Photo by Lola Akinmade

AS WITH MANY CRAFTS such as writing and fine art, the world of photography is fiercely competitive. It can take years to stand out from the mass of talented individuals out there.

Developing an Online Presence

Whether you’re creating a personal website or blog, or using a photo-sharing site such as Flickr, developing an online presence is crucial to your success as a travel photographer. You should readily be able to share links to and showcase your work without resorting to hard copy prints. Preeti Burkholder’s article on selling your travel photography provides a detailed guide on how to present your portfolio online.

Photography Contests

Contests are a great way to gauge where you stand in the talent pool. Most photo contests charge an entry fee starting at around $25 per entry. Spending time entering contests may not seem like a worthwhile investment, however, the exposure gained by winning one of the following contests would be invaluable:

* International Photography Awards (IPA)

* PDN: World In Focus

* Travel Photographer Of The Year (TPOTY)

* PopPhoto Contests

Photography can be an expensive hobby to maintain, so unless you’re financially able to afford the entry fees, here are a few free photography contests you can participate in:

* National Geographic: Your Shot

* Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest

* BetterPhoto.com

* Nikon Photo Contest International

On a recent scouring mission of photo contests online, I came across the name, Larry Louie. He’d participated in many contests and his breathtaking travel photographs were either nominated or had won a category or two. He was recently awarded IPA’s 2007 Discovery of the Year Award. When I clicked over to his personal site, I found out that he also ran his own eyecare center in Edmonton, Canada. Larry is a great example of a hobby photographer, building an impressive online resume to spotlight his travel photography.

Connect with other travel photographers

Joining an online community of travel photographers is a great way to learn from others, solicit feedback and critiques as well as build your network.

Woophy is an excellent (free) resource for the budding travel photographer. With over 24,000 registered users, you will be treated to amazing photography from every corner of the globe. Woophy also runs photography contests for its members.

JPG Magazine is a great publication that boasts a wide range of users who regularly contribute to select themes such as “Split-second” or “Surroundings”. Top photographs from these themes, in addition to submitted photo essays, become published in its print magazine.

Intelligent Travel (a National Geographic publication) is a photography blog that maintains a Flickr photo pool where budding photographers can submit their travel photographs.

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