How to find the right photography internship abroad

Why venturing overseas can help kickstart your photography career

Internships offer a useful gap between classroom learning and practical work experience; they allow students of any field to try jobs on for size, boost their resume, and kick-start their careers. And it’s no different for photography. If you’re considering a career in photography, doing a photography internship could be an excellent first step. It will allow you to perfect your technical skills, build a portfolio of work, and learn from professionals in the field. And to add a valuable element to the experience, you could consider doing your photography internship abroad. It’s an excellent opportunity to make your work diverse and immerse yourself in different cultures and environments. You might also gain different perspectives on photography by learning from foreign peers. And, not unimportantly, you can enjoy incredible travel experiences.
– By Liana Garcia 

Who should consider doing an internship abroad?

Photography internships abroad greatly vary in setting, duration, and focus. As an intern, you might focus on wildlife photography, humanitarian projects, or commercial work in photography studios. Your internship might take you to the African savannah, the streets of India, or the Amazon Rainforest.

Apart from the variety of offerings, photography internships are often flexible and can suit the needs of an intern. As a result, photography internships are suitable for people with various goals and at different levels. You might be a university student doing an internship as part of your degree, or a keen photographer exploring the option of pursuing a career in the field. There’s likely to be a suitable program out there for you.

Many photography internships abroad have specific requirements, so extensive research is needed to find which internship is suited for you. Internship programs can require a specific skill level and choose not to work with beginners or require candidates to have specific equipment. With enough research, you can find an opportunity just right for you.

Reasons for going abroad for a photography internship

Going abroad for your photography internship will allow you to have an exciting travel experience and honing your photography skills at the same time. While spending time in a different country, you can be inspired by new landscapes, breathe in rich soils, and immerse yourself in foreign cultures. In addition, photographing a variety of settings and cultures can really help make your portfolio stand out, which, in a competitive industry, can be a big deal.

Similarly, going abroad provides a large canvas for any young photographer. It can be an inspirational experience, a chance to try different styles of photography, and and an opportunity to meet photographers from different backgrounds. While spending time abroad, and while you’re surrounded by different perspectives and new settings, you might learn a lot about who you want to be as a photographer, and what direction you’d like to take your career in.

What to look for when finding the right photography internship

  • Pick the destination that perfectly fits your photography focus of choice. Whether your focus is on wildlife or cultural photography, the destination chosen is a contributing factor in the development of your photographic skills and it should best reflect what you are looking for to be used to your advantage.
  • Research the photographers that will supervise you. Internships are about getting guidance from the best professionals out there that aid in the possibility of achieving your professional dreams. Therefore, read about their achievements and projects to know if they are the right people you would love to learn from.
  • Find out what the learning outcomes are of an internship. The nature of each internship is unique as well as the objectives of each intern. This is why it is ideal to start conversations and learn what their mission is and make sure it aligns with what you want to achieve.
  • Look into the requirements of internships. Each internship requires a different set of skills. There will be programs that you aren’t suited for and ones you are. In other words, there will always be an internship where you meet the criteria and target photographers at your skill level.
  • Ask past interns for their feedback. One of the most important but underrated methods to prepare is asking for peer review from past interns. You can get tips on what to look out for during the completion of your internship and its work environment.

How to prepare for your photography internship abroad

  • Bring the right equipment. Having the right lenses is essential to making the most out of the experience, and having the best possible portfolio to go home with. Ask your supervisors for advice, as they’ll know best which equipment is most suitable.
  • Read about your destination. Learn about local norms, cultures, and the dos and don’ts. Research the area’s photographic highlights, both the bucket list ones and the hidden gems.
  • Learn language basics. Learning a few phrases strengthens cross-communicational skills with employers and locals. It’s particularly helpful if you’ll be doing some street or portrait photography during your internship.
  • Look up images taken at your internship destination. There have been many photographers before you that have visited the destination you wish to go. Each work is personalized with different artistic takes on it but it is a great source to gain inspiration and find out what your focus should be.

Go and find your perfect photography internship!

In a world that relies immensely on photography to tell a story, there is a lot of competition in the field. As a result, it is a competitive industry for any spirited photographer. But, with the right internship, you will learn from credited mentors, immerse yourself into new thrilling environments and receive all the tools to succeed abroad. If you haven’t found the perfect internship by now, just keep looking and you will thrive in the end.

Below is a list of internships that could help kick start your career:
  • Based in South Africa, Cape Town, this team focuses on using photography to help charities raise awareness on concerning issues while teaching the importance of images in development work.
  • Get the chance to explore the Amazon rainforest! Be a part of the production of an Australian conservation series, photograph animals including jaguars and spider monkeys, and the techniques of Ultra-macro photography.
  • Suitable for photographers at any skill level; enjoy the opportunity to visit Cape Town, Kruger National Park. Learn about conservation photography; go on game drives and post-production.

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