Travel photography is an incredible art form and one that I’m proud to say that I’ve spent an immense amount of time on in my life.
Everywhere you go there’s something beautiful to capture, from images of hidden landscapes to the fascinating world of wild animals.
While you can never truly run out of subjects to photograph at home, the world is a big place with plenty of awe-inspiring places to visit.
Travel photography provides unique opportunities to ply your trade and bring back memories that last a lifetime. I put this article together for those wondering about the benefits of travel photography.
1. The Joy of Exploration
Humans have always been driven by the desire to explore and discover. It’s not uncommon for us to push our boundaries motivated only by the need to traverse the unknown.
We have a natural hunger for adventure. And travel photography provides a great way to satiate this need.
When you travel to photograph, you go on a journey to explore exciting and unfamiliar landscapes. You set out with the goal of uncovering new and unique subjects and compositions.
The possibilities of such expeditions serve to inspire us and capture our creative imaginations.
When we discover a new subject, there’s always that sense of exhilaration that stroke our creativities and passions.
The excitement that comes with such discoveries is one of the greatest gifts of travel photography.
2. You’ll Learn to Practice Simplicity
Traveling forces you to bring the non-essentials behind. And photographers are even more prone to do so.
The most essential items in a travel photographers packing list are, unsurprisingly, their photography gear. Which means that we use a lot of the limited space for the tools of our passion.
This type of lifestyle can help ensure that we stay focused on what’s important to us.
What we used to crave instead becomes an unnecessary burden that we discard to make room for those things that truly fulfill us.
In this way, travel photography serves to bring a sense of clarity into our lives, boosting our sense of self and meaning.
3. You Get to Relive Your Adventures
One of the best parts of being a travel photographer is all those incredible moments you’ll be able to capture and preserve forever.
Every time you take out one of your photos, you’ll be taking a walk down memory lane.
The photographic record of your journeys becomes a tangible experience that allows you to relive the moments of mystery, awe, and discovery you felt when you took them.
These photographs also enable you to share these experiences you can share with others, enriching their lives with stories of your travels and adventures.
4. You’ll Meet Other Travel Photographers
Meeting other photographers is probably one of the least talked about parts of travel photography. But it is also one of the most important.
Travel photographers tend to be inexorably drawn to each other when the tell-tale markers of tripods and camera lens are spotted.
The connections we make with our fellow photographers in our travels can benefit us in many ways.
For one, connecting with people who share our passion helps us develop our sense of self and identity as people.
These encounters serve to validate us as individuals and reinforces our ability to express our true selves with confidence.
Knowing that we are not alone regarding the things that are important to us can help drive us to pursue our aspirations with renewed vigor.
Further, the photographers you encounter in your travels can provide you with knowledge and new sources of inspiration for your work.
Sharing experiences and stories with colleagues serve to expand our mind and deepen your understanding of our crafts.
In another, more meaningful way, the benefit of these encounters is that they can form the foundations of solid friendships down the line.
These friendships will be built on shared-experiences and passions, creating an exchange that will help you develop as a person, and as a photographer.
5. A World Of Culinary Experiences Await You
The world is full of delicious food you may never experience if you stay at home.
Every time you travel, you’ll find new foods that will entice your taste buds as much as the visual sights attract and inspire your eyes.
Dining in another country also allows you to experience culture through food.
For instance, Japanese traditions have long highlighted the beauty of simplicity. The people of that country strive to embody that philosophy, and it touches on everything they do, including their food.
Japanese courses often include a few small items with a combination of fresh and simple ingredients.
Their meals are the very definition of simplicity and are strongly reflective of their country and the culture that thrives there.
Also consider Costa Rica, for example. They have a philosophy that is summed up in the phrase “Pura Vida,” which translates to “pure life.”
If you ever visit Costa Rica, you’ll discover that “pure” and “fresh” is a vital component of their meals. Whether you’re eating fish, fruit, chicken, or other foods, you’ll find that they tend to be fresh and delicious.
Or, if you’ve ever dined with a traditional Filipino family, you’ll learn that mealtime is a time for bonding. It is part of a sacred tradition going back through countless generations.
Another benefit of such culinary experiences is that they stay with you forever. You’ll be able to bring them with you and share them with your friends and family.
You’ll also have new things to experiment with that will result in incredible fusion dishes coming out of your kitchen.
While the taquito you make in your kitchen may not quite match the one you had in Mexico in terms of flavor, it’s certainly going to wow friends and family.
There is so much knowledge that you gain in your journeys that can’t be quantified in simple words. And learning how food is prepared in the places you visit is one of the best.
6. You’ll Have Little Pieces Of Home Everywhere
A travel photographer quickly builds little pieces of home through local relationships everywhere they go.
For instance, because I’ve traveled around the globe, I can say with confidence that almost anywhere I go now, I’ll have a connection there.
Such connections serve to expand your world with experiences you won’t find staying in your usual stomping grounds.
Friends in different countries will enrich your life by introducing you to their culture and local cuisines. They will show you unique and beautiful locations you wouldn’t find otherwise.
Further, having friends all over the world means you’ll have minimal problems when it comes to access. That access could be to information about the country, a place to stay, or good company when you travel.
You’ll also be able to help others experience the wonders the world has to offer. Through my travels, I’ve been able to connect friends and family with locals in areas all over the world.
