Travelling through a lens

Vacation essentials have evolved from sunscreen to GoPro


It’s time to pack the suitcase, go over the itinerary and check the status of the flight. Whether the destination is somewhere scorching hot or frigid cold, most people will always pack a camera to snap some vacation photos. People tend to forget to pack an extra pair of socks or even their essential toiletries, but never a camera. Now, there is a huge interest in travel photography and millennials have begun to make careers out of their travel photos.

Courtesy: Michelle Barahona

Travel photography has always been around. Millennials, now more than ever, are  purchasing tickets, flying to the far corners of the world, taking photos and sharing them on their social media accounts for all to see.

A Forbes article on millennial travel included a survey by Topdeck Travel. It revealed that from the 31,000 people they surveyed from 134 different countries: 94 per cent of them had traveled overseas between one and three times a year. Those percentage of people were between the ages of 18 and 30 years old.

These days, travel photographers aren’t just taking their pictures and putting them in a scrapbook. Social media has become an outlet to showcase pictures taken by travel photographers. Scrolling through Instagram or even YouTube, it’s common to find people dedicated to posting pictures and videos of their latest trip to Florida or somewhere in South America.

That’s one of the main reasons why Michelle Barahona created her own travel Instagram page, @followmichu, and became a vlogger on YouTube. With over four thousand followers in counting, Barahona spends half of her time dedicated to traveling the world.

“I don’t ever remember going away without my SLR camera by my side, it’s like my little baby,” Barahona says jokingly. “I’ve met different travel photographers on the way who’ve taught me to take certain pictures I had trouble taking and tips on the different locations tourists go that fall in love with the breathtaking views.”

Courtesy: Michelle Barahona

Ever since she was little, Barahona loved the whole idea of flying to different parts of the world and experiencing different cultures. Her first ever trip was with her family to the Philippines. The older she got, the more places Barahona visited which caused her fascination with traveling to grow more as well.

As a part-time employee at Pearson International Airport in Toronto. Barahona can get cheaper flight tickets to almost every part of the world. Over the years, photography and traveling have become sort of her career in a way and she wouldn’t have done it all without some great advice from those she’s met along the way.

“My cousin is a well-known photographer in the city and he always tells me to never visit the same place twice,” Barahona says. “Advice for up incoming vloggers and travel photographers is it’s not easy starting up but by the end of it you’ll absolutely love the places you go and the people you meet.”

Aside from using a DSLR or SLR, such as what Barahona uses, some travel photographers opt for different options. Lucy Santos, a travel enthusiast who’s travelled to more than 22 countries this past year says she just recently started using a polaroid camera for taking pictures while traveling.

“I’m not sure who brought the polaroid camera back I’m sure as hell going to thank them because it isn’t as expensive as all the other cameras out there, but still does its job,” Santos says.

Santos prefers to use her polaroid camera over a Canon or a GoPro because she’s able to physically save those memories.

“People forget that these cameras are what our parents use to use to take pictures or those old-school film cameras,” she says. “I have over I think 200 polaroid pictures from all the different places I’ve been and then I put them into scrapbooks to physically save the memories of the places I’ve visited.”

A lot of the times people don’t realize that becoming a travel photographer isn’t always easy. Canadian travel photographers can start off by making 23 thousand dollars a year. It may not be a glitz and glamorous job, but the pictures and experience photographers go through makes it all worth it.

Courtesy: Janelle Patron

Alejandro Barahona, a travel photographer, or as many of his followers refer to him as @ab.shots, has a media page filled with his pictures taken in different parts of Canada and South America. Alejandro knows the harsh reality of what travel photographers go through.

“To become a travel photographer, comes a hard life-style because you’re always going to be on a budget,” he says. “You’re also going to have to take the cheapest transportation, stay in hostels. It’s not really what it seems like in pictures. In pictures, it’s not like, wow that’s a nice sunset by the beach, but you never know the photographer could be sleeping under a tree that night,” says Alejandro.

Freelance travel photography has increased in the past few years due to the high interest within millennials, according to Alejandro and prestigious travel photography websites. However, Alejandro believes that up-and-coming photographers need to keep in mind how their experience on these trips can be portrayed in their photos.

“What’s interesting is when travel photographers document their experience to get that picture,” Alejandro says. “How was it to wake up at 5 a.m. and have to walk through dirt roads or through bushes? That story is what people like, like the story behind the picture. What was it about that sunset? How did you get to this sunset? Or how early did you have to get up to get to this sunrise? Tell the viewers how was it to get this picture.”

In the 2016 survey by Topdeck Travels in Forbes, it pointed out that 30 per cent of the millennials traveling around the world are doing it all alone. This is common within travel photographers, however Janelle Patron who first took up travel photography as a hobby, opts to travel with her family.

Patron has traveled to the Philippines, all over North America and just recently to New York with her entire family. Although she realizes traveling with family isn’t something travel photographers do, she believes she must do it since it’s part of her Filipino culture.

“In my generation, we like to of course travel on our own or with friends,” Patron says. “However, the reason why I love to travel with my family is because it’s such a priority in our culture. We also don’t like to separate ourselves throughout the good or bad, we just stick together.”

Patron’s fondest memory of traveling with her family while documenting her trip to her travel Instagram page, @Jahnelleyy, was to the Grand Canyon.

“I went to the Grand Canyon and I wouldn’t want to go to a place like that with anyone else but my family,” Patron says. “It’s such a cherishing moment to have so that’s one of the reasons why I go with my family.”

Some travel photographers started out their careers by realizing they had an interest in experiencing different cultures and in traveling alone. Natalie Bogdon’s curiosity in traveling first began when she was 16 years old to a trip to England and Ireland. Bogdon believes millennials who like to get out of their comfort zone and take pictures along the way should try becoming a travel photographer.

“I love meeting new people and learning about how cultures work and how they interact,” Bogdon says. “I was in Peru and went for a hike one day that had a big hill. I see this boy just standing on the ledge that overlooked the entire city of Cusco. He had a knapsack on his back, a cap on and was probably six or seven years old. If you look at the photo, it’s kind of sad because it’s a kid that’s probably poor and lives on the street hustling during the day to find food for his family or something, but it speaks volumes to the reality of what is going on in Peru or maybe even in other parts of the world.”

Anyone can become a travel photographer because at first, all it takes is taking pictures with your iPhone or DSLR camera while traveling. Travel photographers Patron and Alejandro have key advice for millennials interested in becoming one.

“Challenge yourself, soak in the moment,” Patron says. “You don’t have to document everything, and look up, please look up. Take a moment, look at the place you’re at and then document it.”

“Don’t be afraid to shoot whatever you think,” Alejandro says. “Everybody sees beauty in a different way. If you see something that’s interesting to you, take a picture of it. Half the people might not like it, the other half of people will. You never know.”


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