it might be a great place to get ideas, if that's what you're interested in. Feel free to stay in touch, and I appreciate everybody tuning in with me today. It's a lot of stuff. Lots of stuff. You think oh, travel, I'm just gonna go book a plane ticket and kick my feet up and get some great shots, but there's a lot of things to consider but that's all of photography. How long have you been doing this, Ian? Well, I've been traveling a long time. (chuckles) I travel a lot; I'm actually leaving again very soon, I'm going to Alaska. I travel, I've been doing this, I've been in photography as a full-time photographer and working in an agency side for almost 12 years now. But I started part-time; I had a desk job and I would go and do weekend trips to National parks and it just grew from there. That's awesome. Yeah. You never know where it's gonna go.

Award-winning outdoor photographer Ian Shive shows how to capture the cityscapes and backdrops of your travels. He'll discuss composition, gear and how to successfully capture iconic skylines and viewpoints with a fresh perspective. Round out your portfolio with scenic landscapes that are print worthy.

 
 
 
 

Reviews

  • Great class! Lots of useful information on on how to take, market and sell your photographs, including what constitutes editorial vs commercial work.