Learn how these seven pro travel photographers capture unique and inspirational footage while on-the-go around the world.

Millennials are sometimes called “The Wanderlust Generation.” That’s because young people today tend to value experiences and travel, as opposed to material goods. Take a look through Instagram, and you’re sure to find millions of aspirational travel images under popular hashtags like ​#travelgram, ​#travelmemories​, and yes, even ​#wanderlusting​.

Travel videos inspire us to dream of faraway places, and great cinematographers know how to tap into this generation’s sense of adventure and thirst for exploration. We reached out to seven talented Shutterstock Contributors to see how they create footage that appeals to buyers. Read on for their best tips for making travel videos that sell.

1. Eric Chandler

7 Pro Photographers on Shooting Inspirational Travel Footage — Do Your Research

Video by ​Eric Chandler

Do your research.

Before your trip, look into the footage that’s already available, and think about how your work can be different from the rest. Buyers are attracted to new ideas that haven’t yet been explored.

“These days, most tourist destinations have been well covered,” ​Eric Chandler, the cinematographer behind ​alphaglobal​, tells us. ​“If you want to fly in and shoot profitable footage on a tight schedule, you will need to spend a good amount of time searching the content that has been done already.”

7 Pro Photographers on Shooting Inspirational Travel Footage — Stand Out

Video by ​Eric Chandler

Stand out from the crowd.

In popular locations, you’re inevitably going to end up shooting many of the same subjects as other people. That’s okay. It just means you have to go the extra mile to make work that’s a cut above.

“If your subject has already been covered, you need to have a superior angle, skill, or technical ability to achieve sales,” ​Chandler says.​ “Remember that search results will usually favor the clips that have achieved sales, so your new footage will have to be even better quality to be noticed by buyers.”

2. Evgeny Gonchar

7 Pro Photographers on Shooting Inspirational Travel Footage — Give Yourself Time

Video by Evgeny Gonchar

Give yourself extra time.

Think about how much time you’ll realistically need to complete your shot list, and then add to it. “One thing I’ve learned is to leave a lot more time than I think I’ll need,” ​Evgeny Gonchar​ admits. “It can take a few days or more for me to film some locations properly. Plus, you’ll probably want to capture a wide variety of images at different times of day.” Weather can also be unpredictable, so it’s best to give yourself an extra day just in case.

3. Africa Rising

7 Pro Photographers on Shooting Inspirational Travel Footage — Focus on Quality

Video by Africa Rising

Put quality above quantity.

Several of the experts we interviewed stress this point, including Africa Rising​, a cinematography team made up of four members: Alistair Cotton, Andile Mthembu, Bradley Bell, and Nathan Andrew.

“It’s easy for me as a business owner to simply look at stock as a numbers game,” Cotton tells us. “But I’ve learned over the years that quality is much more important than quantity. It’s better to have 1000 really good stock videos that sell frequently than 10,000 average ones. If you look at the most successful stock photographers, you can see that they have spent a lot of time and effort on producing the very best work they can.”

7 Pro Photographers on Shooting Inspirational Travel Footage — Watch the Market

Video by Africa Rising

Watch the market.

​“It sounds obvious, but it’s important to consider the buyer,” Cotton adds. “Research who is spending the most online as an industry and then produce stock videos—even travel-based stock videos—around a specific industry need.” Keeping track of footage trends can help you stay one step ahead and fill a niche you might not have considered previously.

4. Wide Eye Productions

7 Pro Photographers on Shooting Inspirational Travel Footage — Keep Paperwork in Order

Video by Wide Eye Productions

Get your paperwork in order.

​“Make sure you have all the proper permits for specific shooting locations,” Tom Hadzor, the Principal Photographer at ​Wide Eye Productions​, advises. “For us out here in the Western United States, all of our public lands (where I do a lot of my shooting) require permits. You need to place these applications well in advance, as sometimes they can take a long time to get granted.”

7 Pro Photographers on Shooting Inspirational Travel Footage — Make Lists

Video by Wide Eye Productions

Make a list, and check it twice.​

There are few things as disappointing as arriving on location only to realize you’ve lost battery power or run out of memory cards.

