The digital nomad life can be exciting for a freelance photographer, capturing diverse landscapes, cultures, and wildlife. They tell stories through still images that can inspire and create awareness for their audience.
If you think there’s no money in photography, think again. Many digital nomad photographers can make a decent living by turning their hobby into a freelance business. But it takes guts and perseverance to hop into this adventure.
Follow on to discover what it takes to become a digital nomad photographer.
What is a digital nomad photographer?
A digital nomad photographer is someone who works remotely while traveling the world. They often work in public areas like cafes, libraries, or coworking spaces. Essentially, anywhere that they can connect their digital devices to Wifi hubs.
Being a digital nomad is more of a lifestyle, not a job. You don’t work a standard 9-5 schedule; instead, you create your work schedule. It gives you the flexibility to explore and create a supportive global network.
But here’s the thing about having a digital nomad lifestyle as a photographer. You may need a side business or a backup plan if you can’t find clients for a certain time.
You can earn roughly $26.43 an hour as a freelance photographer. With that income, most digital nomads live in countries with cheaper living costs.
What are the benefits of becoming a digital nomad photographer?
There are countless life-changing benefits of being a traveling photographer. Going to work can mean taking pictures and editing them from anywhere. But what profound satisfaction can you gain from being a digital nomad photographer?
Here are a few benefits that you might find interesting.
- Traveling. Because you have work flexibility, you can travel frequently. You get to immerse yourself in cultures you only see on TV. The lifestyle can get uncomfortable. But being in places that challenge your belief system fosters growth and understanding of different ideologies.
- Low cost of living. Living in the concrete jungle means a higher cost of living. Rental prices are expensive, and you have to consider commute expenses. You can reduce overall expenses as a digital nomad. You don’t have to waste time and money commuting. Even though cities have their conveniences, being a digital nomad teaches you to live within your means. You’ll realize that you don’t need material things to make you happy.
- Global network. As a digital nomad, you encounter new faces and make meaningful connections with other travelers. Meeting different people may help you find co-living spaces to save money in the long run. If you’re solo traveling, these relationships allow you to gain global networking resources.
Steps on how to become a digital nomad photographer
The number of US digital nomads is steadily increasing, with more than 11 million people venturing into this lifestyle. But before you book a one-way ticket, sit down and think about your freelance photography business.
Ensure that you have a good idea of media production business factors. Thus, you need to understand finance and project management, besides having excellent photography skills.
Here are 8 simple steps to becoming a digital nomad photographer.
1. Develop a freelance mindset
If you’ve been working in an office your whole life, freelancing might sound intimidating. Freelancing is a business model where you sell your skills to businesses that need your expertise. You earn money from multiple clients simultaneously on a per-job, per project basis.
Having skills in photography makes you highly marketable. You can monetize your skills by landing projects with clients and businesses in your travel destinations.
You’ll face many tough situations, so you must be resilient and pessimistic. Most digital nomads report that finding a reliable wifi connection is one of the challenges as a digital nomad. You may use a roaming SIM and VPN to secure your connection to solve this problem.
2. Find your photography niche
Being a jack of all trades is admirable. It means that you’ve experimented with various types of photography. However, you’ll have to choose a niche to make it a career.
Having a photography niche can work in your favor. It allows you to market yourself effectively to paying clients. It makes you memorable. When potential clients think of a particular photography project, they think of you immediately.
Pick a niche type that doesn’t require a lot of equipment. Since you’ll be traveling, you don’t want to lug around unnecessary accessories with you. There are many types of photography, but these are the common niches that digital nomads pursue.
- Landscape photography. Landscape photography involves taking pictures of scenic, outdoor views that bring audiences into the scene. It’s an art that makes people feel like they were present when you captured the image. Since every day is a different moment in nature, every shot brings contrasting emotions.
- Wildlife photography. Wildlife photography takes a lot of patience and respect for animals. It brings photographers to the most extreme places, watching and waiting for animals to get into the perfect shot. Some wildlife photographers get into this hobby because they advocate for environmental awareness.
- Macro photography. The art of capturing tiny living things is macro photography. It involves taking close-up pictures of microhabitats and small creatures that otherwise wouldn’t notice. Macro photographers then develop these images into life-size perspectives.
