Has Travel Photography Died?


Given the ongoing pandemic and current status of travel, travel photography is often brought up as to whether it’s dead or not. Before the internet, travel photography was primarily used to demonstrate scenery and cultures outside of the norm.

The internet age has made travel photography less popular since smartphones make it easy for us to view and document travel. Aside from internet age, a pandemic that halts all travel can only hinder the subject even more.

Generally speaking, it’s impossible for any genre of photography to be dead, but it makes an interesting topic to dive into. Whether you’re a lifelong fan or photographer in the travel realm, no one wants to see a niche or photography genre die off. With this in mind, has travel photography died?

Does it Matter if Travel Photography is Dead?

Photo by Dino Reichmuth on Unsplash

First and foremost, it’s important to highlight how much it matters if travel photography has died. Although the subject isn’t as prominent as it once was, countless travel photographers rely on their living and passion from the field. 

On the other hand, the artform of travel photography is an appealing subject for others to learn more about the landscape, customs, cultures, people, and history of a specific area. Whether you’re interested in this or not, it’s challenging to ignore the apparent benefits tied to the subject.

The Reality of Travel Photography

Photo by Philipp Kämmerer on Unsplash

Similar to other photography genres that are fading away, travel photography isn’t what it once was for the primary reason of smartphones. Nowadays, everyone has a camera on them at all times, which makes documenting travel and everything that’s attached to it much more manageable.

With smartphones and the technological age coming to what it is today, getting paid to go to exotic places to document it isn’t much of a reality anymore. Of course, documentaries and various other artforms can still be done, but it’s not what it once was.

The Future of Travel Photography

Photo by Mantas Hesthaven on Unsplash

It’s true that the traditional nature of travel photography isn’t what it was, but there’s still a market for it. However, it’s significantly more challenging for travel photographers to rely on older income methods, meaning the days of selling stock travel photos are over. 

Aside from stock travel photos and publications not paying for travel photographers as much, the nature of travel photography has changed. Traveling is about experiencing new horizons and getting out of your comfort zone, which was the primary function of travel photography.

In today’s world, travel photography has transitioned from experiencing something new and demonstrating what it is to showing off yourself. Basically, rather than the culture and experiences, it’s about the individual. For the most part, travel photography has turned into self-gratification.

Although the current state of travel photography is a fraction of what it was, the future of it has the possibility of morphing into something unexpected. All it takes is for a groundbreaking photo or style to emerge that’ll set the genre off. For now, it’ll remain into a never-ending slew of people saying look at me.

Social Media and its Impact

Photo by ROBIN WORRALL on Unsplash

The main reason travel photography has morphed into individuals looking for self-gratification is mostly due to social media. Instagram is a platform all about photos, and what better way to gain clout than to show off your travel?

However, you can’t just show off your travel with exciting photos, but it needs to feature you. The individual is a much larger role for travel photography, and it’s shifted into getting likes rather than demonstrating a new experience.


As dismal of a reality travel photography might find itself in, the industry can always come back to some degree. If vinyl records can make a comeback, so can travel photography in the traditional sense. 

For more articles, videos, and other information surrounding photography, follow Anthony Morganti on YouTube and Instagram.

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