At this time I am not accepting guest posts unless you have recently converted your car into a camper. I am featuring car to camper conversions like this one here and there.
I fell in love with photography as a teenager and never saw myself doing anything else, though I did not pursue photography as a career from the beginning. I was accepted into SUNY Purchase’s School of Art and Design, but changed my major when I got to school. After taking classes in a range of different subjects, I graduated in 2012 with a double major of Visual Arts and Environmental Studies, with a focus in Marine Ecology. With a constant desire to explore the world and learn its stories, I became a wilderness guide and adventure trip leader. Guiding jobs took me all over the world and taught me how to problem solve on my feet, often working in challenging conditions. In 2014 I started this blog with the interest of sharing my experiences in the world. The purpose of my photography is to communicate the wonder of this Earth and to inspire connection so that ultimately, we might take our role as stewards a bit more thoughtfully.
First I want to point out that I haven’t “made it”… it is about long-term vision. Everything I do is linked to the big picture–– how I want to impact the world, the way I want to connect with people and the story I want to tell. The successes I have experienced have been due to a combination of hard work, time, and creativity. Do your thing, pay attention to what works, and stay committed to the long-term vision.
I started this blog in 2014 as a way to share my experiences as an adventure trip leader. For the first 8 months that I wrote on this blog, I also had a full-time job. I got fired from that job unexpectedly and started doing freelance work– some jobs paid, and some did not. I learned along the way. I invested in myself, my skill set and my gear. I worked hard, consistently, for a long time, and I still do. My advice for anyone who is looking to do something similar is to get yourself in front of the people who are doing what you want to be doing– be an intern, get side jobs, do the busywork. There isn’t a magic formula. Trust yourself and learn as you go.
I joined the Alpha Collective in April 2017, purely as a result of getting my best work in front of the right people. If you would like to apply, please find the application on the Sony website here. My advice is to put only your best work out there, try to understand what they are looking for based on what you already see out there, and figure out how your work is unique.
This totally depends on your budget, but if you are looking to go with a mirrorless digital camera, something from the Sony a5000 or a6000 series will be great. I recommend getting it with the kit lens (the lens that comes with it) first and going from there. Note that the a5000 cameras do not have a viewfinder. Overall I recommend using what you have and upgrading once your gear starts limiting you.
Most of my travels are work related. This wasn’t always the case, and before I worked as a photographer and writer, I funded my travels myself in-between adventure guiding jobs. I made it a priority, and my finances definitely reflected this. This is not a job you pursue to get a big paycheck–– those do not come for a while. Starting out, I invested in quality gear and things I needed, but other than that I did not spend money on things that weren’t a necessity. I used to work in exchange for room & board, I took cheaper (but more complicated or slower) travel options, I traveled slowly. I used to work in the places I wanted to travel so that when I wasn’t guiding a trip, I could explore nearby.
In my opinion, the number one way to get your foot in the door is by working at a summer camp. Then work your way up to harder jobs, getting new qualifications as you go. In my eyes the most important thing about guiding is the way you interact with people. The second most important thing is your experience traveling or in the outdoors, or otherwise, dealing with dynamic situations and being able to keep your shit together! See my post on the reality of being a trip leader here and my tips on breaking into the adventure industry here.
Post cool stuff consistently, engage with your community (like and comment), use relevant hashtags, and be true to your voice. If you’re not passionate about it or your message, think about doing something else do something else. In general, my advice is to make sure you have something you can control more than your Instagram following. Use Instagram as a way to display your skill set, sure, but don’t let Instagram be your skill set.
I hear you. Neither did I! I wrote out some tips here, but the best advice I can give you is just start. You will learn as you go. Try to learn from people who have been where you want to go, and know that there will be many bumps along the way. You will most likely never feel like you have it all figured out. But you don’t have to know exactly where you are going in order to head in that direction. Follow your first hunch and get started.
I lead trips and host events throughout the year. To stay up to date, check in with my Trips tab, above, and make sure you are subscribed to my email list (on the right)!
Share my work! I believe in the stuff I write about on here– that’s why I do it. So if my message resonated with you, please share it with your network! If you’d like to see more of my work and support it, you can also join my Patreon community.
I get them online from hobby shops. Some brands I like to use are Preiser, Noch, and Woodland Scenics.
You can check out a list of my camera gear here.
Does photographing a moment steal the experience from you? Is it good to document so much of our lives? These questions (and more) were on my mind .. so much so, that they are the subjects of my TED Talk.
My tools for creating: cameras, lenses, travel gear, and more.