I never set out to be a professional photographer when I first got into photography. I had never been out of the automatic settings on a camera before midway through 2015. I started watching youtube videos teaching me about how to set up my camera, how to focus and so forth.
The main reason I bought a camera was that Hawaii was so epic and the landscape around every corner was amazing. It was hard not to shoot. So I bought a Sony a6000 for $500 USD including the lens and off I went.
Each time I went out to take photos or carried my camera with me on an adventure I would learn a little setting or practice with different angles and composition. It was fun and there was no pressure on me to deliver a product.
If it wasn’t an adventure I was down at Sandy’s. It’s a crazy shore break beach and you could get some awesome shots of bodyboarders getting thrown around by the waves. I didn’t have a zoom lens so I used to run in and out of the water with the ebb and flow of the booming waves. I didn’t care if I looked stupid. Each day I would take over a thousand photos and the majority of them were garbage. But each outing I usually snapped a few photos that I loved and that is how my photography kept me motivated to keep learning and improving.
Fast forward two years and my camera( 18 months old) displays that I have clicked the shutter 80,000 times.It’s been on rickety boats in the Philippines, to the base of Mt. Everest and to the top of Padar Island in Indonesia.
I don’t sell my photos, they are just a product of my creativity and for my blog and Instagram. However, every now and then someone comes along asking to buy one for a social campaign, their website or in several instances, their wall.
This week I was approached by the agent who is dealing with the marketing for Philippine Airlines. They were interested in buying the rights for one year for two images I took on my backpacking trip through the Philippines. They offered me $200 USD, which may not sound like a lot to the professional photographers shooting weddings, portraits, and events. However, keep in mind the entire month-long trip in the Philippines cost me $800. (During this trip Philippines Tourism Board also commissioned my friend Jorden and I to make a short video for $450.) We made it and got paid but they never published it after changing their campaign.
Philippine Airlines will be using the photos on the screensaver for their in-flight monitors and entertainment systems. Two years ago I was learning how to set up my camera and now my photo will be the screensaver on flights for a huge airline. I’m no pro whatsoever. Not even close. I have improved a lot but still, have mountains of work before I would even consider myself a professional level photographer. However, it is a cool little project to be in on and some pocket money that will last me a few weeks in India. These are the photos they asked for.
So without pitching to anyone or really going out of my way at all my entire trip had now been repaid to me. I don’t love pitching to brands and tourism boards and also find it tough with the restrictions and requirements that result from the collaboration. This journey throughout the Philippines was just two mates exploring a new country and taking photos and videos for fun. It’s how I have continued to model my travel blogging despite the lure of free hotel stays and sponsored activities. I do them from time to time but I want to travel and explore not become a billboard for the travel industry.
This week I’ve been exploring Jaisalmer and will write about it in the next Weekly as I am still here and will also cover all the awesome things to do here in the “Golden City” also known as an incredibly dry, desert town.
Tomorrow I am jumping on a camel and heading into the Thar Desert for two nights of sand dunes, sunsets, and stars.
Hope you had a good week. Peace