8 Travel Photographers Who Exemplify the Quality You Need to Aim For

If you fancy getting into travel photography, these photographers set the bar.

Take a quick look at Instagram hashtags and you’ll see everyone imagines themselves as travel photographers in 2019. It’s the dream. Going from one destination to another, visiting all the cool sites, and capturing everything with your camera in the process. But spend some time in those hashtags, and you’ll find that most of them are mediocre snapshots. The reality is, travel photographers are some of the hardest working people in the industry. Their spectacular frames come from years of effort, sacrifice, and failure. So, if you’re serious about being an epic travel photographer, then these eight photographers are an excellent reference for quality.

1 Cory Richards @coryrichards

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Yesterday's post created some passionate conversation, both in my direct messages and in the comments field. The issue of #climatechange can be polarizing. As a human race, we form our belief systems around what we are taught was well as what we experience first hand. Every person has their own unique experience in life, which means we all have our own individual, and equally real, experience of the world. I'm curious: What is your unique experience of climate change? What have you or haven't you seen first hand? What makes you believe what you believe? I'm interested about all experiences. No wrong answer here. Pictured here: A lone #polarbear shot #onassignment for #natgeo while on #expedition in #franjosefland #arctic #russia

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Cory Richards is a well-traveled photographer whose aim is to encourage intimacy within humanity. For him, the goal is to push boundaries and move the dial. He doesn’t just want to make fresh photographs: he wants to change the world. From portraits to nature, and landscapes to wildlife, Cory is firmly part of the leading pack of travel photographers.

2 Johan Lolos @lebackpacker

Johan is a travel photographer, author, and public speaker. In other words, he’s a man of many talents. But while focusing on multiple projects, his quality never falters. His travel photography is crisp and clean and keeps an authentic vibe, rather than being over-processed. He’s also a big believer in following your dreams, which is something he recently spoke about in his TedTalk.

3 Ami Vitale @amivitale

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Photo by @amivitale. I am thrilled to be running a PRINT SALE and SWEEPSTAKES for #WORLDELEPHANTDAY!! You have until August 12 (World Elephant Day) to pick up a print of THIS image in 4 different sizes printed by the fine art studio of @paperandinkstudio starting at $150 and for a donation of just $10, to enter to win a D5600 camera and two lenses from @NikonUSA, a @ThinkTankPhoto camera bag and a signed 20×30 print of this adorable image to support Reteti Elephant Sanctuary (@r.e.s.c.u.e) in Kenya. Enter and buy a print at amivitale.com/elephants (Link in bio). @conservationorg @sandiegozoo @nrt_kenya @natgeo @natgeoimagecollection @thephotosociety #protectearth #conservation #earth #elephants #saveelephants #worthmorealive #stoppoaching #northernkenya #kenya #magicalkenya #photojournalism #amivitale #nikonusa #nikonlove #nikonnofilter #nikonambassador

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Ami Vitale is a National Geographic photographer – pretty much the pinnacle of recognition a travel photographer could receive. Her love for wildlife is evident in her images. She builds deep connections with her subjects and communicates her empathy to them. Having traveled to over 100 countries, Ami has pretty much seen it all and immersed herself in the myriad of beautiful cultures found on Earth.

4 Cait Miers @caitmiersphotography

Describing herself as an “ocean baby,” Cait has been able to turn her love for travel into her full-time job. Her connection with the ocean is evident in her work. A mix of water portraits, surf sports, and sunsets make up this travel photographer’s body of work.

5 Alex Strohl @alexstrohl

Forbes, Vanity Fair, and Gentleman’s Journal are where you’ll find this photographer’s work. His beautiful nature travel photography makes him a top-rated photographer. He currently sits on 2 million followers, and that number keeps growing. He puts a lot of time into his work, and it’s great to see it all pay off.

6 Cristina Mittermeier @cristinamittermeier

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I was loving the time I spent in the water watching whale sharks feed on fish eggs when I saw a piece of plastic floating nearby and it hit me. What if it swallowed it!?? Every minute the equivalent of one garbage truck worth of plastic waste is dumped into the ocean. Whale sharks are filter feeders who spend most of their time with their mouths wide open, sucking up everything in their path. In an ocean where microplastics have been found in the deepest trenches to the Arctic ice, it is impossible for whale sharks to avoid consuming these tiny pieces that coat the ocean in a plastic smog. Join me and take the pledge to #HydrateLike wildlife depends on it and say goodbye to single-use plastic water bottles! Follow the link in my bio. #TurningTheTide with @lonelywhale, @sealegacy, @bluespherefoundation.

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Cristina loves to be in the sea. More accurately, she loves to be deep down within it, alongside the sea life. Alongside her travel photography, Cristina is also the co-founder of Sea Legacy. The organization sets out to create healthy, abundant oceans that protect those living in them. Her photography is on point, and you can’t argue her dedication. A top-notch travel photographer we say!

7 Chris Burkard @chrisburkard

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Our boat, The Afina, dwarfed by the scale of active volcanoes & thousands of displaced sea birds carries as many crew as passengers. 24 in total. Sailors, engineers, cook, captain, 1st mate etc etc. all with Russian names we are struggling to pronounce, so often exchange smiles or share coffee we brought to show appreciation. Boats traveling in these rough waters are mandated to carry enough crew in case anything goes wrong. We have been lucky with good weather but their stories & videos of evading storms, waking up to boats covered in ash & weeks of bad weather are horrific. . #FromKurilsWithLove @taylorfreesolo @renan_ozturk @jtkerby @tedhesser @rishisugla @tomorrow_unlocked @povel @_ryanhill_

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Still only 33, Chris Burkard is living the life. A jet setting naturist, this photographer’s travel snaps come in at the highest standard. And he is having fun with it too. Always working with a smile on his face, Chris is like a kid in a candy shop as he explores new lands, sharing it all with his audience.

8 Richard Bernabe @bernabephoto


Richard’s travel photography is beautiful. It’s simple, clean, and yet comes with a significant impact. His work ethic and contribution to the genre is a leading example. And if you want to have a mentor to follow, Richard is that guy. In terms of credentials, check this – his work can be found in the BBC, New York Times, and Audubon, to name a few.

Study Travel Photography

Spend some time with the work of these travel photographers. Look at the patterns in their photography and what is popular with publications and audiences. But once you’ve done that, the most crucial step you can take it to get out and shoot. Travel photography is a whole lot of fun. The freedom to move is liberating, and the experience of new cultures is life-changing. But you have to do the work: nobody becomes a success from spending time on the internet. And the odd good photograph doesn’t make you a great photographer. So get out and enjoy yourself, use the photographers as a reference, and become a great, pioneering travel photographer.

Dan Ginn

Dan Ginn is a content writer and journalist. He brings with him five years' experience writing in the photographic niche. During that time he has worked with a range of leading brands, as well as a host professional photographers within the industry.