I received a fantastic question recently. One that I never thought I would ever receive.
But that’s the beauty of the #AskScottWyden series!
This question talks all about being a nomad and photographer.
Or more specifically, how to run a full time photography business while maintaining a nomadic lifestyle.
The photographer has traveled for a very long time and now wants to start a full time photography business along his travels.
You will see in my answer that it is definitely possible. But there is no “in stone” method to running a business like that.
I hope you enjoy the question and answer.
I’m a nomad. I’ve been moving around since I was 17 (I’m 32), different cities, different countries, different continents… I love traveling, I love being challenged and I love being free, so when an opportunity to go live somewhere comes, I usually take it.
So my main question is: how can I make a living as a photographer considering I might not settle in a place for a while (if ever)?
A little background info: I started with photography living in California, where I was doing mostly headshots of friends and also some landscape when I traveled. The last 4 years I was in Spain, doing mostly kids and family photography, with the eventual fashion or editorial unpaid personal project.
Now I’ve just moved to Australia, and I’ll be here for the next year or so, then go travel again for an year, then probably go back to Spain, but at this point, who knows?!
I’ve never been a full time photographer, and it just so happens that NOW I feel the urge to make this transition, and I see this as my biggest obstacle, but also my best opportunity to do it, since I’m starting clean in Australia.. There’s also the fact that I can’t decide what type of photography I should focus on (as most people say I shouldn’t be all over the place)..
I know I should choose the one that speaks louder to my heart, but considering my ever-nomadic state, I think I should pick one that works best with it.. and I’m not sure which one it is..
I hope to hear your thoughts on this.. Thank you in advance!
That’s a very interesting question. First, cool stuff being a nomad. I know a bunch of photographers, developers and other creatives that are also nomads. It can’t be easy, but I’m sure it’s fun and rewarding to see the world that much.
I can’t give you a black or white answer, but I can put it in a way to maybe get you thinking outside the normal business box.
If you want to photograph headshots then make a name for yourself as a headshot photographer first. Then once you’ve built up a solid portfolio and client base, market yourself as a nomadic headshot photographer.
A way to do both at the same time would be to have your marketing materials include multiple locations. For example, New York City and Paris could be 2 of your locations.
Make sure you also build a relationship with studios in the areas you travel.
Once you have built up something concrete you can then begin to market yourself on social channels, in an email newsletter and on your website – stating that you will be in Rome for 3 days and are offering headshots at a special rate for those 3 days. “Reserve your spot as soon as possible”
- Build a foundation (a headshot photographer)
- Market yourself with multiple locations
- Build relationships and clients
- Promote your travels
Some photographers that have made a career of traveling and getting paid for it include Colby Brown, Trey Ratcliff and Elia Locardi, just to name a few. Each have their own methods and business models. I’m sure you can find your own way as well.
I recently came across NoDesk, which is a website dedicated to sharing resources for the digital nomad. Definitely check that out.
I hope that’s helpful, thanks for the question and good luck in your travels.