How To Do Photography In Tourism Industry (A Complete Guide)

A picture of the Eiffel tower with the rising sun in the background; and the picture of Koutoubia Mosque, in Morocco, standing defiant despite being built in the 14th century would most likely have the same effect on audiences. They would elicit a passion for travel and adventure. More people are drawn to tourism through pictures than any other means. This is the power of photography in the tourism industry.

Without a doubt, a picture that accurately depicts the culture or story of any geographical religion, and influences its audience to want to visit or at the least affect them emotionally is a great tourist picture. Do you wish to take such amazing pictures? Then this article is exactly what you need.

Tourist photography is an exciting niche of photography. It is a marriage between a “special-interest-tourism” and photography. Unlike mass tourism where you just up and visit places, special interest tourism is characterized by a predetermined expectation. It’s either to enjoy the architecture of a place, the wildlife, or even the food. Add photography and you are a tourist photographer,

Consider this article a definitive guide to photography in tourism. We will be looking at tourism within the scope of photography. Ultimately, you will be well-equipped to know how to launch out as a tourist photographer. If you are already one, you will get extra tips that will allow you to flourish even more.

We cover all you need to capture captivating tourist photographs. The sections covered include:

  • Planning
  • Preparation
  • Execution

We Highly Recommend You To Read More > How to Planning for Travel Photography Trip?

Tips To Photographing In Tourism Industry

01. Planning

Every great execution is a product of amazing planning. This principle applies stringently when it comes to taking professional pictures as a tourist. Where just about anyone with a decent phone camera can snap pictures when traveling, the best pictures are a product of planning. Below are a few key steps to planning.

  • Set Your Objective
  • Location
  • Photography kit
  • Season

Set Your Objective

Setting your objective is key. As a tourist photographer, you are not a part of mass tourism, but special interest tourism. So, what is your special interest? Is it food, people, architecture, landscape, or wildlife? Establish your interest and you are on your way to achieving awesome pictures. 


What locations in the world have a rich source of inspiration based on your objective? What you hope to achieve determines your preferred location.

If your objective is to shoot wildlife, then the Kalahari Desert in Namibia and Shark Bay in Western Australia are better options than Tuscany in Italy. The rule is to pick a location that will offer you an abundance of subjects for your specific interest in tourism.

Photography Kit

Compiling your photography kit is perhaps one of the most important aspects of planning. Your niche of photography will determine what your kit should be made up of. Generic equipment needed in your kit includes a camera, lenses, tripod, lighting equipment (stobs, flash, etc), camera bag, belt, SD cards, batteries, hard drives, and a laptop.

Your niche would determine the specific equipment. If you will be snorkeling or scuba diving in the Bahamas, then, you need a DSLR camera, camera housings, fish lenses, etc.

If you are particular about the wildlife in Uganda your kit should include an LSR/DSLR camera, zoom lens, etc. And if you are particular about landscape photography in Peru, apart from your camera, you would need your tripod and wide lenses.


The ambiance of locations changes based on the prevailing weather condition. Pictures of the mountain ranges in the Alps taken during fall or springtime are more beautiful and clearer than ones taken in winter.

This is a regular occurrence for all niches of photography. Knowledge of the seasons of your geographic location, therefore, gives you an edge, ensuring you prepare properly for your trip accordingly

02. Preparation

Having prepared accordingly, the next step is to prepare. Nothing sucks more than realizing halfway into your trip that you forgot to take extra batteries for your camera, and you are headed for a rural community. Some of the key areas to appropriately prepare for include:

  • Location knowledge
  • Safety
  • Mobility
  • Equipment Safety


A thorough knowledge of your location is needed. The fact that a place is open to tourists doesn’t necessarily mean there are no restrictions on what pictures you should take. A perfect example is temples in India which often require you to take permission before taking pictures of monks.

Hence, ensure you get all the required information on whether or not you will be allowed to take pictures of your interests, and if you are allowed, what procedures you must follow.


Safety is key. As much as it is adventurous to travel around the world to capture what interests you, it is also dangerous. It is a fact that Mount Everest is littered with dead bodies. There is a record of death in the world-famous Trollstigen pass in Norway. 

