What inspired you to become a photographer?
As photographers, we can get inspiration from many things before clicking the shutter of a scene or subject to capture the moment. It may be the light falling on the scene or the expression in someone’s eyes. It may be the time of day or the time of year. Maybe it’s a combination of lens selection and situation
Do you have any formal training? Have you taken any courses?
No I do not have any formal training. To become a photographer does not require any formal qualifications, but good eyes, creativity and technical skills are essential. You can take courses in college or university to gain photography skills. Most professional photographers have participated in college or university courses to develop their skills but I haven’t.
What camera(s) do you use on your travels? Do you have a favorite travel camera bag?
I use the Canon 5D Mark IV
Tarom 1-30 mm f/2.8L
Tamron 24-70 mm f/2.8L II
Canon EF 70-200 mm f/2.8L II IS
I don’t have a favorite travel camera bag. I have tried many and changed regularly and currently I am stuck with the Lowepro Flipside 300 AW II. It holds all my gear easily as well as my computer and it is aerodynamic and very low profile. It is very easy to access my gear as it has multiple access to storage.
What have been your top 3 places to photograph so far and why?
As a place that few people visit, people are willing to take their photos. Each face tells a different story, and they are full of character depth.
Santorini is one of the most extraordinary scenery I have ever seen. It’s easy to turn a corner, encounter an amazing sight, and just ask for a photo.
Dubai is a land of contrasts. The first minute I can take pictures of mega cities lit by neon lights, the next minute I can take pictures of extraordinary scenery in the countryside and people who rarely interact with foreign tourists. Taking pictures in Dubai is never boring, because I always have different themes.
What do you enjoy most about being a travel photographer?
Of course it’s travel. I choose travel photography because I like to travel. While shooting portfolios for makeup artists and avatars for actors, I also did portrait photography for a period of time. Although I am satisfied with my work, I am not satisfied with taking these types of photos. I like to land in a new destination and capture the culture and scenery of a place. It constantly witnesses different scenery and encounters different situations, keeping my enthusiasm alive.
Do language barriers ever affect your work when you are photographing people?
No, smiling will break the ice most of the time. In fact, it is easier for me to take photos of people who cannot communicate with people who can speak English because they are as curious about me as I am about them. I try to interact with most of my subjects and signal them to take pictures. Many times people are happy to be photographed. If they don’t want to take a picture, I respect their decision, and neither will.
Do you believe the phrase ‘A picture is worth a thousand words?
I believe it is. Photos can convey so much. When I look at a picture and feel the emotional leap of paper (or screen), it never surprises me. They can make you feel like you are there without leaving your seat.
What are a few tips you would give someone who wants to pursue travel photography?
Creative thinking. Many scenic spots, places, and people are shot in the same way. As a travel photographer, your job is to find different ways to look at the same things. Try different angles, try different depths of field, try to put your personal style on each photo.
Understand the light. Look for what I call “quality lights”. If you want to shoot landscapes, early morning or evening is the best time to shoot. They provide deeper shadows and more saturated lighting conditions. When shooting people, you need soft light. When shooting portrait styles, cloudy days or diffuse light coming in from windows are always very flattering. Pay attention to good light.
Finally, interaction. To travel is to meet good people. I find that the best photos I take are people who have interacted with me. Don’t lurch with a long lens. Put on the 24-70 lens and get close to the individual. You will be surprised how interesting your photos will become.