Tourism or travel for recreational, leisure or business purposes has become a popular global leisure activity. Born from shorter work weeks and labor advances like the concept of vacation time, retirement and longer lifespans plus a desire to see more of the world, tourism has constantly growing only slowed by International conflicts or downturns in the economy. With the global recession waning, the tourism industry is setting up for some explosive growth opportunities in the coming years.
In the United States alone International tourism receipts are $116.3 billion dollars. Not small potatoes especially considering the certain regions, towns or countries rely heavily on tourism dollars as a large part of their local economies.
With all of this expenditures on travel and tourism the highly competitive market for tourist dollars is fierce and this market of hotels, cruise ships, restaurants, cities, counties, towns, attractions, resorts and activities need stock images to entice tourists to come visit their special place in the world.
For the photographer, taking and selling stock travel images at destinations can be a great way to augment the cost of traveling on vacation. Turning part of your vacation into a working vacation can be fun and profitable if one takes the type of stock imaged needed by the travel industry.
Travel images in demand are ones that sell the location. Think about the poor slob in the middle of a slushy, winter day freezing his or her butt off waiting for a bus. They look up and see an amazingly bright, sunny white sand beach with palm trees and a blue ocean. A stock travel image like that sells the concept that they certainly would rather be there on vacation then where they are right now!
Travel stock images can feature a strong sense of place showing local customs, landmarks, food and attractions. The locations can be exotic, historical or just relaxing. A good place to start is to look at your local market. Are there areas near you that attract tourists? Try shooting attractive and enticing images from your local area with out of towners in mind. Most likely the typical well known places like Paris or the Bahamas is already covered with a ton of stock images but perhaps the place you know best, your own backyard isn’t as well covered.
When shooting travel stock images of a location go for the big attractions and landmarks but also don’t forget to shoot the people, culture and food of the region. Details are important when the travel professional wants to sell a location. Often its a good idea to visit a location a few times. The first time you might be too in awe of the spot to properly search for unique shots. A second more relaxed visit might reveal even more great stock images.
In general don’t forget to shoot and compose for some traits that make for great stock images such as leaving room for copy space and getting model releases from any people or trademarked objects that you might be shooting. Who knows maybe your next vacation will pay for itself?
– Edward M. Fielding
Edward M. Fielding is the principal photographer at Dogford Studios, artist fresh stock photography. Part of the Symbiostock Network of independent artists offering their work direct to image buyers, Dogford Studios offers a unique collection of food, travel and lifestyle stock photographs for Royalty-free licensing.