Do you travel regularly with a spouse, a partner, friend or sibling? Why not combine your talents to produce even better travel articles?
My husband Alan and I have been very fortunate in that our work has afforded us many opportunities to travel. We have lived and worked in seven different countries. We are also both enrichment presenters on cruise ships, sadly not available to us right now.
At the moment, we live in Lima, Peru, where I write weekly reviews of top-class restaurants offering gluten free options for Living in Peru. I get to eat in some of the best restaurants in Lima, have my own wish list of places to try, and my comped dining is prearranged by the magazine.
I firmly believe that a travel writer should use original photos, lending credibility to the article that can’t be achieved with stock imagery. So, when I go on assignment my husband dines with me as my photographer.
Alan, a geometallurgist, has always taken photos of every mountain we have ever passed. This has led to him knowing his way around a camera. With our talents combined, we are a force to be reckoned with.
It is well known that you “eat first with your eyes” so our photos have to make people want to eat what they see. But restaurant lighting is designed for dining ambience, not good photos, which can present a challenge.
We quickly learned some tricks to improve our results, like being choosey about where we sit for the best lighting. It is in the interest of the restaurant for our photos to be inviting to diners so they are always very obliging with our requests. Using mobile phone lights is also a way to achieve instant “studio” lighting.
And we combine our talents for more than just restaurant visits. When I travel further afield for an article, Alan is by my side as my field photographer too.
He really does get carried away sometimes. For example, on our fourth trip sailing around the southern tip of South America, he took hundreds of photos of penguins in Patagonia. Since we had experienced this magical journey before, however, we already had hundreds of penguin photos. But, you can never have too many photos of penguins—or too big a database of photographs to draw from to illustrate your articles. Thank heavens for digital cameras!
The result of combining our talents has been not only far better articles, but also a growing enthusiasm for our combined efforts.
Travel enthusiasts will often say that the planning for a trip is an integral part of the joy of traveling. That is absolutely true for us. Alan loves maps and our travels used to be planned for the shortest way from A to B. Now I spend far more time researching our intended destinations and often find hidden gems we didn’t know anything about.
Alan still works full time as a digital nomad, taking us to many interesting and varied places. We have always made the most of any opportunity we have had to see new places. Combining our talents for my articles has given us the enthusiasm to explore further than the usual tourist spots. For us, travel writing is definitely not like a job. It is an exhilarating creative hobby that just happens to help pay for itself.
Now, almost without exception, whenever I sell an article the comments include “and I love the photos too!”