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Travel Blogger and Photographer, Umit Yoruk, Opens Up

Photos: Courtesy of Umit Yoruk

Umit Yoruk breaks down his life as a travel blogger, from how he captures such beautiful images to his favorite destinations.

What is your go-to equipment for creating the vibrant photos on your blog, IamTravelr?

Blogging has changed so much over the years and so has our photo equipment. I have a Nikon DSLR but I recently bought a Sony mirrorless camera and I like them both. I start to take photos from the early morning until sunset. I plan my shots according to the lighting conditions. For example, if I want to take sea photos and show how crystal clear the water is, then I shoot between 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., when the sun is at its highest. The angle of the light is very important for me. Also, a golden tip: lenses are more important than camera bodies. You can buy the world’s most expensive camera but without a good lens, you may not get enough from it. However, with a good lens but an average camera you may create wonders.

Your blog includes both photography and an interactive community page. How would you describe your unique blogging and photography style? What inspired the community engagement pages?

I started my blog around 2001 and it was actually about my town, Kusadasi, a beach resort and cruise ship destination. People were asking me where to eat, where to visit, what the weather was like, etc. and I thought that opening a community forum would help everyone, and it really did, I believe. A lot of American tourists were visiting my town and my aim was solely to help them via my community website. Over the years, things have changed, and it is now mostly social media so that is where I push my content. For example, Instagram Stories is my main blog now.

How you plan for trips you take?

Sometimes we don’t plan. Tourism boards or companies invite us and we travel there to work on projects. But we are picky, we like to be certain that our followers would enjoy the place. It should be beautiful (we say “Instagramable”) and safe. There are some countries that we keep declining their offers. According to my Instagram statistics the majority of my followers are from the United States, so I always keep this in my mind when I am responding to invitation offers. Other times, when I need to plan our travels, I do it with my fiancé and Instagram is our primary resource to find a destination. Instagram is a magical place, sometimes you may see just a single photo and then you decide to go there, I think this happens to us a lot. As a final step to making our decision, I always check British foreign travel advice.

What is your favorite destination that you have traveled to? Favorite travel story? 

My favorite destination is Seychelles. I started to love this country as soon as I landed there the very first time. In the airport, people were so friendly and hospitable. The Seychelles Islands are heavenly, and you can’t find a better place for travel photography. I also recently visited Saudi Arabia and they have an amazing landscape which it is practically unspoilt and not photographed much. As much as I love tropical beautiful islands with crystal clear waters, I love the Middle East and its authenticity.

I have a funny story but I don’t want to give the country name. My fiancé and I were working for a tourism board and it was our last day on the trip. The government had given us a car, driver, and a guide throughout our stay. We became very good friends with them. Our mission was to take photos and create content for social media. We wanted to visit a place, but the tourism board declined our request because of weather conditions in the area.  Nevertheless, we wanted to go there so much, and this was our only opportunity. After talking with our driver and guide, we decided to go anyway and not listen to headquarters. Our driver said there is a GPS tracker on our vehicle. So, we removed it and left it in the hotel area. It was a two or three-hour drive and we created some amazing content there. But when we were driving back to our hotel, the weather conditions worsened. Our driver was literally trying to see the road by putting his head out of the window and we were all frozen. Thank goodness we arrived back safe and sound to our hotel after a long adventure!

How did you get started with photography and your blog?

I started photography because I needed photos for my travel guide website. It was almost 20 years ago now and I bought my first camera from iPIX’s Istanbul office. It was an important experience for me because it was then that I realized how important the light is for photography thanks to that special camera system which was using a fisheye lens. I was blogging 20 years ago and publishing it on my own website. Now I still blog and publish on social media.

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