Let’s start with getting to know you a little bit better. We wonder; who is Jamie?
I grew up in a small town called Salmon Arm, but I’ve lived in Vancouver for about ten years now. I am 33, happily married and am a new father to a 1-year old boy, which is super exciting. Having a child was really a life-changing-experience for me and I am trying to make an effort to spend more time with my family. I am a former elementary teacher but have changed careers after ten years to focus on photography. Oh, and I shoot with a Canon 5D.
Cool. When we look at your feed it looks like you are working on the most amazing spots every day. Can you give us a little insight in what your average week look like for you?
My day to day varies a lot and although through Instagram, life can look really perfect, things are not always as they seem. To others, it might look like I’m travelling all the time. This is not the case. I do try and get out 3-4 times a month on day or weekend trips, maybe more during summer for backpacking/hiking trips. I plan my hikes around a certain location but I don’t want to approach it as a work job. I really just want to enjoy what I’m doing. With everything that I do, I ask myself “how is this going to help pursue my future and my family’s future”? To what expense do I want to miss things with my son.
I am also doing my Masters in Educational Technology so it really depends on the week. I’m studying to keep my options open if photography isn’t as viable as I would like, or if it fails to pay the bills completely. Who knows, I might just work as a principal! I do try and get out to my local area once or twice a week but as a new dad, planning trips can be somewhat of a challenge. I don’t want to miss out on anything with my son so I don’t usually take trips longer than about a week. I only just made the transition into photography last year and I’m trying to make it work. But most importantly, I want to be able to provide opportunities not only for myself but also for my family. After having my son, I now have a more family orientated approach to any future opportunity.
Being an adventure/nature photographer sounds like a dream job. You travel, spend time outside exploring the beauty of the world and you get paid for it! How did you manage to make a living out of your passion?
A few years ago, I lived in China for a year. Here I worked as a teacher and travelled around with my wife. This is also where my photography “career” began. I started a blog called China by Day (which was also my Instagram name at the time) in which I documented our life there. Through this, my brother in law encouraged me to do something with my photography and that’s where it all got started! It was really quite the spontaneous career move, not so much a plan. One of my photos also got featured on Lululemon’s Instagram page which really helped at the time.
I am not currently making a full-time living and I don’t want anyone to think it’s that easy. It’s not as simple as having a following on Instagram, stepping out with a camera and that’s that. You really need to work your angle. You have to be approachable, reach out to companies, network. There’s a lot more to it than meets the eye! Of course, there are a lot of companies that will reach out to you if you have a good following, nice photos etc. but it’s a job, not the glorified picture people might see.
As you know Canada/Vancouver quite well, could you please share your 5 local hidden gems. Tell us; where to go and what to do?
There are so many stunning places around here but I definitely have some favourites. Of course, there is Joffre Lake which is about a 2.5-hour drive away from Vancouver. It’s an easy hike to see mountains and glaciers. The general Jasper area is amazing. Berg Lake, for example, has some of the nicest hikes I have ever been on. Here you can trek for 2-3 days past amazing waterfalls and huge mountains. The drive between Lake Louise and Jasper has got to be the nicest drive I’ve ever been on, and of course, there is the Vancouver area. Definitely, visiting the North Shore mountains around, Seymour, Cyprus and Grouse Mountain is a must.
Finally, Yosemite National Park is pretty much the Disneyland of national parks. Hike a kilometre down the trail and you’re on your own.
Cool! Can’t wait to get to Canada and check these places out with my own eyes. I do wonder how long do you spend in each location (on average) to get the shot that you need?
This very much depends on the location. Sometimes I take a day trip, other times the trip can be a week-long or so. Vancouver is such a beautiful city but it still takes a lot of planning to get out to remote and lesser known places. I take my time to scout out the location, try looking at things from a different perspective and think about what it is that I want to shoot before I set off. I’m not the spray and pray kind of guy, I probably take about ten shots for each scene I want to capture. I also probably spend about an hour editing an image before I share it with the world.
Our readers are mostly travellers themselves. Are there any easy tips or tricks you can share on how to make great travel/ adventure photo?
Don’t just shoot a landscape, pick something in that scene that draws your eye and work around that. Make something your subject and centre the photo around it. Every photo on my Instagram has a subject, whether that is a person or an object. Don’t just shoot the view, get lower down, move your camera around and maybe get a part of the ground with a rock with the landscape behind it.
How do you use Instagram in your business? Do you have any tips on how our storytellers and readers can leverage their Instagram to be noticed?
Like other people’s photos, go to hashtags through which you want to connect. For example, if you are posting travel photos, like people’s pictures under the same tags. Comment if you like something and always try to communicate with the people you follow. Who knows, you might be able to feature each other or do collaborations. Another great way to get your name out there is through a day takeover of someone else’s Instagram. Also, make sure to tag feature pages in your photos and look into related trending hashtags. Make sure you have a good profile picture and a small but interesting bio. Be approachable!
What do you like most about your job?
I love the outdoors, that is my passion in the first place. The only store I actually get excited about is the outdoors equipment store. I love the freedom that comes with the outdoors and I am passionate about sharing that with others. I think exploring is so important and I want to inspire other people to go and get out!
What does travelling mean to you?
The biggest thing is that it is all about the new experience and creating memories that will last. Recently some of my family and friends have gotten sick and it really makes you realise that we are only here for a brief time. You have to try and enjoy health and not get wrapped up in your day to day routine. Get out there and explore! It sounds cliché, but what do you want to look back on? What memories lasted the longest? Ultimately, whether you had a good or bad experience, travelling and the memories you make will stay with you.
What would be your goal for the next 5 years? What would you like to achieve?
I don’t really have a specific goal. I would love to be able to travel to certain places, make my photography sustainable, and share this with my family. I’m not the kind of person to look too far into the future as I feel really content with how things are. I think it is almost dangerous to have dreams. You have to be able to enjoy your life now. I find that the things that you are hoping for, whether that is wealth or anything else, can take away from being content with where you are right now.
I do try and ask myself “What can I do that will be impactful or truly awesome for my son?” Everything is new to him and I get to see things through his eyes which is really awesome. I guess that’s my general goal, create new opportunities for my son and my family and it would be great to be able to do that through photography.
What would you like to say to the travellers and adventurers that are reading this?
Find a way to make travel happen. There really is no excuse, other than health, not to make it happen. Money shouldn’t be an issue. Even if you can’t travel outside of your own country, you can be outside and explore your surroundings. Start small, it will still have an impact! Surround yourself with like-minded people and it will help you achieve your goals. I used to spend half hour every day liking related people’s photos and looking through hashtags. It takes a lot of time but hey, you want to get your name out there and this is a great way to do it!
Do you want to see more from Jamie Out? Follow him on Instagram: @jamieout.