Aaaaaaand here’s PART THREE of the series where I answer everything that you guys asked me! In THIS one, I answer your questions about how I started blogging – my channels, the writing, the photography.
Let me start this out by saying I never PLANNED on becoming a travel blogger. I started traveling because I wanted to explore, and then I fell in LOVE with it. You could say I started traveling for the love of travel. I gave in to my itch, to the call I couldn’t recognise (see this for more), and took that first step of getting out there, and then there was no looking back.
I traveled, and still didn’t think about sharing my experiences on social media or on a blog. I was still doing it for the love of it. It was only when I started getting hounded by questions every single day, when people started asking me for my itineraries and plans, when I was showered with questions every single day about the SAME things from different people, that I thought of doing something about it. It was only when a friend of mine said ‘why on earth do you not have a blog for all of this’ that I even considered using my then-private Instagram for something other than random, filtered pictures of landscapes with one-liner captions that would’ve helped exactly nobody.
I’ve always LOVED writing. Ever since I was a kid. English used to be my favourite subject, and YES, I WAS ALWAYS THE ENGLISH TEACHER’S PET. I was the girl who won prizes at essay competitions. I was the girl who’s writing assignments were read out loud in class. But somewhere, as I proceeded to complete my higher education, that one love got left behind.
Well. Now I had something I loved, and I had something to write about. I married my love for travel and writing, and gave birth to a blog that I hoped would help whoever needed it, and more importantly, created a tangible repository of memories that I could always come back to to relive some wonderful moments.
Cutting to the chase. Let’s get to what you asked me.
What are my channels?
I hope to start a YouTube channel soon, but I honestly don’t know if I will. The thing is, I don’t want travel to be all about content. I want to live the experience as well, and when you make something your job, you find it a little more difficult to truly soak in the moment and savour it.
What camera equipment do I use?
Canon 1200D with four lenses – 50 mm f/1.8, 18-55 mm, 10-18 mm, 55-250 mm
What apps do I use for editing?
Lightroom on mobile
Photoshop on mobile
UNUM to see what my feed looks like
Unfold for Instagram stories
What kind of editing do I do?
The human eye can see far more than what a camera lens can capture. For instance, if you’re standing against the light, I can still see you, but if I take a photo of you standing against the light, you’ll only be a dark silhouette. That is exactly why I edit my photos. Because I want to recreate what my eye saw that day, and I want to show you that. So my editing involves basic colour correction and light edits. I’ve started experimenting a little more now, though, and have started playing around with tones and curves to try and bring out aspects of a photo that might enhance it.
I enhance. I don’t alter. I don’t know Photoshop. I don’t like changing my images toooo much, so I try to get my camera settings right as much as possible and avoid additional editing later.
How important is a good camera for blogging?
Clarifying something at the very beginning, I am NOT a photographer. I share photos, yes, but I have always been a writer.
I use an entry level camera. It’s very basic. It’s not even a full frame one. A lot of photos on my feed are taken on phone cameras.
I won’t lie to you, there are camera and phones in the market way better than what I use, and it is true that the better the camera, the better the quality of the image. But no camera can help if you don’t have any idea of what you’re doing with it.
So fix that first. Whether you want to be a blogger or a photographer, you need to have a vision, and you need to have some idea of how to use whatever device you choose to use. Ultimately, that’s what will create something you can call a ‘good’ photograph. Learn how to use your camera, learn how to use editing apps, figure out what kind of editing works for you, and when you feel you’ve pushed your boundaries enough, upgrade to a better model.
Where does a beginner start?
Everyone’s a beginner, and we all start at the beginning, but no matter how long you’re around, there’s ALWAYS going to be something more to learn, something to get better at. Ask yourself this – what do I want to do with this?
Do you want to click really great photos? Help people travel more? Travel cheap? Do you want to be a feel-good inspiration?
Let your answers guide you, because eventually, those are the kind of people you will attract. So that when you start on Instagram or your own website, you’ll know what you’re doing.
Focus on creating content – good, useful content – that people will want to see and return to. Only then will you get the opportunity to work with brands and the like. Build your content, build your audience, the work will follow.
Did I take a course on writing?
When I was a kid, my grandfather would read me stories to bed every night. I had those stories off by heart at one point, because I never let him skip a single word; I’d know what he’d left out. It amused everyone no end.
As I grew up, books became my best friend. I was the kid who would whip out a book during recess in school, and sit quietly at my desk with it while all the other kids ran out to play. Books have always been there in my family, since EVERYONE loves reading. That somehow translated into writing for me. I never thought I could write well, until my teachers started telling my parents I did, and started focusing on me. It was all rather unexpected. True, I left the habit somewhere during my higher studies, but I picked it up again, and forced myself to treat it like a job. I felt rusty initially, when I got back to it, but the more you do something, the better you become at it.
So no, I never took a writing course. But I practice. I try and practice every day. I’ve stopped waiting for inspiration to hit me, and I make myself write something every single day. I pay attention to grammar, and vocabulary, and sentence structure. I consciously try to become a better version of myself everyday.
Whatever you choose to do, do it everyday, and try to keep getting better at it.
Do I write stuff apart from travel as well?
Sure I do. Some of it is under Peppy’s Diary, but a lot of it is stuff I don’t publish here, because it doesn’t exactly fit with what the blog is about. I take up freelance writing gigs for companies, but I don’t think that’s what you’re asking about. I try my hand at short stories, occasionally. I’ve got a few ideas for scripts, but I’m not sure I’ll create full-blown scripts. I’ve written emotionally relatable pieces. Eh, I keep experimenting.
I’m going to end this one here, and I hope I’ve answered all of your queries related to writing, blogging, photography, etc. If not, drop your question in the comments section and I will get back to you! 🙂