I first met Dutch travel photographer Jochem Wijnands in Jerez, Spain when we both covered the annual Flamenco festival. With our shared interests in travel and the business of photography we have kept in touch ever since. Facing fewer stock sales, closing print magazines, and online competition Jochem took a step that may augur a hopeful future direction for photographers. He began publishing a free iPad magazine, TRVL, which has now won numerous awards including best magazine app of 2011.
Working with a small group of travel photographers from around the world, TRVL produces visual-intensive photo essays on specific destinations (82 so far) with full-screen images (now for the Retina iPads too), along with story text, video and a photographer commentary. At first they charged for iTunes downloads but sales were slow so they switched to free downloads. That made all the difference. Over lunch during one of his frequent visits to SF, Jochem and TRVL co-founder Michel Elings explained that they first had to build an audience, only then will they look at how to monetize the product. Numbers must be good since the app is consistently at the top of popularity lists.
Another step that differentiates the magazine has been to the move to a custom publishing platform, Prss. Built in native code with an emphasis on ease of use and efficience, the platform will be free for everyone to use. I’ve signed up for trial access and look forward to giving it a try.
photo from Les Fêtes de la Nouvelle-France, Quebec and featured this week in the Quebec issue of TRVL