How To Become An Adventure Photographer

Feb 20, 2019

Your Influencer Coach & Fellow Content Creator

I'm an Instagram influencer coach and lifestyle content creator based in Arizona. I help others live out extraordinary lives through my influencer career advice, travel guides, and life hacks.

I'm Dani!

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Ever wish you could get paid to travel while capturing the beauty in this world? Well, you can!

In this post, we’re going to talk about how to become an adventure photographer—and yes! It is a real job. With the help of social media, becoming an influencer, especially in the travel space, is easier now than ever.

You have the ability to share your photos and get paid by tourism boards and big name brands to visit some of the many natural wonders in this world. That’s exactly how I got my job, and now I’m going to walk you through my best tips for making this your reality too.

Let’s get started!

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My Adventure Photographer Story

I didn’t become an adventure photographer after “quitting my 9 to 5” to jet-set around the world.

I was fired from my first job out of college.

Now, what the heck does this have to do with becoming an adventure photographer? Well, a lot, actually.

You see, I was manifesting something BIG before I was let go. The travel bug already hit me hard, my organic Instagram following was growing, and all my little heart wanted to do was break away from my office and SEE THE WORLD.

I knew FOMO very well.

I would go to bed wishing I could be outside every day, but HOW? I was way too scared to leave my steady job and take the leap. So I guess the Universe heard my prayers because that beyotch got me fired. HAHA.

I took this as an opportunity to go full force into becoming an adventure photographer.

Read Next: How to Beat the Instagram Algorithm

How to Become an Adventure Photographer - Sunrise at Reflection Canyon in Utah

Tips for Becoming an Adventure Photographer

Now let’s dive into the juicy stuff and talk about my best tips on how to become an adventure photographer.

Step #1 Believe in the Unseen

My journey began after being fired from my 9-5. And you know what that taught me?

YOU CAN’T PLAN FOR THESE THINGS. No matter who you are or where you are or what you’re looking for in life, you need to get it through your head that there will never be a right time.

You just have to start.

Wanna become an adventure photographer? START. Start taking photos. Start editing pictures. Start studying the work of photographers you love and see why their work sings to you.

Start pitching brands and see if you can shoot their products in your free time. If you don’t do anything else, just START.

And you want to know what the biggest favor I did for myself was? I BELIEVED in me.

Was I an adventure photographer yet? Nope! But I believed that’s what I was working towards was REAL. I believed that if all these other people could, I could too.

I had grit and believed in what didn’t exist yet.

Think of it this way: if you can dream of something, then it does exist somewhere. Someone else out there is living YOUR dream. Otherwise, how else did you come up with it, to begin with?

Get serious and throw doubt out the window until you’re a badass adventure photographer.

How to Become an Adventure Photographer - Sunrise at Reflection Canyon in Utah

Step #2 Build Your Adventure Photographer Brand

In all of my blogs about how to grow and get paid Instagram sponsorships, I always talk about building your brand.

Who are you? What do you want your work to say about you?

There are so many other “Danielle Rodriguez”’s floating around that I knew Dani The Explorer would be my way into the world.

I have the social media handles and domains to make sure this brand is mine.

Find a style you love for editing images and use that to help color grade your social feeds and add a personal, recognizable touch to your photos.

I have presets I use to edit all of my images. When someone sees one of my pictures, I want them to say “Oh! That’s Dani The Explorer’s photo!”.

Read Next: Best Aesthetic Photo Editing Apps

Girl standing on top of Artists Bluff in fall-2

Step #3 Use The Gear You Have

You do not need fancy equipment to become an adventure photographer. However, you need to become an expert in the gear you have.

Learn all your camera settings, watch YouTube tutorials, and practice! To become an adventure photographer, practice creating visually inspiring images.

While I don’t believe you need to have the most high-tech equipment in the world to succeed, as your skill grows, you will want the equipment to match.

I have a blog about  photo gear for bloggers and photographers who primarily post on social media. 

Going to the Sun Road Sunset in Glacier National Park

Step #4 Go Out and Explore (How to Become an Adventure Photographer Must-Do)

Adventure photographers go on adventures. Even if you are starting out and only have weekends to work with, try to find a couple of hours on your next Saturday to take a hike or explore somewhere new.

Most people believe that you have to go somewhere grand.

You can literally just explore your local area. The key here is you want to adventure outside your home so you can capture new content. New places and content keep your portfolio fresh.

