How to Become a Travel Videographer (+ Tips to Make Money)
Ah, the life of a digital nomad! Traveling the world, exploring different cultures, seeing spectacular sights, making new friends, tasting exotic foods, AND getting paid for it, too! For many of us, it’s the ultimate dream – but how do you actually jump from ‘traveler’ to ‘paid videographer’ in the increasingly saturated online space? Let’s look at some tips and tricks on how to become a travel videographer to help you make the best of your chances.
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While it may not be the first thing you want to hear from us, let’s start with the reality check.
You’re not going to hit the ground running and become a globetrotting multi-millionaire overnight.
If you’re hoping to build up a career as a traveling videographer, you’re going to need the skills.
You’re also going to have to have the ‘hustle’ you need to create fantastic content, sell yourself through online marketing, and build an engaged following.
While this can be the ultimate dream job for the right soul, it’s not an easy way to make bank! But as long as you keep your goals realistic and your eyes on the prize, it’s a dream that can come true.
The Right Mindset: Become a Businessperson
The influencer lifestyle looks amazing… but you’re still a businessperson first and foremost. You need to tap into this mindset.
You’ll be living in different locations, dealing with culture shock, navigating new worlds, making new friends, and learning about local life. It’s very different from taking a 1-week vacation with family.
So you need to keep your eyes on your goals – building your business. Plus, of course, creating amazing video content.
Start with Your Skills
To make money as a travel videographer, you need the skills first and foremost.
Luckily, many fantastic audio and video courses are out there to help you learn.
You’ll need to practice a lot, too, so get used to carrying that camera with you.
Invest in Your Gear
Even the best videographer in the world can’t work magic with poor-quality source material.
While some travel videographers do use cellphones to record raw footage, you’ve got a much better chance of landing the followers and gigs you want if you stand out from the crowd.
At the very least, you need at least one, possibly two good cameras, quality lenses for different effects and situations, and a great audio recorder that plays nicely with your other gear.
Many of the best think further out the box, investing in drone systems for aerials and mirrorless/SLR cameras for shooting interviews and compelling stock footage you can also sell. While you may have to keep it simple to start, remember that great gear produces great results.
Work on Key Business Skills
Many conventional film schools simply teach you with a mind geared towards entering the entertainment industry. If you’re looking to thrive as a travel videographer, however, that’s not the right route for you.
Remember that you will need to wear many hats to make your digital nomad dreams take off.
Not only your videography, but learning more about marketing yourself online and through social media, how to successfully freelance in video content, and general marketing and business skills will be critical on this journey.
Finding Paying Gigs
Realistically, it might take a while to start seeing real money from your efforts. Once you have the skills and gear you need, it’s time to find your clients!
When you hear of ‘travel videographers’, your mind might jump immediately to travel influencers.
If you can successfully build an online social following and monetize it, that’s fantastic! However, if you’re hoping to leverage your new passion for immediate money, social success isn’t the way to go.
- Many aspiring travel videographers start with a company or team.
It can be more restrictive than the true digital nomad lifestyle you crave, but it’s a great way to build a reputation, network, and know you have the security of an incoming paycheck to help you hit the ground running.
- Freelance and gig-work can also be a great way to get paid from the start of your career.
Be proactive in marketing yourself and chasing gigs that align with your goals.
- Transition your day job.
Many aspiring travel videographers start out by keeping a day job and working on their passion on the side. If you look at moving to a country with a low cost-of-living, you can reduce costs and still work on your craft. This is especially great if you have a ‘backup job’ that will let you work remotely while you hone your skills.
Building Social Support
Regardless of whether you’re using gig work to pad your bank account while you build your name, it’s always smart to look to social media channels for added funding and support.
- Start with a website.
Not only does this help people find you, but you can showcase portfolios and promote your services. You can shoot for free to build a video reel if you don’t already have the reputation and portfolio to have one in the can.
- Find good social media.
You don’t need to be on every ‘cool’ platform that rears it’s head, but using image-focused and common social media sites help you build awareness of your work, engage with fans, and put yourself out there. YouTube and Instagram, alongside Facebook, should be seen as the bare minimum. Post every week, and make sure you’re adding value to subscriber’s lives.
Sell Stock Video
Video content is currently booming, with stats suggesting up to 86% of businesses use video as their primary marketing tool.
Not all of them are shooting special videos on location. Many use stock footage to enhance or create their content.
By making and selling stock footage of your own, you can generate a decent income to help you grow. What is particularly fantastic about this is that it can help you build passive income streams, ensuring you can eventually transition full-time to your passion and leave the 9-5 in the dust.
Offer a Range of Services
By thinking broadly, around all the ways you can leverage your footage and skills to earn an income, you not only diversify your revenue sources, but get closer and closer to your goals of living life your way.
Perhaps you can offer services like destination wedding shoots, or create helpful courses to sell your skills.
Many social media accounts leverage direct donations through services like Patreon from fans. Or perhaps you create a great filter, or novel piece of software, for use in your own shoots you can market to other videographers. Make sure you’re always wearing your ‘business hat’ to find ways to make your dreams a reality.
While making a living as a travel videographer can seem daunting at first, it’s also an incredibly fulfilling way to work and travel the world, especially once you can make a great living from it.
With enough passion, determination, persistence, hard work, and a little bit of luck – it’s bound to happen. Just don’t keep count on the number of countries you’ve visited.