Also, where a location is inherently safe, the population there might be in conflict. Therefore, however appealing these areas are, often termed “war zone”, it is better to avoid them. Several organizations, both private and government often publish areas tourists should avoid. This is to ensure safety.


Mobility is key. You will be hauling your equipment in several bags, along with other basic survival items like snacks, blankets(If necessary), first aid kit among others specific to the location and niche of photography. The last thing you want is to expend your energy trying to carry and organize all of these. Also, there are risks of theft and loss.

The key to successful mobility is to travel light. Of course, this is achievable, For every steel-grade photographic equipment, there is a lightweight alternative that will give you the same or even better quality. So, while gathering equipment, always target lighter equipment and gadgets. Another trick is to go for collapsible equipment. This applies to tripods.

Equipment Safety

Some of your equipment are sensitive. Protect them at all costs. Some of this equipment includes your lenses and camera. Water and dust can lead to a malfunction. Hence put this sensitive equipment in suitable protective casings. Also, watch out for scratches, and brute force from carrying your equipment from one place to the other. 

03. Execution (Best practices)

You finally made it to your location and despite being tired you feel pumped and ready to begin your adventure as a tourist photographer. Below are some best practices that would help you achieve your goal.

  • Take permission
  • Be Mobile
  • Be Ready To Shoot
  • Stay Focused
  • Choose The Right Company
  • Do not rush a picture

Take Permission

Yes, this has been mentioned earlier on. However, it is worth re-mentioning. Depending on your location, don’t go shooting without ensuring you take permission from the right quarters. This is a safety precaution that can save you from loud booing, and in rare cases mobbing. 

Be Mobile

Move only with the most important equipment. You might be moving with a group of other photographers, so resist the urge to show off yOur rich collection of lenses and awesome cameras. Stick to what you need, which might be your camera slung around your neck, and one or two lenses in your backpack.

For more elaborate photography like wildlife, blankets, zoom lenses, and snacks are required while you stake out a tiger. Consider taking your collapsible tripod for landscape photography. 

Be Ready To Shoot

You never know when a gazelle will dart out of the bushes as you sit patiently on your tour vehicle in a park in South Africa. Always be ready to shoot. Consider your camera a gun and you are in a war zone. The last thing you and to be unprepared for is to take a shot when needed.

Stay focused 

This is important. You are not supposed to shoot everything that appeals to you. If you are in Florence, Italy to take pictures of the amazing architecture, stick to it. Resist the urge to take pictures of lovers, sunsets, or people. 

Choose The Right Company

If you will be working through a tourist service provider, then there’s all likelihood, you will be grouped in company with other tourists. if this is the case, choose your company well. As much as possible, move more with photography enthusiasts and professional photographers. This will be of great benefit to you as you get to share ideas and learn from other people. 

Do Not Rush A Picture

Do not rush a picture as much as possible. For landscape pictures, always set out in the early morning hours or just before sunset and position yourself to take deliberate pictures. For wildlife photography, set out when you know animals or your target animal specie will come out.

For underwater photography, set out when the sun is brightest to illuminate the water. For cultural photography, set out early enough to capture events at their peak. 

Respect Culture

So far, we have touched on the need to understand the peculiarities of your location. Understand the people, and areas you are to avoid either for safety reasons or because you are not wanted. Shrines, religious gatherings, military sites, and related places should be avoided as much as possible except you have a go-ahead from the local authority.

Helpful Questions

Is photography a part of tourism?

Photography has always been a part of tourism. From sending postcards to posting pictures of amazing locations on social media, photography plays an important role in the tourism industry

Can a non-professional photographer take awesome pictures as a tourist?

Awesome pictures are a product of planning, preparation, and observing best practices. As long as these are put into consideration, then even a non-professional will take amazing pictures.

Are there any risks in tourism photography?

Yes, there are risks in tourist photography, but they can be avoided. This is why sticking to safety procedures, avoiding war-torn or unsafe regions, and researching a location before traveling are all important.

My Final Thoughts

Tourist photography is an integral part of tourism and also a unique niche of photography that appeals to a lot of photographers.

It can be seen the combination of two really interesting subjects, tourism, and photography. To successfully begin your career, read this article, and if you are already a professional, then refresh your knowledge with some of the tips share.