What did I take away from listening to Jon Reid – travel photographer

If I could walk out of my 8-5 desk job, I would be a travel photographer. I’ve always known this. Simply because I am curious, love exploring, being absorbed by a new culture, making new connections & I know there is so much out there – waiting for me.

Last night I attended a talk at the Cape Town School of Photography . The speaker was Jon Reid of Nomadic Vision. A teacher turned travel photographer.

I must say, I hung on every word! It was as if I was the only person in the room & he was having a chat with me…then some random voices popped up asking questions. But, what I took from this experience is a lot of what I already knew & more of what I didn’t even think of!

When you hear “travel photographer” you think… Wow! Imagine travelling the world, taking photographs of your journey & being paid for it. What I know is – its hard work. Your success is determined by your effort, more so than your talent. Jon spoke about exactly this. Saying, his shots are not the ones that would necessarily get 1000’s of likes on Instagram, but he is gripping you with the emotion of the shot, opening your imagination & drawing you into that far away land. I absolutely identify with this!

He touched on how & where he started. It’s taken him 10 years to get where he is today. (Reminder to self: Success is not achieved overnight. Check!) Jon spoke about travel challenges, imagine your flight is cancelled & you have to be somewhere because this is your job! How does he overcome these challenges? With a little creativity – he calls it creative problem solving. I love that 🙂 The preconception is that all photographers must be creatives, after all their work is art, right? Well, no… Creativity comes in many different forms. And as he explained, solving problems for the challenges he faces, is his creativity.

Aside from getting to-and-fro challenges, there are countries rules & regulations you need to get past. Needing permits for locations & permission from authorities for all sorts of things. And with that, come costs. Researching your destination ahead of time, interpreting & understanding the brief you’ve been given by your client. Jet lag, acclimatizing, being fit enough to handle walking for hours with your gear, having back up equipment or available funds to replace if your gear is damaged, stolen or lost. These are some of the things I never thought of. And now my eyes have been opened.

I like that Jon spoke to us about his business as a travel photographer. He shared tips, insights & good advice overall.

I left the talk feeling motivated, awe inspired & a bit emotional – because it hit home. There’s nothing stopping me, but myself. I did not leave feeling deterred by those challenges. Life is full of challenges. If you are doing something you are passionate about, you will go the extra mile and beyond.