Let's start by saying that not everyone who takes travel photos is interested in making money with them and that's fine. For those of us that would like to sell some of our photos of people and places around the globe, however, it's never been easier than in today's hyper-connected world. Still, many novice travel photographers have a hard time breaking the sales barrier and that can be more than a little frustrating. If you're one of those frustrated photographers, I hope you'll find some insight in this article about the most common reasons that travel photos don't sell.
Your photos look like everyone else's.
This is, in my opinion, the main reason that photos of travel destinations don't grab the attention of prospective buyers. Think about how many hundreds or thousands of good photos of your favorite places you've seen online and in print. If your shots are going to stand out in that sea of images, you're going to need to find ways to make them unique.
A change in perspective may be all that's needed. Look for a less obvious vantage point. Waiting for the right time of day (or night) can make an incredible difference. Consider adding some long exposure effects by using an ND filter. Zoom in on the details for a few shots. There are dozens of ways to bring something different to your viewers. Look for them and use them.
There's no story.
This is another problem you'll notice in most tourist shots. Instead of just making a record of the places you visit, try to make your images convey a sense of the place at that moment. What are you feeling? Are you impressed with the grandeur of a landscape? Surprised at the size of a crowd at a well-known tourist attraction? Maybe you're amazed at the brilliant colors of the houses in a quaint Italian village. Take a moment to think about your personal reaction to what you're seeing and how to best bring that feeling to your images. Great photographers are storytellers.
You're ignoring the locals.
Travel isn't just about the place. It's about the beings that inhabit the place, too. Take the time to observe the people in the places you visit and include them in your shots. Capture the culture. Show the children playing in the streets. Photograph the people going about their daily lives. Take some shots of other people visiting those places. Each of these shots is a potential sale, whether to the subject or someone else.
Don't forget about the 4-legged, winged and finned locals. Travel can be a great opportunity for wildlife photos. People's pets can add great interest to a story. When you visit coastal locations, keep an eye out for local and visiting fishermen and their catches.
You're using the wrong platform.
I'm going to say right up front that this is a fairly wide generalization. I'm talking about more than just your website, but the site itself has much to do with the success or failure of sales. Marketing, exposure, e-commerce and cost are important factors to consider, so you need to consider your sales platform carefully.
If you're looking for a place to market your photos or not entirely happy with the one you're using, I'd highly recommend taking a look at KeepSnap. The account is free, and their innovative platform offers unique new ways to market both your images and your services as a photographer. Check them out and I think you'll agree that a KeepSnap portfolio is, at the very least, a valuable addition to your selling strategy.
While none of these reasons may apply to you, taking a good look at them can't hurt. If addressing one or more of them helps you break that sales barrier, my work here is done. Good luck!