"Everyone has heroes, not all of them wear capes!"
Below is list of my personal favorite travelers, photographers and bloggers that I follow on a daily basis. Working out your own style is very important, but it is also important to follow and study bodies of work that suit your style, helping you grow and achieve your goals.
Ben Horne is a 8x10 Film photographer living in San Diego, United States.
Although I have never used nor shot film before, there is a reason why I watch Ben's YouTube channel, on this short list of photographers, Ben is by far the most technical. The patience and endurance that goes into getting just one of his shots is incredible. His unique eye for capturing nature and landscape, in some of the most incredible places on the West Coast, is breathtaking. On Ben's Youtube channel he records a day to day vlog, showcasing, locations, behind the scenes, and his shooting process. Ben has been filming since 2010, it has always been his goal to take you along for the ride, to see the good, the bad and the mundane.
Although Ben is not a travel photographer in the traditional sense, he returns to the same locations, such as Zion, Death valley, Colorado Plateau to name a few, annually at different seasons of the year. Returning annually provides an immense amount of knowledge of the surroundings, this knowledge translates to his images, making them extremely unique.
Along his journey you will not only be brought on an adventure, you will also learn! In some episodes he will release a photo that may not be technically sound, or pin sharp, this is an important factor for people looking to emulate his work as he explains why and how he went wrong.
In all honesty, I could sit and listen to Ben all day, his knowledge, experience and easy going attitude makes him one of the best photographers I have ever witnessed!
The nomadic, location independent travel photographer, Elia Locardi.
Elia is the most recognised photographer I follow, with a huge list of accolades - Fujifilm Global Ambassador, Formatt-Hitech Signature Artist, Wacom Global Ambassador, just to name a few! Elia's story is sometimes forgotten about how he became location independent and is well worth a read before jumping into his work, hats off to him and his wife (Naomi). Elia has a unique style of work - rich and vibrant, captured at the golden hours of the day, even following his work for a short period of time you will easily recognize his work.
I still remember (and will never forget) the first time I set myself a goal of taking my photography to the next level, finding one of Elias images of Santorini and saying to myself "this is someone I aspire to be like". I recently purchased his "Photographing The World: Landscape Photography and Post-Processing", after purchasing this I have noticed a HUGE improvement of my workflow not only post processing, but in field oppositions. In part thanks to Elia, I am extremely happy to stand by my work and say it's mine.
If you're considering purchasing the tutorial you can expect everything from setting up, camera settings, composing and editing the final image using his personal post processing technique. If this is something you are interested in but still not sure, check out his FREE episode Iceland HERE to see if this is for you before paying.
Elia is somebody I have based and sculptured my style around, Elia is by far the most influential and highly respected photographer that I follow!
Thomas Heaton is a Landscape, Nature & Travel photographer from Whitby, Northern England. His photography portfolio ranges from photographing woodlands in England, huge vistas in Scotland or active volcano's in Hawaii.
Thomas is the perfect example that if you are passionate and love something enough, with hard work and dedication, things will happen for you. Thomas has a very personal YouTube channel that allows you into his photography adventures and experiences. I started following his YouTube channel when he only had a few hundred subscribers, now I am one of his growing 138,000 followers. His old imagery was raw and personal, and now they are sponsored, his travels paid for and a little more directed, but deep down it's still Thomas with his camera, capturing amazing images. The one main thing that he hasn't lost is his passion - if anything it has grown!
When hearing Thomas' story into photography from outdoor adventures, I knew exactly where he was coming from, a shared experience. This is a quote from his website " I love being outside and I love the never ending challenge of trying to portray 'that feeling', you know, the warm evenings at twilight, the sense of isolation when you have a mountain to yourself, the sound of waves lapping the shore of an empty beach." If this was a song, I would sing the same lyrics! I love adventure, sometimes telling the story was just not the same, photos were needed to show key details or emotions, this was the beginning of my first real love - photography!
A major factor to get drawn to Thomas is his YouTube vlog, it showcases not only his photography, but his adventures, one video can consist of wild camping in the Scottish Highlands, to travelling through northern Norway chasing the Northern Lights. This sense of adventure sometimes sounds crazy or absurd, but when you are there in that moment, my gosh is it worth it, follow his YouTube channel - you will understand!
Chris Eyre-Walker is an adventure & travel photographer from Belgium who is currently living in Sydney, Australia.
I first came across Chris was whilst browsing YouTube, just after he became an Olympus visionary, he was documenting his travel to Iceland and the Faroe Islands. After looking at Chris's work once you will quickly become accustomed to his style, the incredible thing about Chris's work is how easily recognizable they are among others work. We can't all create art; photographs, paintings, murals to inspire, but Chris creates art to make people follow their personal dreams to travel, explore and adventure - mission accomplished Chris!
Out of all the photographers I follow Chris is the least known, but fear not Chris's work, I believe, is currently is the most unique. Why? The feeling and mood portrayed in his work is spectacular, after looking at his work or watching his channel, I guarantee you the very first thing you will feel like doing is packing your bag, hitting the open road and going on that long awaited adventure.
His YouTube channel consists of everything from; behind the scenes, adventure planning, composition and all the technical ability behind capturing the image. Chris's work is having a huge impact on my personal photography, placing a model in the image allows a different feeling, mood and atmosphere that I can not recreate in everyday landscape images - so expect my images to change in the future all thanks to this man!
One day when I return home to Australia Chris is somebody I would love to work with!
Karl Watson is a freelance videographer from London, England.
Karl has next to nothing to do with Photography, but has a huge influence on my travels. Everybody needs inspiration whether it's cooking, running, work or in my case travel, Karl's YouTube channel has tonnes of inspiration. Karl has won numerous film awards for his YouTube channel, mainly for the HK2NY (Hong Kong to New York) he did with his best friend travelling the world for 9 months! Karl has seen great success since airing HK2NY, becoming a freelance videographer allows him to work and travel whenever he wishes and getting job opportunities for STA travel.
His sense of adventure consists of backpacking India, touring Africa, hiking Everest to road-tripping through Scotland, Italy and America. His list of countries is incredible. The best thing - they are online to watch!
Karl has a great interaction with his fans, contacting Karl numerous times regarding trips, packing etc. he replies within hours. Lately he is doing Q&A's online, Karl does not post as regularly as most YouTubers do, but in all honestly I would wait 2, 3 or even 5 months for his content. I know when I see "Karl has posted a new video" I will make the time to sit down, focus and watch it - yes, they are that good!
Karl's YouTube channel is just a good laugh, showcasing, adventure, drinking, partying and iconic sights around the world - but mainly the desire to get out there see the world and chase your dreams! Before leaving on my world adventures I was nervous and scared (as everyone should be), sitting down watching Karl's adventures showed me that if you want it - chase it!