So you Wanna be a Professional Outdoor, Nature, or Travel Photographer

Almost everyday I get an email from someone who totally loves to take pictures but who totally hates their current job–sound familiar? They all want to know how they can make the jump from enthusiast to pro. They want to live the dream of being a nature, outdoor, or travel photographer and they email me for advice on how to do it. The problem is there is no easy answer, nor is there a ‘correct’ path. I can’t answer their question in a short email; I would need to write a book about how to become an outdoor, nature or travel photographer. And actually I am probably not very qualified to answer–I kinda just fumble my way along and so far things have worked out. 

Fortunately, I know someone who is a passionate photographer, a great business man, and a wonderful teacher. David Duchemin has written a book which has become the bible for those longing to turn their passion into a profession. If you have ever considered making the leap to full-time pro, or if you’re a pro but your business is suffering you owe it to yourself to read, digest, and put into practice all the great advice, philosophy and tips that David has packed into Visionmongers: Making a Life and Living in Photography. There is no other book like it and of all the “How to Make a Million Dollars in Photography” books out there, this is the one that really gets to the heart of the matter and really forces you to ask yourself, “Is this the path I want to take?”. This industry is tough, and the dream can be fulfilled, but realize what you think its like being a photographer is really different the reality of it. David makes you acutely aware of the differences. Highly recommended.  

Visionmongers by David Duchemin

Another resource that is full of great business ideas is from the No BS Photo Success team. These guys (Rob and James) have amazing ideas on how to make a portrait, wedding, and commercial photo studio succeed. Wait a minute, you think, I am a nature photographer, why the hell listen to these guys??? Not only are these guys fun and engaging, their ideas are applicable to any type of photography, it is all about marketing and marketing is what gets you business and buys you pizza and beer (yum, yum!). Smart photographers get ideas from others outside their speciality to make their businesses unique. So, if you live near Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatoon,  or Toronto go see these guys during their No BS Photo Success Cross-Canada Road Show April 2010. Highly Recommended! 


A brand new resource that is jam-packed with good information is Pro Nature Photographer – check it out, I am sure you’ll get some good tips here on how to run your business. Looking forward to continued informative stuff from this website. 


Here are a few more resources you might want to check out: 

Jim Pickerell’s Photo Licensing Options site

Dan Heller’s Business of Photography Blog

How to Go Pro – Ken Rockwell 

Taking the Plunge: Making the Transition to Pro Photographer – Samantha Chrysanthou 

The Stock Agent: Should You Seek One? – Charlie Borland (Part One, Part Two, Part Three

If anyone has other resources that have been helpful please email me and I will add them to this list. 

Good luck with your dreams! 

©Darwin Wiggett


9 Responses to “So you Wanna be a Professional Outdoor, Nature, or Travel Photographer”

  1. What is the real path to becoming a great Photographer?

  2. Anil Sud Says:

    No wonder I could never make it as a pro…I’ve been shooting Canon all these years!

  3. Bruce Nakahira Says:

    Hi, Darwin. Do you have any recommendation for creating a website for photographer.

    Shocks, I’m a Canon guy, too.

  4. That “Buy a Nikon” come back made me laugh out loud!

  5. Anil Sud Says:

    Hey Darwin…If I want to go pro, do I have to buy one of those new fangled digital tripods or will my beat up old tripod for film bodies do?

  6. […] Well… that is a huge question and one that I gave a few answers to back in April in this blog post. But one simple thing you can do while shooting is to try and shoot every composition you make as  […]

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