“Make sure your equipment is tested and in proper working order prior to heading out,” Hadzor continues. “Have a good tool kit, first aid kit, proper clothing, and ample food and water. Be prepared for anything. There’s nothing worse than heading somewhere and just hoping it’s going to work out.”

5. Gemini Create

7 Pro Photographers on Shooting Inspirational Travel Footage — Use Different Modes of Transportation

Video by ​Gemini Create

Try different modes of transportation.

Tetsuya Irisawa from ​Gemini Create​ frequently bikes while traveling, though he recommends mixing it up from time to time. In big cities, for example, he opts for public transportation. Using various modes of transportation will give you the opportunity to see a place in a new light and capture views others might have missed.

7 Pro Photographers on Shooting Inspirational Travel Footage — Pack Light

Video by ​Gemini Create

Pack light.

“When shooting travel photography, you might cover several locations in a day,” Irisawa ​explains. “In order to avoid getting tired, I usually carry minimal gear. I choose suitable lenses based on my target locations, and also I also bring along small action cameras like the GoPro, which can be substituted for a wide-angle lens.”

Multiple cinematographers echoed this tip. Bringing too much gear will cost you extra money and slow you down. Pack the necessities, and leave the rest at home.

6. Colin Greenall

7 Pro Photographers on Shooting Inspirational Travel Footage — Pack Smart

Video by Colin Greenall

And pack smart.

Traveling light doesn’t mean skimping on equipment. It just means putting in the time to study how different tools work. With practice, you’ll get better at knowing what exactly you need to bring to each shoot.

“Research different lenses,” ​Colin Greenall​ suggests. “Put a polarizer filter on your lens and see what it does. Don’t just buy a drone or a camera and expect to get great results. Learn how to use your gear effectively. It’s what makes the difference between a great filmmaker and a good one.”

7 Pro Photographers on Shooting Inspirational Travel Footage — Go Early, Stay Late

Video by Colin Greenall

Head out early, and stay out late.​

“Lighting is the most effective way to create beautiful images,” Greenall continues. “Get up early in the morning to capture that soft light. Stay up and shoot at sunset. To get the most out of your footage, plan to shoot your locations at the right time of day.

“Different places will look better in different conditions, so do your research and, if you can, scout your locations beforehand. In many cases, golden hour is without a doubt the best time to shoot. Even the couple of hours before it can make for some nice imagery.”

7. Mila Supinskaya Glashchenko

7 Pro Photographers on Shooting Inspirational Travel Footage — Pick a Good Hotel

Video by ​Mila Supinskaya Glashchenko

Select the right hotel.​

While you’ll spend most of your time shooting outside, don’t underestimate the value of a good hotel. Set up your home base close to the locations you plan to film, and if possible, go for a room with a view.

“When selecting your hotel or vacation home, look at the pictures of the property,” ​Mila Supinskaya Glashchenko​ advises. “Is the room big enough? Does it have multiple windows? Is there enough light for shooting?”

7 Pro Photographers on Shooting Inspirational Travel Footage — Bring Friends

Video by ​Mila Supinskaya Glashchenko

Bring friends.

One advantage of shooting travel footage is that you can combine work and pleasure. Supinskaya recommends bringing the family along or enlisting some friends to be your models. They get a fun trip, and you get collaborators for your shoot. Win-win.

7 Pro Photographers on Shooting Inspirational Travel Footage — Make New Friends

Video by ​Mila Supinskaya Glashchenko

Or make new ones.​

“I’ll sometimes see a beautiful couple vacationing next door to me,” Supinskaya continues. “Every time, I feel shy about approaching a new person for a shoot, but the truth is that people have never responded negatively. Even if they don’t agree to model for a shoot, they appreciate the offer. In my eight years of experience working around the world, only one lady has declined to sign a model release.”

Keep an eye out for people who could bring your footage to life, and don’t forget those releases. “Pack enough model and property releases in advance,” Supinskaya advises. “When you’re stuck on a tropical island, it won’t be easy to find a printing shop!”


Top Video by Wide Eye Productions.

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