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Top tips to build a stunning travel photography portfolio

That will convince your dream magazines to publish you

Your travel photography portfolio is often the first thing potential clients see when considering hiring you for a photography project.
When you pitch a story to a publication you always need to include a link to your portfolio and that’s going to have a large impact on them accepting or rejecting your pitch.
Therefore, it’s important to have a strong and professional photo gallery that showcases your skills and expertise in the field.

Your portfolio needs to answer the usual questions clients ask:
“Why should we publish YOU?”
“Why should YOU be the one telling this story?”

“Because this is a cool story and you need a photographer” is NOT an acceptable answer…

Follow these tips to help you build a killer travel photography portfolio that will make your clients want to publish your photos.

My portfolio has helped me get clients like National Geographic – have a look at my travel portfolio for an example!

Choose a niche for your travel photography portfolio

The first thing you want to do when putting together your travel photography portfolio for maximum impact is niching down.

While travel photography is already a niche, the more specialised and intentional you are with the stories you tell and the images you show in your portfolio, the more likely it will be for an editor to publish you.

One of the reasons why your pitches are not getting accepted might be because editors don’t trust your skills enough.
This is because your portfolio is all over the place and doesn’t show what you are really about as a travel photographer.

Don’t mix travel photography with fashion, weddings, still life etc. 
They speak to different target audiences and editors are not interested in seeing how well you can shoot shoes. Of course, you can choose more than one niche. However, go for genres that relate to each other. 

For example, travel and food, travel and interiors, travel and architecture, travel and portraits, travel and street.
Travel and traditional weddings, for example, are not a strong match – these two genres attract two very different kinds of clients.
Brides viewing your portfolio won’t care about your stories on Vietnam and editors won’t care about bride and groom kiss photos.
Unless, of course, you’re shooting location weddings that have a very strong travel angle – in which case it might work.

Only show photos that reflect the publications you wanna work with

Your travel photography portfolio needs to demonstrate to your ideal publication that you can produce the kind of images and stories they want.

This is counterintuitive and sounds a bit like the chicken and egg situation but let me explain. 

You need to answer the question: who are your dream publications (magazines, newspapers, blogs, websites…) and what kind of photos do they publish?
What stories are they telling? Check some examples here
What angles do they write about?

For example, if you want to work with an adventure travel magazine, you need to showcase adventure work in your portfolio. Images of people rock climbing, adrenaline sports, wild camping in Patagonia etc.
If you want to shoot for a wellness travel blog, you need to have stories about nutrition, health, spas and wellness resorts in your travel photography portfolio. 

You can do this by shooting lots of personal work in the style that your dream publication is looking for. 
Do you want to work for “AmazingTravelMagazine”? Get yourself a few copies, study their style, recreate that style and put it in your portfolio.
Dreaming of working with “UltimateAdventureBrand”? Look at their website, IG, their billboards, ad campaigns and shoot some images that resemble what they are producing. 

Start with your best travel shots

When creating your portfolio, it’s important to only show your best travel photos and include the stories you’re most proud of.

This means selecting your strongest, most compelling images that showcase your unique style and approach to travel photography.
Remember, the stronger the images you choose, the stronger your travel photography portfolio will be, and the easier it will be to get your photos published. 

Depending on the layout you choose for your portfolio website, start with between 30-50 images.
Don’t include mediocre or weak shots just to fill space – quality is more important than quantity in a portfolio!
It’s better to have 20 great shots than 50 good ones.

Showcase your expertise in your travel photography portfolio

To demonstrate your versatility and expertise as a travel photographer, it’s important to include a range of techniques in your portfolio.
This will show that you can tackle different shooting situations and overcome travel photography challenges.

Demonstrating that you’re a well-rounded travel photographer is essential. You can illustrate your ability to adapt to different lighting situations, compose shots, and use various camera settings and editing techniques to achieve the desired look.

This way publications can see that you have the skills and creativity to capture the specific style of imagery they look for.

This could include highly styled shots with perfect lighting and composition as well as candid, spontaneous images that capture the essence of travel.

Let’s break down what you should include:

  • A good mix of commercial-looking and editorial-looking images.
  • Make sure to include bright and colourful images as well as darker moods and tones. 
  • Use both natural and artificial light
  • Mix soft light and hard light

Include a variety of subjects in your travel photo gallery

Following on my previous tip, it’s crucial to show your clients that you can shoot a large variety of travel subjects and kinds of travel photography in your portfolio. 
Even while sticking to your niche and style.

For example, if your niche is adventure travel, you can include variety by shooting biking, climbing, hiking etc.
Or if you’re shooting food and travel, you can mix it up with shots of restaurants, street food, markets, chefs etc.

This creates trust in the fact that “you’ve shot it all” therefore you can also shoot what they have in mind (even if you don’t have that exact subject in your portfolio yet). 

for example, if a client needs you to shoot a desert story in Morocco and sees that you’ve shot the Atacama desert in Peru, they can safely assume you can tackle their location as well. 
If they see car shots in your photography portfolio, they trust that you can do a good job at shooting motorbikes too.

Make sure you include a good mix of:

  • Subjects – landscapes, cities, landmarks, street, people, cultural events, food…
  • Angles – portraits, landscapes, overhead shots, 45 degrees, eye level…
  • Storytelling – action shots, close-ups and macros, larger scenes, people doing things…


Creating a great travel photography portfolio that attracts your dream clients is key if you want to make it as a travel photographer.

By following these tips and shooting lots of personal work, you’ll be able to put together a stunning gallery that your clients will love.
And they will publish your images more easily.

If you have questions, ask them below!
May the light be with you xx

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