My ‘Aha’ Travel Writing Moment With Cameras


As I pack my bags for my travel writing gigs, I realize my DSLR camera is one of the most important things I can bring along.

Your camera selection has a big impact on your travel writing career. I vividly remember the convergence of events that finally forced me to graduate from my trusty point-and-shoot to a DSLR (digital single lens reflex) camera.

I’d been using my point-and-shoot for a few years, but only about 10% – 20% of my images were publishable—and that was on a good day!

Many of my photos were blurry, especially if something was moving – like people, wildlife, or vehicles. And, the images were poorly defined and the colors were dark and washed out. Some images looked bleached out.

When I used a point-and-shoot, my strategy was simply to take dozens of photos of everything, in the blind hope that a few would be suitable for publication.

Some usually came out okay – good enough for magazine editors to use. But winging it like this always concerned me. I worried that one day I would not have any decent images to offer an editor, and I that would lose the story.

In the back of my mind, I always had this niggling doubt that my images were not so good. I knew they were definitely not professional quality.

I had my ‘aha’ camera moment on a press trip to Alaska.

I was on an Alaskan Marine Highway Ferry when the captain announced that a photogenic island, complete with lighthouse, was coming up on our starboard side. I—and dozens of other passengers—rushed outside onto the deck, lined up, drew our cameras like a bad western movie, and started shooting.

The small lens on my point-and-shoot was not up to the task and I could not bring the lighthouse close up, nor could I get it into proper focus.

But what was infinitely worse was that every one of the dozens of passengers around me — from 12-year-old girls to grandmothers — ALL had DSLR cameras, and were happily clicking away.

I was the only travel writer on the ship, and I had the worst camera! Time to upgrade.

Interestingly, soon after I purchased my DSLR camera, three magazine editors mentioned the improved quality of my photos. And, I was now able to submit 80% – 90% of my photos because their quality was so much better. Hallelujah!

If you’re serious about breaking into travel writing, a high quality camera is a necessity.

Here’s some more detailed advice on the how, why, what, where & when of travel photography. This post tells you everything you need to know to get started about selling photographs with your articles – with links about how to choose the best camera for your travels as a writer, whether it’s a point and shoot, a mirrorless camera or a dSLR.

About Roy Stevenson 59 Articles
Freelance travel writer Roy Stevenson has had more than 1,000 articles published in 200+ regional, national, and international magazines, newspapers, trade journals, custom publications, specialty magazines, in-flights, on-boards, and online travel magazines. He's considered one of the most prolific travel writers in the U.S.A. His free weekly newsletter for aspiring travel writers is considered one of the most informative e-zines in the travel writing business. (Subscribe here: Roy has published seven eBooks on selling and marketing freelance travel articles. ( You can read Roy's full bio and see some samples of his work at his writer's website,

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