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How to build a travel photography portfolio

Ever thought about starting your own online travel photography portfolio store? Read on for some useful tips and advice for setting up your own online store…


Positano, Italy

In association with Shopify

A travel blog makes a fabulous online travel journal. It’s a great way to document trips and adventures and be able to look back on them and re-live the experience.

My blog has evolved over the years from a personal travel journal. It’s now a way to share my experiences and inspire others to travel. It’s also a great way to share destination tips and guides which help others to plan their own trips. The blog is also my own personal travel photography portfolio. I hope people find it useful as well as inspiring.

My travel photography portfolio

One of my favourite aspects of travel blogging is photography. I try to inspire people to travel with my images and give them a feel for a destination. I hope I succeed as a photographer, a creator and an artist. But I want to take the photography aspect further with an online travel photography portfolio of my images. That way, if someone likes an image enough, which I hope they do, they can buy a print copy of it for themselves and I earn a little to help cover the cost of my site overheads.

There’s a fair bit of pressure on travel photographers. The images we choose to display to the world represent us as an artist. They showcase our technical skills and show how well we can tell a story through photography. It’s important to get it right and the same logic applies to building a travel photography portfolio.

To some, they are just pictures, regardless of what is being photographed. However, there is a totally different approach to taking travel-specific photos as opposed to portraits, still-life or macro shots.


Hoi An WomanPortrait of woman in Hoi An, Vietnam


An eye for photography


According to it’s useful to have ‘an eye’ for travel photography to enable you to capture the beauty and character of a destination. Some places or landscapes are incredibly photogenic making it easy to capture breathtaking photos. It’s all there waiting to be photographed. Other scenes are trickier to capture. The weather and the light also have their parts to play and photographers need to be technically adept and flexible in their approach. Creativity and thinking outside the box is also a must.

Maybe you’re creating a photo tour of Budva in Montenegro, or painting a picture of Ios in Greece. Wherever your destination, it’s vital to present it to your audience in a way that makes them feel as if they were on the trip with you. That reason alone is why it’s so important to build your portfolio in a way to showcase your photography skills and at the same time project the depth of a destination.


Old town, Ios, GreeceIos, Greece


Building a photography portfolio isn’t as simple as putting your favorite pictures into a collage. Your portfolio is a professional reflection of your work. You need to plan it so it works aesthetically and as a sellable product. Here are my tips to help you with a successful travel photography portfolio.


Devise a portfolio plan before you travel


Whether you’re just starting out or if you’ve been travelling for a while, you should have a plan in place and know what your motivation is for your travel photography portfolio. Your motivation could be that you want to build a stock library, write a book, or sell your prints.

By understanding why you want to build your travel photography portfolio before you even start travelling, means you’ll capture the right images. Ones that can be used over multiple platforms and showcase your work in the best possible way. This is important because you may actually need more than one portfolio of different images based on the audience you’re selling to and where you’re directing your marketing efforts.

Another factor to consider is to be flexible when shooting. Some locations are difficult to get to or can be expensive. You may never be able to visit that destination again. Do your research. Be aware of the shots you want to capture and what you actually can capture. Make the absolute most of your time and importantly make a list.


travel photography portfolio


Preparing for your trip

There are some preparation tips you can make before travelling that will help you get the most out of your destination.


  • Research your destination and look at all the different locations that will give you the best photo opportunities.
  • Use apps so you know what time golden hour is and the direction of sunrise/sunset.
  • Learn how to work with bad weather or strong sunlight.
  • Play around with lighting and white balance.
  • Be sure to know your camera and equipment thoroughly.
  • Make a list of which shots you want to get and the best times to shoot.


According to, developing a good eye for photography requires practice. It also requires getting to know your camera and its settings well. Operating on auto-mode limits your ability to take the best possible shot. The images that tell a story bring out the details and nuances of a location. Take time to learn every button and function of your camera to get the best images possible.



What to look for in a destination

A travel photography portfolio can cover many subject matters or niche down to just one or two. These are seven types of subject matter you could try to capture in your destination photography.


  1. Wildlife
  2. Portrait
  3. Food
  4. Culture
  5. Architectural structures
  6. Landscape
  7. Cultural events
  8. Street Photography


These subject types are some of best that will help people feel like they were with you on the journey. You might only find one or two of the above at your destination but that’s perfectly okay.


Squirrel Monkey, Costa Rica


When you’re taking photos think about the angles. Try to get a different perspective – crouch down and shoot from the ground or shoot looking down from a balcony or rooftop. Think about rule of thirds and try and keep images interesting and original.



Use depth of field to focus on your subject or for landscapes keep the whole view crisp and clear . Use different camera lenses for different situations.

Image selection

Selecting which images to use is a skill in itself, as is knowing which to cull., Here you’re selecting the best photos. Images which showcase your technical skills and creative eye. You’ll probably have multiple photos of the same subject matter so select the strongest photos. Ditch any that aren’t 100% in focus.


Bear in mind whether you’re building your portfolio to sell in your online store or maybe capturing images for stock photos. They’re two completely different markets.

Selling your photos on the site

In order to sell your photos in your store, you have to build it first. There are many website builders but is easy to use and user-friendly for all technical skill levels. Basically, if you can follow instructions, you can build your website and sell your photos on your site.

Choose from various options for customers to buy. Make your photos downloadable or allow your customers to order custom size prints. A clever way to drive sales is to make your images customizable depending on the photograph.


Cheese filo roll with goat’s milk labnehFood in Sharjah


You could get even more creative and have some of your photos available as stickers or cards. Make them printable to different products like t-shirts, cushions or coffee mugs. There are many options to choose from and your site will give you the freedom to sell your images however you choose.

The more you travel the more photos you’ll take of beautiful destinations, cultures, landscapes and architecture. You’ll be constantly building up your photography portfolio and continually have new material for your online store which will keep your customers coming back for more.

Do you have an online travel photography portfolio? Please share in the comments…