Marketing As A Local Or Travel Photographer

By Kyle Wilson

Should you market yourself as a local photographer or a travel photographer? Choosing between the two paths doesn't have to be an either/or decision; many photographers find a balance, leveraging local projects while exploring opportunities to travel. 

But there are differences when it comes to where and how to focus your marketing efforts. 

Let’s look at best practices for successfully navigating local and travel photography marketing, including insights from photographers who have made their mark.

Marketing as a Local Photographer

Becoming a renowned local photographer involves deep market understanding and community engagement. Fostering relationships is vital to success in this market, so networking is your top priority.

Building a Local Network

How can you make as many local connections as possible? Be friendly with photographers in your area so they’ll be more likely to refer jobs to you when they’re booked. Seek out events where you can meet vendors. Your relationships with local vendors, from florists to venue managers, are invaluable for referrals - plus, they will be your teammates on the job

Understanding Your Market

When focusing on a local market, there will be a limit to how much you can charge in your area. Only a few photographers can sustain themselves financially in a small local market. 

  • Recognize the financial limits within your area and strategize accordingly. 
  • Grow strategically by expanding your service offerings, targeting the next major metro area, or bringing other photographers onto your team. 

SEO: Dominating Local Search

Your competition is not two or three other photographers; it is the first ten listings in Google search results. 

  • Invest in local SEO strategies to ensure potential clients easily find your services. 
  • One tip is to jump on the back of someone who’s already listed there; for instance, if is in the top 10 listings, it may be worth the financial investment to secure a spot on their homepage.

Social Media Engagement 

Referrals are gold in regional markets. As a local photographer, you can adjust how you curate your posts to make yourself known in the local community.

  • Be the expert on all things relevant to photography in your area: locations, vendors, troubleshooting, even how weather patterns affect specific spots. 
  • Tag the bride and groom and local vendors in your images to grow your local following.

Learn from the pros: Elopement photographer Cat Ekkelboom-White shoots exclusively in the Austrian Alps and the Dolomites and shares her tips for building a super-niche in her home area.

Marketing as a Travel Photographer

Travel photography promises endless adventure and the opportunity to accumulate a diverse portfolio. However, your competition is global, so standing out online is essential. 

Social Media as Your Global Portfolio 

Your social media feed is more than a collection of your work; it is your global portfolio.

  • Be picky about what you post so your feed displays your talent and to garner the type of work you want worldwide; focus on the locales you’re after and use relevant hashtags.
  • Visit our recent article about curating your online image to attract the right clients and maintain a genuine brand image.

SEO: Your Passport to Visibility 

You’re competing in a global market and that means your online presence needs to be as powerful as your imagery. There are many facets to enhancing SEO (that’s Search Engine Optimization), but you don’t need to be an expert to get started. 

  • Prioritize blogging to boost your website's SEO. Narrative Publish helps you create SEO-friendly blog posts fast.
  • According to a 2023 survey, almost half of Gen Z and Millennials use social media as search engines. Improve your visibility by using keywords in your bio and captions, tagging locations, and linking back to your website when appropriate. 

Networking Beyond Borders

There are many successful travel photographers; making personal connections can give you an edge over them. Plus, your new connections can provide insider knowledge and opportunities you may not have seen from afar.

  • Cultivate relationships with wedding planners and vendors in your target destinations. Use social media groups to find them.
  • Travel to your desired location and organize a styled shoot. Reach out to vendors to participate. You’ll grow a network while obtaining images that show your expertise in the area.

Bonus tip: Get your styled shoots featured in digital publications for SEO kickback (the more backlinks you have to your site, the higher your rating with Google).

Professionalism Across Time Zones

Show potential clients that distance is no barrier to your professionalism. 

  • Offer clear communication, transparent travel pricing, and confidence in your ability to deliver stunning results, no matter the location. 
  • For smooth sailing, check out the Top 10 Best Travel Tips for Photographers.

Avoid the Travel Photographer ‘Bucket List’

Listing dream locations at discounted rates makes it look like you value the travel more than the work. A potential bride might feel cheated that you would shoot her wedding at a much cheaper rate if it were in a better location. 

  • Focus on why your vision is worth the investment rather than appearing willing to compromise for the sake of travel.
  • Maintain the integrity of your brand image; if you want to offer discounted shoots, do it privately.

Learn from the pros: As an adventure elopement and wedding photographer, Henry Tieu has amassed over 100,000 followers and is one of the most sought-after elopement photographers and educators. In our podcast, “The Photographer’s Problem,” he discussed the importance of SEO and how to improve your ranking.

Charting Your Path

Whether marketing as a local or travel photographer, focusing your efforts appropriately will help you to build a strong brand that resonates with potential clients near or far. We recommend using our checklist of 10 fundamental photography marketing tasks as an ongoing reference guide to ensure you cover all your bases while fine-tuning as above. 

The Photographer's Problem: A Narrative Podcast streaming now