Larches in fall at Banff National Park

Step #5 Make Connections with Other Photographers

As with any business, in the adventure photographer realm networking is necessary! You need to be a positive person and keep your reputation in check.

A bad reputation can follow you around in this industry! Clients move to other companies; other adventure photographers talk.

If you go around being a sh***y person, it will catch up with you. Set a good example and bring joy to others rather than tear them down!

Us Instagram to do it! Obviously be smart with who you talk to online and don’t get yourself caught up in anything crazy, but don’t be afraid to reach out to people who you admire.

Badlands National Park Sunrise

Step #6 Get Adventure Photography Clients 

Again, to make all of your adventure photographer dreams come true, you need to sustain yourself. In other words, you need to make an income. You can read my blog about how to pitch brands and how to create an influencer media kit for some ideas of pitch techniques I use for adventure photography and brand work.

I also want to note that while I do pitch brands, I am in a place now where brands reach out to me about my adventure photography services. You will get there too! All of this comes with growth.

A great place to start is building up your photography portfolio and doing a few jobs for free.

Message brands you want to work with on Instagram. Again, this is just to build up your portfolio. Afterward, you will have a better idea as to how much a job should cost and what you feel comfortable charging.

Read Next: How Much to Charge for Sponsored Instagram Posts

Step #7 Treat Everything You Do Like Business

While being an adventure photographer is fun, this is my business. I love taking photos and traveling the world, but I still need to turn in client deliverables, answer emails and pitch larger projects.

Every investment I make in my adventure photography affects the bottom line of my business. 

I have a website, accounting software, social media assistants, monthly business expenses, and the list goes on.

As with any career, to become an adventure photographer, you need to understand that you need to make a living and think about all your decisions in business terms. This is something I teach my influencer coaching clients!

Grand Prismatic in Yellowstone National Park

Step #8 Set Goals

No business is successful without goal setting! I set long and short-term goals for myself every week, break them down into smaller tasks and use a calendar to stay on track.

You can use this same goal setting technique to become an adventure photographer or in any other aspects of your life.

On adventure photography trips, I set goals for images and other content I want to capture to make sure I complete jobs to the best of my ability.

Read Next: 6 Reasons Brands Aren’t Paying You

Yellowstone in 4 Days Complete Park Guide & Unforgettable Itinerary

Step #9 Market Yourself

When you’re a freelancer, you’re your own accountant, marketer, HR rep, negotiator, and just about every other type of person who’s needed to run a business.

I want to bring your attention to MARKETING, though. The only way you’ll be able to continuously get clients is by putting yourself out there!

So what are the best ways to market yourself as an adventure photographer? Let’s talk about those!


This should come as no surprise, but Instagram is one of the best platforms for you to market yourself as an adventure photographer. It’s a visual platform and the money brands are pouring into it is only growing!

You should be using your Instagram like a portfolio. Post content on there that you like creating as an adventure photographer and will help you expand your business. 

Read Next: How to Get More Views on Instagram Stories


Many folks take LinkedIn for granted, but it’s a great platform to use as an adventure photographer! If you ever need a client contact, there’s a good chance you can find them on LinkedIn. 

Make sure your profile is up to date and that you link back to your website and other social media channels. 


If you don’t have a website already, you NEED to get one! Websites are a great way to talk about who you are, your work, and blog so you can pop up on Google Searches. 

If you’re not into the whole social media thing, start by creating a website. 

Sunset at White Sands National Park

Step #10 Have Grit

There will always be a level of uncertainty with being a freelancer. Contracts get canceled, jobs come down the pipeline that you weren’t expecting. All of this is okay and bound to happen!

Either way, you need to carry on and keep fighting for your dreams. 

Lake McDonald Sunrise in Glacier National Park

How to Become an Adventure Photographer—My Final Thoughts

Those who keep pushing, are the ones who will become successful. If something isn’t working, try something new! If you don’t, you might miss out on opportunities down the line.

If you want to become an adventure photographer, get after it! I suggest you check out my influencer tips blogs next!

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  1. Great article. This helps a lot.

  2. Ben says:

    Guys, for limited time this website is giving for free a survival pen:

  3. Sara says:

    Nice article

  4. Danielle says:

    Nice article. I am a new travel photographer and blogger and am trying to find my way!

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I'm a burrito loving explorer who got fired from corporate America and turned that into my dream career as a photographer and blogger. Now I'm here to help you explore life's magic. Thanks for stopping by!