British travel photographer and Instagram influencer, Jennifer Tuffen, talks about travel photography and content creation as well as her best travel advice.
When and how did you develop an interest in travel and photography?
My interest for photography started about eight years ago when I bought my first iPhone 3gs. I went on holiday and was snapping photos left, right, and center with my phone. When I got back, I didn’t know what to do with them all, it was then that I downloaded Instagram. I became hooked pretty much straight away and that’s when I really started taking an interest in photography. Travel is something I’ve always loved. We used to travel a lot for family holidays when I was younger, I also attended International schools my whole life so I’ve always been very influenced by other cultures and languages around me. Being in a class with students from all over the world has that effect on you. Another big influence for me growing up was my amazing grandfather who traveled round the world, from Antarctica to Australia he was always off on an adventure or sailing his boat to faraway lands. I used to sit on his knee and listen to his travel stories with my mouth open in amazement. I still have a big box full of postcards and such random souvenirs he sent me like a piece of lava and an ocarina.
What advice would you give to a new blogger looking to get into the travel and blogging industry? What was the biggest obstacle you had to overcome?
The thing I always tell people when they ask me this question is: be consistent and persistent. Don’t just try to do what others are doing just to be popular. If you build a solid community and discover your own style that isn’t the same as everyone else, success will come later. Use relevant hashtags, comment and engage with accounts that post similar content but more than anything, just enjoy what you do and enjoy creating the content you create and the rest will come in time! Nothing too major on the obstacle front to be honest. I think one of the small (but good) challenges is the work that goes into taking some of the photos, looking at them you wouldn’t realise how much effort some of them take, how long you have to wait to get that perfect shot. Also trying to keep your content fresh after doing this for eight years can be an interesting challenge and trying to find a healthy balance between capturing the moment and putting down the camera and enjoying it.
How do you research new places to travel? Any websites you use?
As I spend a lot of time on Instagram, that’s definitely the place that inspires where I travel the most. I’m always on the lookout for interesting cities or countries. I also use Tripadvisor to research good tour companies and hotels as there are so many reviews from people that have first-hand experience. YouTube is also a great source of information — sometimes it’s better to see a video about the destination rather than just read words on a page. There have also been times I have received an invite from a tourism board to promote a country or destination and a couple of times it’s been somewhere that I never thought I would visit and then I’ve ended up loving it, that’s the beauty of my job.
What advice do you have for readers when researching new places?
Look for reliable feedback from people that have already been there either from friends or on social media. Research things such as the ease of getting there, what to do when you’re there and where to stay. Another thing I always check before I book anything is what the weather of the destination will be like at the time I want to visit. I also love looking at Instagram stories of wherever I want to travel, it’s almost like a live feed to the place so you can see what it’s like there.
What are your top three items you can’t travel without? And how do you keep these safe while traveling?
I have really tried to cut down my travel bag as I used to be a bring-everything-but-the-kitchen-sink kind of girl, but these days (not including essentials such as my passport) I’m good as long as I have my phone, camera, and a suitcase full of dresses! I’m big on safety so I never let my phone or camera out of my sight and don’t flash them around in certain places. I hear so many horror stories about people putting their camera equipment in the hold of a bus or in a car and it gets stolen so I am very careful never to leave my luggage unattended. I also don’t carry all of my money and cards with me at one time and use the safe wherever I’m staying.
What was your favorite place to travel to?
I have a couple.Maldives, because it had been on my bucket list for so long. It’s one of those places that you have to see at least once in your life, especially if you’re a beach lover like me. My other absolute favourite place I’ve visited has been Jordan. Jordan is such a diverse country. One day I was learning to dive in Aqaba, then went from being in a hot air balloon ride over Wadi Rum Desert at sunrise to standing in front of the Treasury at Petra, and the next day we were floating in the Dead Sea at sunset. It’s a country full of adventures (and great food!).
What’s one place you haven’t traveled to yet that you really want to travel to? Why?
It’s so hard to choose asthere’s so many that spring to mind but Philippines has been on my “must visit” list for a while now. The beaches and waterfalls look incredible and as a diver I would love to discover the underwater world there!