In Practice: Photography Vol. I

Before traveling for a living became a reality, I found myself a good phone with a great camera, Huawei’s Nexus 6p. For all intents and purposes, it did a fantastic job of capturing images that were above average.

Even with the vast improvement that my new camera phone had over my previous devices, my pictures couldn’t even compare to those of professional photographers. It was killing me. I loved taking pictures, but I didn’t have a clue on how to improve my results.

Youtube was the answer to my prayers. Hours and hours just watching videos on lighting, timing, postures, HDR, multiple exposures, astrophotography, etc. None of it was a chore for me, I thoroughly enjoyed every video because I was actively learning something that I enjoyed.

The biggest improvement I made was that I started taking fewer pictures. Instead of following the classic point and shoot method whenever I found something photo-worthy, I’d scope out the area to find a better composition. If there weren’t any suitable shots, I’d move on. Out of the hundreds of shots I would take on days in the field, I would always cut >90%, often leaving a small handful of five to ten shots to edit.

Another difference from the past is that I now shoot with a professional-grade camera, the Nikon D750. Why? It offers much more versatility. Low-light images are higher quality, the aperture can be adjusted to create bokeh (making the background/foreground look out of focus), photo resolution is better, etc.

Plus, I can’t go running around humble-bragging that I’m a photographer if I’m shooting on a camera phone.

Now that I’ve gotten better at the foundational aspects of photography, I’m expanding into some of the more technical fields like long exposures, low-light, and once I can get the equipment, drone and astrophotography.

Realistically, photography is a long way off from being a profitable venture for myself. Stock photography is way too time-consuming, and Instagram is still a far reach as I’m middling at the 1.2k follower mark. When I can reach around 10k I may be able to change that, but up until then I’ll be focusing on other areas that show more promise

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Robert works part of the year as an international tour guide in Asia with Life Before Work Travel . When he's not getting paid to travel the world he's out in the field taking photos, on his laptop creating new sites, or sitting in the gutter petting stray dogs.