- Food photography. Another in-demand photography niche is food photography. Restaurant businesses require talented photographers to take pictures of their food for marketing purposes. So some food photographers use unthinkable substitutes to make the food look appetizing. For example, dish soap to make fizzy drinks look better.
- Architectural photography. Architectural photography is quite popular among digital nomad photographers. They photograph cities or urban landscapes and other building details. This type of photography requires steady hands, so most people often bring lightweight tripods.
- Sports photography. Sports photography is broad depending on the person’s interest. It can be adventure-based or international events like the Olympics. They capture every movement of participating players while others snapshot adrenaline junkies in action.
- Travel photography. Another broad photography style is travel. It illustrates diversity around the world through portraits and candid images. Good travel photographers can snap striking cultural similarities and differences.
3. Create an online portfolio and social profiles
Making an online presence is the first step to becoming a sought-after freelancing photographer. A website and social media pages can attract paying clients. But including all your pictures might be a bad idea, so feature only your most promising work.
Clients want to see the best of the best in particular photography niches. Categorizing your work online makes it convenient for them to flip through your output.
4. License your images
Another vital task as a freelance photographer is understanding copyright and usage rights. Licensing your images avoids illegal downloads. You alone have the right to authorize who can use your photos.
You can permit clients to use your images if they pay for your services. After all, you’re the author of your captured scenes.
5. Set your pricing
Your images must have prices, just like any product or service. But photography pricing is tricky for beginner photographers. You don’t want to price them too high or too low for your intended clients.
It’s also important to note about chasing invoices. Be transparent with your clients from the get-go and state your payment terms. For instance, you can establish payment plans and penalty notices for late compensations.
6. Get on freelance platforms
Your goal as a nomad photographer is to find the ideal freelancing platform. It allows you to reach a range of clients all over the world. Some freelance photographers use the following channels:
Once you have an online freelancing platform, you don’t have to write detailed contracts.
Most platforms have robust registration processes to protect clients and freelancers from scams. For this reason, it guarantees users security and timely payments.
7. Use stock photography to sell your images
Stock photography allows you to sell your images to stock photography companies like Shutterstock and Gettyimages. These royalty-free images are not always free. Businesses and blog writers can buy a license to use your pictures for marketing purposes.
Think of your stock photos as a passive income. Some digital nomad photographers earn sustainably from their royalties.
8. Partner with other businesses
Local businesses in your travel destinations may need your services, so show them what you offer. Collaborate with restaurants, event organizers, retail shops, surf schools, and even nonprofit organizations. Reaching out to companies like these might render word-of-mouth endorsements.
Recommended courses for you
Make your photos look professional by owning a photography style. Detach yourself from the beginner label and become a distinguished photographer in your niche. Take a deep dive into this photography course and implement a 3-step strategy to make your pictures look unique and cohesive in no time.
Edit like a pro and give your photos aesthetic drama and that wow factor. This course provides in-depth information on how to use photoshop and lightroom tools. Fast-track the post-processing techniques by creating and categorizing presets. Brighten, sharpen, and blur images to ignite your audience’s emotions.
Want to make your viewers’ mouths water? Upload photos that can make friends and family taste the food on your social channels. Learn how to shoot your meal in the best areas of your house. And by the end of this course, you’ll discover ideal angles and setups so your food can do all the talking.
Take breathtaking landscape shots that bring your audience into the scene and feel the emotions you felt then. Use the right equipment setups and photo editing process to make your photos look even better. When you finish this course, guaranteed you can take award-winning landscape photos.
Why limit your financial success to earning $/hour when you can transform your skills into a highly profitable freelancing business? Start implementing reliable marketing strategies to secure a sustainable passive income. Think differently and streamline your sales and operational activities by automating repetitive processes. This course outlines effective tactics to help you build strong freelancing foundations with low maintenance requirements.
Ultimately, photography is a rewarding skill that opens a myriad of life-changing opportunities. However, there are necessary steps to be successful in this competitive industry. To secure a seat at the table of honorary photographers, you need to develop an entrepreneurial mindset. Your talent is your product, so market yourself out there. The world is waiting for you to discover your potential.