But all of this pales in the face of the most significant benefit of having friends, and that’s having meaningful relationships.
Having people in your life that you care about, and who care about you, is valuable all on its own.
These people become part of an interdependent support system that can help you through life’s rough patches.
They can inspire you when the fire of your passion starts to wane. Having these relationships means that you will never be alone on your journey, wherever the camera or life takes you.
7. You’ll Broaden Your Mind
Traveling is an antidote for the dullness that comes from a lack of perspective.
When you travel, you’ll be exposed to ideas that expand your understanding of the world.
You’ll encounter people who have different priorities, ones that break the mold that you were raised with.
For instance, one woman I met in Spain had devoted her life to surfing and plan to eventually move to Hawaii. Such was her devotion to the surf that she indicated she would only take jobs that gave her the ability to hit the waves every day.
This kind of shifting in priority can be eye-opening for a traveler.
Some of us may have been raised to believe that taking a low-paying career so we can surf when we want is unambitious.
But meeting someone who nourishes her soul not with material comforts but with experiences can force us to discover new ways of looking at life.
In this way, traveling allow us to reevaluate how and why we live our lives the way we do.
It can remind us that the world is full of experiences to be had. That our lives are short, and devoting them to things other than what we genuinely love may not be in our best interest.
The perspective offered by travel can help us restructure our lives. It gives us an opportunity to reexamine our beliefs and realign our moral compass.
Traveling allows us to expand the bounds of our mind in a way that can develop our understanding of our fellow man. It can help us become a more authentic version of ourselves, on top of being able to see the world.
8. You’ll Cultivate Your Creativity
In spite of what most people will tell you, creativity is almost always derivative in its core.
It’s not that we never have an original thought. But, that the experiences we have, add to the pool of inspiration we draw from.
Think of each moment of your life as a unique color you use to express yourself.
And think of traveling as the extra colors you need to paint the most vibrant image possible.
Every time you travel you expand the palette of colors you can incorporate in your creative work.
Studies have shown that spending time abroad can have a profound effect on creativity.
In particular, a study conducted in 2015 shows that those people who spent time abroad tend to show more creativity.
In this study, fashion companies that had directors who worked abroad for extended periods were also rated the most creative. The longer the designers lived abroad, the more creative they tend to be.
Traveling gives us additional tools to draw from when approaching any situation. As we encounter new cultures, we begin to explore ideas from different points of view.
We learn that some things that hold no meaning for us can be profound to someone else. That, in turn, gives us new perspectives on how we approach our creative works.
When you immerse yourself in different cultures, you’ll find your creativity expanding by leaps and bounds. This increase in creativity will reflect itself in the photos you take, and how you capture a scene.
9. You’ll Enhance Your Sense Of Confidence
As we travel, we begin to develop new skills that help us become more confident in our day to day lives.
Anyone who lives in a major metropolis will tell you that street smarts are something that you develop as a natural consequence of living there.
The plasticity of mind that’s needed to be able to adapt to new cultures with ease is something that the avid traveler develops during their time abroad.
This adaptability can transform us and give us the confidence to face the world with confidence and ease.
Traveling beyond your comfort zone can be unnerving at first. But, the longer you spend out of our comfort zone, the larger our comfort zone becomes.
Exposure to things that you’ve never experienced gives you the skills to deal with those experiences. It also propels you to more rapidly adjust to other experiences beyond that.
Out in the world, there are no safeguards and no familiar paths to walk.
Making decisions in such unfamiliar circumstances helps cultivate self-efficacy. In time you may even find yourself setting off on expeditions with little planning.
Every new decision you make broadens the value of your journey. These decisions add quality and depth to the experiences that you have along the way.
10. You Make Beautiful Memories
I have dozens of personal travel stories. Beautiful memories that I love sharing with others.
They involve victories and happiness, as well as losses and heartbreaks (yes, sometimes traveling can break your heart).
But, I wouldn’t trade them for anything.
The experiences behind these stories have shaped my mind and heart with the lessons they bring. These lessons have had such a positive impact in the way I relate to the world, to other people, and most importantly, to myself.
I cannot promise that you’ll experience the same benefits. But, I know many fellow travelers who share the same sentiments.
Wherever you travel your time out in the world will help make you into a well-rounded person.
These experiences made it possible for me to understand others and to better appreciate them as unique individuals.
This ability to empathize with others and understand different perspectives is a gift I gave myself through travel that is beyond any value.
12. You’ll Develop A Fiery Romance With Life Again
With all the beauty and adventure that comes with travel photography, you cannot help but learn to appreciate life in its entirety.
When you view life through your viewfinder, you find breathtaking moments you can capture and keep for posterity.
All of these moments come together to help us truly appreciate all that life has to offer.
When you travel, your life becomes filled with endless beauty, many connections, and adventures that hold new surprises around every turn.
The impact of travel photography will go far beyond merely expanding your portfolio. The places you’ll go and experiences you have will have a lasting impact on your relationship with the world.
With every new person you meet, you’ll stimulate your mind with fresh perspectives and ways of thinking. You’ll grow to appreciate the world we live in a little more.
If you’ve been thinking about taking a vacation or traveling somewhere new, be sure to bring your camera in tow. The images you capture through your viewfinder will expand with your appreciation of the world you’ve set out to explore.