I receive messages daily on Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, my blog, and even via email from readers and friends who want to know more about me, what I do, my favorite things, and how I travel. Typically, I receive the same questions over and over again, so I wanted to start doing a Q&A type post once every few weeks where I answer the most commonly asked questions I receive. I’ll organize them by topic, starting with questions about how I got into photography and blogging! In following Q&As I will answer questions about the equipment I use, how collaborations work, about my husband & our relationship, about myself, travel tips, packing for and planning out adventures, creating the perfect itinerary, and more!
Q: Where are you from?
A: I grew up right on the shores of Lake Michigan, in the beautiful city of Petoskey, Michigan. My love of nature and the outdoors started at a young age, because we spent so much time hiking, sailing, swimming, and playing along the shores of Lake Michigan.
Q: How long have you been a photographer and how did you get started?
A: I’ve loved photography ever since I was a child. I recently came across some old photos I took on a disposable camera (it was a neon pink Barbie brand camera, thank you very much), from when I was about 4 years old, so I’ve loved photography for as long as I was able to hold a camera!
Q: Did you study photography in school? What inspires your photography the most?
A: No, I’m entirely self-taught when it comes to photography.
I am extremely passionate about protecting our world, sharing ways travelers can be good stewards of the lands we visit, and I have always loved the outdoors, which is why you will find so many responsiblel, low-environmental-impact, outdoor activities listed within each guide. I think my adoration of nature evident in most of my work, because I frequently feature botanicals and landscapes in my photographs and posts.
Q: Did you have any challenges when it came to learning photography?
A: Yes. In high school I was teased and bullied pretty badly for being so into photography. One of my closest friends told me I was a “total embarrassment”, because I never left the house without my camera, and I always wanted to stop and take photos of pretty landscapes or flowers we saw while we were hanging out. I had another close friend tell me that my photography sucked in front of some of our classmates, who all agreed that I was “terrible” at it, which was embarrassing. I was once even shown a group chat involving some people I thought were my friends talking about how they wish I’d take my own life instead of taking another photo.
It was all very hurtful, especially because I didn’t ever take photos of people (unless they asked, which they often did), nor did I ever do anything to draw attention to myself in public like use a flash or stand on chairs or benches, so I couldn’t understand why they’d say such cruel things to me or about me. However, I loved photography more than any other hobby I had, even more than tennis which has always been one of my favorite activities, and I was confident enough in myself to know that I wouldn’t let them stop me from doing what I loved, so I kept practicing and trying to improve.
Despite being bullied for my passion for photography, I kept at it, and eventually won a statewide competition my senior year of high school for my photography, so I knew that the cruel things that had been said to me over the years weren’t true. I thought about selling my camera and giving up many times, because it would have made my high school years a bit easier and less lonely, but every day I’m thankful that I didn’t listen to the mean people who were only temporarily in my life. If I had listened to the mean spirited people, I wouldn’t have such a fun, enjoyable, and meaningful travel writing business like I do now, and you wouldn’t be reading this. I’m thankful everyday that I didn’t give up.
Q: What advice would you give to aspiring photographers?
A: Take a camera with you everywhere, but don’t just rely on your phone’s camera. If photography is something you’re truly passionate about, invest in the highest quality camera you can afford (even if you have to save up for a few months, a year, or even longer), learn how to use all of its features, and learn to use it under every imaginable situation. Practice in low light, practice in the harsh sunlight of mid-day, practice taking photos from moving vehicles, in the rain, and indoors during a candlelit dinner at home.
Even if your photographs don’t turn out the way you want them to at first, don’t be discouraged. Be specific when identifying what you don’t like about your photos, whether it’s the lighting, the angles, the focal point, the presence or absence of shadows, the coloring, etc. and research how to tweak these aspects until you like what you see in your photos. Learn to use a few different types of editing software, but also challenge yourself to take photos you like without editing them, or on film.
Doing these things will teach you so much about how to manipulate your equipment to create the results you want. Photograph everything around you from food, clothing, birds, your pet, a flower blooming outside your window, a rainstorm, or your next big adventure, and continue to grow, and find your own unique style, no matter what that style is.
Always remember, that your photos don’t have to look a certain way, and they won’t look like anyone else’s, because they are a reflection of who you are in the world around you during the specific moment(s) in time it takes you to make each capture, and that’s what makes photography so completely unique, personal, and meaningful.
Q:How did you get into blogging?
A: I started blogging as a way to pre-plan my outfits, remember our travels, share my favorite photographs, and organize my experiences in a way that makes it easier to share them with my friends and family. I went from 100 – 10,000 followers in the matter of a few weeks, and started this blog as a way to share more details about the things I loved with my ever growing audience. I now reach between 3 million and 10 million people each month across platforms, which is something I never dreamed could even be possible! I truly love writing and photography, so blogging is much more to me than just a job, it’s my passion.
Want me to answer your questions in an upcoming Q&A? Submit them below!
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