I respond to nearly all questions I receive through social media; however, I wanted to make an FAQ list because there are plenty of repeat questions. I’ll work to keep this updated as things evolve, but in the mean time, here’s the eight most common questions I receive.
When I reflect on this now, I realize I took a rather ordinary approach to becoming a photographer and writer. I attended journalism school, graduating with a diploma in journalism and photography. I then spent five years struggling to find my place in the industry.
As I had more and more work published, I worked fewer part time jobs. In 2013, I decided to go full-time and I haven’t looked back since.
If you are interested in even more backstory, check out this article I wrote for Resource Travel Mag about my journey from would-be engineer to adventure photographer.
How do you travel so often?
Social Media is a wonderful tool, but it can also paint an unrealistic picture. I do not travel nearly as much as my Instagram account indicates.
Most of the time, my travel is dictated by work assignments. I’ve been lucky to partner with destination marketing organizations across Europe and both North and South America. I also teach photography workshops in various countries.
Every year, I take one or two trips aboard to expand my portfolio. These trips range from adventures, like cycling the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route in 2015, to landscape photography trips like my recent visit to Italy.
What’s your favourite place to photograph?
It is no accident that I call the Canadian Rockies home. They are my favourite landscape to photograph and offer a lifetime worth of adventure. The three towns – Canmore, Banff and Jasper – all have their individual cultures, too, so there is so much variety to enjoy.
When I travel, I most often seek out mountainous landscapes. It’s so difficult to choose a favourite, but the short list includes Patagonia, Iceland, and Italy.
I always look forward to visiting new destinations, too, so I have quite the bucket list. I really need to return to both Norway and Patagonia, simply because I was just beginning my photography career when I visited and I’d love the opportunity to photograph both regions again. I’ve also yet to travel in Asia or sub-Sahara Africa, but I am hoping that changes soon enough!
Can I intern with you?
Truthfully, it’s difficult to organize a lengthy internship. I am always open to speaking with individuals about their work and the industry in general. I try my best to respond to every email and direct message that I receive, too, so don’t hesitate to ask a question.
I also enjoy having people join me on photoshoots, but it’s hard to organize in advance. If you are visiting the Canadian Rockies, it wouldn’t hurt to inquire about opportunities to join me in the field.
Do you teach workshops?
I teach a variety of workshops each year. My favourites are the 2-week destination workshops I teach with Brendan Van Son. In 2016, we hosted groups in Cuba and Morocco. In 2017, we’re aiming for Peru and Iceland. Make sure to visit my Workshops page to learn more details.
I also co-lead The Giving Lens, Peru, workshop, which is an entirely different travel Photography experience. Visit the TGL website for more info!
Lastly, I teach social-media focused workshops to businesses to help them grow their online social media footprint.
What’s the first piece of advice you’d give an emerging photographer?
It depends on the photographer. If you hope to make photography your career, I always recommend taking a crash course in business. Too many good photographers fail because they cannot work consistently. The money side of business is as important as any technique.
For photographers who simply want to improve their craft, I recommend buying less equipment. Limiting our gear helps saves money, which can then be invested in photography trips. It’s also a wonderful creative process, as using fewer tools requires hard work to get the most out of our gear.
How important is social media?
It’s hard to quantify its importance. I am sure there are countless successful photographers who barely use social media; however, it’s been an integral component of my business for the past four years. In fact, my photography career didn’t grow until I build a strong social media following.
Social media the easiest and best way to build and interact with a supportive audience. It’s also an important portfolio, as businesses and agencies now routinely use Instagram to discover new photographers to work with.
What equipment do you use?
I truly believe all cameras can get the job done. The Nikon vs Canon vs Sony debate is tiring, as they all have their loyal photographers who produce stunning images. The cameras and lenses are merely tools.
After nearly a decade shooting Nikon equipment, I switched to the new mirrorless Sony system. It was a difficult decision, but I made the choice because I wanted a lighter weight camera kit.
Right now, my photography kit looks like this:
Sony A7Rii and A6500 bodies; 16-35 mm and 70-200mm lenses, Lee Filter kit, Gitzo tripod, DJI Phantom 4 UAV, and a GoPro Hero 4 Black.
I also recently switched computer systems, leaving Mac for a Dell XPS15 PC. I just found the performance differences were too great too ignore and Windows 10 has made the transition seamless.