Frequently asked questions

What gear (cameras, lenses etc) do you use?

My main camera bodies as of today are Panasonic GX8 and Panasonic GH4. That's right, Micro 4/3 cameras! You can read about all the gear that I use HERE.

When did you start photographing?

I have been shooting since about 2000, when I was 19. I started with a Nikon Cooplix 990 and experimented/played with photography with child-like curiosity. My initial photographic subjects were household items, my dog, animals from an occasional trip to the zoo and basically, everything and everyone that was within reach and agreed to be photographed.

Until 2005 I looked at photography as a hobby and in 2005, I decided that I wanted to be a professional travel photographer, that’s when you could say I became a serious photographer.

How did you start out? What is your story?

As mentioned above, I started by shooting everything around me. Travel was a big passion of mine, so, it was a natural transition to start making photos of what I saw on my travels. To make the story short–there was a lot of blood sweat and tears put into personal projects, not getting paid, just hoping to be able to generate enough money in some way from my photography to keep traveling.

Eventually things started to pay off. I have a philosophy - In the beginning you work for your images. Once you have enough good images, your images work for you.

Have you always been a travel/documentary photographer?

No, but that was always my passion and dream. Along the way, I shot weddings, a couple of corporate gigs, family portraits, whatever would pay, whatever would get me closer to my dream of traveling and photographing what excited me.

Do you make enough money through your travel photography?

I do make enough for my lifestyle. Of course, that may be because my lifestyle is fairly simple. I don’t have a home as such, I don’t have a mortgage to pay off, my wife is understanding and, we're trying to raise our daughter in a relatively simple way. Perhaps things will change in a few years, but for now, everything is pretty good. 

How do you make money in this industry?

I don't know if my answer is going to satisfy people, but, I think partly, I got lucky. I was one of the first to get into the whole eBook market and that has been very good. It seems that new people who get into it do not see anywhere near the same results. 

Of course I have put a lot of effort into my work and I've experienced virtually every kind of shooting scenario there is in my field. When I worked on a big commercial project which employed a documentary style, I felt that I could handle anything that came at me.

Other ways to make money are still - stock, magazines, occasional print sales and workshops (rare for me).

Do you do assignment work or mostly personal projects?

Up to date, I have only done one very big commercial assignment in 2015 and a smaller one for for Vanity Fair in 2012. I haven't had to look for these kinds of assignments, but, I have enjoyed them a lot, so, if you've got a project in mind, I am definitely open. 

Most of my projects have been self-funded. I believe in going out there and creating the work that I am passionate and excited about. If I wait for someone to send me on an assignment to do that, I might never end up doing it.

Do you use only natural light or do you use artificial light too?

I love using natural light, but, I love to use an off-camera flash, when the occasion is right. I have actually written eBooks on the topic of Natural Light and I've even made a very comprehensive video course for Eyevoyage (a project I started). 

Do you do workshops or seminars?

I have done only two workshops and one seminar in the past. It's not something I've devoted a lot of attention to, but, I am always open to interesting offers. 

I do strongly believe in giving back to aspiring photographers, and there is a way that you may be able to learn from me and not have to pay for a workshop or a seminar. For more details read the next question.

Can I be your assistant, intern or join you on one of your journeys?

I have been getting asked this question a lot lately, so, I have set up a system of sorts that could be beneficial for you and for me, if you have the right skills and knowledge. READ MORE.

Can you give me the contact details of a magazine editor you know? 

In short – No. Editors receive hundreds of emails from aspiring photographers, most of whom are not very good. I don’t feel ethically right giving the contact details of someone who trusts me to someone I don’t know, sorry.

However, here’s a tip for you: When I was starting out, I’d go to the bookstore/newsagent, looked at the magazines where I wanted to be published, noted down the emails of the editors, then contacted them, often even calling them.

I am a student, can I interview you for my school/college/university project?

I am really sorry, but lately, I have been getting too many of these requests to be able to help in a genuine way. I don’t like to do things half-hearted and to give you one word answers, so, I would rather not.

Can you critique my portfolio, tell me what you think and give me some tips?

Unfortunately, I do not have the time to fulfil these kinds of requests. If you are after tips, I have written quite a few e-books, which are full of tips on various topics. You can find most of them on this website.

I am an artist, can I make a painting/artwork based on one of your photographs?

In general, if it’s not for profit, then, the answer is Yes, but, on the condition that you send me a photograph of your artwork. If you are intending to showcase the painting you make from my image and to sell it, I think it is fair to pay.

Interviews

Interviews with me (these should also answer a lot of your questions)

Matador Network Notebook

Andrew S Gibson’s Blog

Photography Office

Digital Trekker’s audio interviews

 Depth of Field #1|Depth of Field#2