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A travel photographer can be a professional or an amateur who is involved in the photographic documentation of an area’s landscape, people, cultures, traditions, customs and history.

education Updated: Sep 22, 2011 10:58 IST

The lowdown
A travel photographer can be a professional or an amateur who is involved in the photographic documentation of an area’s landscape, people, cultures, traditions, customs and history. A travel photo can help anyone viewing it get a feel of the place. Travel photography is all about a place, its people, or culture. As a travel photographer, you can choose to work for a travel magazine (like National Geographic or Outlook Traveller) or a website. One can also choose to freelance. Freelancers are paid according to the number of photographs they manage to get published. It would help if you have good writing skills

Clock Work
9pm (the night before): Do online search of the city I will be travelling to tomorrow
6am: Reach destination, visit various sites and click pictures as and when something interesting catches the eye – shoot the rising sun, the landscapes or people moving around early in the morning
10am: Interact with locals or get in touch with contacts to explore the area intensively
2pm: Lunch
4pm: Evening trip for some more exploration, speak to some locals and find out more about their culture
6.30pm: Return to the hotel

The payoff
If you work as a regular photo journalist in a magazine then you can take a substantial amount home as your salary. Initially, most of the photographers either have to work as assistants or interns – and during training they are usually not paid anything. On joining an organisation as a trainee you can start earning between Rs10,000 to Rs20,000 a month. Freelancers can make more if they can manage to sell their work to global publications and websites, some of which are likely to pay you as much as $500 per picture

Skills/TRAITS
.
You need to have an eye for photography
. Have knowledge of the customs and cultures of various places
. Communication skills if you have to get through to the locals and do great shoots
. Must be able to manage with limited resources if you land up in inhospitable terrain
. You have to have the ability to stay patient for a good shot to come your way

Getting there
After completing Class 12, interested candidates can go for some courses in photography to understand composition, lights and the frame. After completion of the course, one should apply for an internship in a travel magazine or website

Institutes and URLs
.
India International Photographic Council, Delhi 011-332 7762
. Triveni Kala Sangam, Delhi, 011- 65751099
. Sri Aurobindo Institute of Mass Communication
www.saimc.com
. Xavier Institute of Communication, Mumbai
www.xaviercomm.org
. Indian Institute of Mass Communication
www.iimc.nic.in

Pros and cons
.
You get to travel around the world
. Money is good if you can sell work to international magazines
. Unless you have a regular job, it is very challenging to arrange for regular flow of money
. It takes time and patience to zero in on the novelty factor of a tourist destination
. Things can get uncomfortable sometimes

With the market becoming friendlier to photography as a career, what’s most important is investing time and energy to create a niche for yourself in this increasingly competitive field Sankar Sridhar, photojournalist