Camera creatives with a knack for knowing the must-go hotspots in a city can blend their local know-how and photography skills to get gigs as a vacation photographer.
Professional vacation photography involves going with the client to popular vacation spots and taking pictures of them while there. People hire a vacation photographer when they want better shots than simple selfies or don’t want to have one member of their family or group absent from photos because they’re always left taking the photos for the rest of the group. Obviously, this gig works best if you live in or near a place frequented by tourists, such as major cities, historic towns and national parks.
Potential clients include anyone who is visiting your town, but you can specialize in couples, families, girls weekends, reunions, or business groups if you want. Foreign tourists are another major market demographic that loves hiring vacation photographers, so if you have any foreign language skills it might be worth leveraging those. You can make even more money by serving as a private tour guide in addition to taking pictures at all the must-see sites.
The key to success as a vacation photographer is to create stellar frameable photos. Your shots need to be better than what the client would get if they simply handed their camera to a stranger and asked for help taking a picture. A good camera, a computer, and photo editing software are must-have items for this gig, and solid photographic skills are also necessary. You can print out the photos for the client after you’re done with the day’s shoot or provide them on a CD or in an online gallery. Before booking your first gig, you need to set up a portfolio of photographs on a website to show potential clients what to expect. Photographing a few volunteer friends at popular tourist destinations around town is a good way to get images for your portfolio.
You can make up to $200 for a 30 to 60 minute photo session as a vacation photographer, and even more if your clients book you for the whole day. On intensive shoots where you go to a location with the family or couple and take pictures for up to 10 hours a day, you can make thousands of dollars per day plus accommodations and meals.
If you want to work as a vacation photographer but don’t want to handle all of the marketing and booking gigs yourself, try working through a company such as Flytographer, which handles the business end for you.