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One on One with Travel Photographer Paul Teolis

Meet Paul Teolis and learn how this multi-faceted travel photographer stumbled into his ever growing career, now having visited and photographed over 40 countries.

by Attit Patel Posted on 10 March 2012
Photographer Paul Teolis at the G Adventures studio

Every now and then, something weird happens. You meet someone, and you make an instant connection, and I don't mean romantically. Believe me, my love life is a completely separate blog, or not, actually. Anyways, I met Paul Teolis shortly after I started with G Adventures back in 2008. He came into our office, and introduced himself. He later told me that he was thinking about applying for the position that I ended up getting. Funny how things work out. We instantly hit it off, and have been friends ever since. Of course all over our conversations primarily revolved around photography.

Paul is an award-winning photographer, lecturer, animator, sometimes writer and obsessed traveller. I've actually lost count of how many G Adventures' he's been on. Paul's journey through nearly 40 countries on six continents have helped him amass a large body of photographic work and travel stories.

So when I decided to start this feature, who else would I turn to first, besides my friend and mentor?

Easter Island

A.P How did you get into travel photography?

P.T. By accident actually.

I have been doing photography since I was 16 but since I began working as a commercial animator in film and television for my entire career, photography became another tool in my arsenal when I was doing photographic special effects in the late 80's.

In 1993 I discovered G adventures and the travel bug hit big time and naturally I progressed to concentrate mostly on travel photography. So now, ever year I disappear to photograph somewhere.

Leopard Seals in Antarctica with G Adventures

A.P. What is the most amazing thing you've shot on your travels?

P.T. Antarctica definitely. My first award winning photograph came from a trip to Antarctica with G adventures back in 2005 and it really changed how I focus on what I shoot because of all the exposure I received. More narrative base photographs became the norm and the following years I continued to go remote with a great body of work from Easter Island and Bhutan.

A lone penguin in Antarctica with G Adventures

A.P. What is your go to gear? Camera, lenses etc.

P.T. I reluctantly moved from Nikon film cameras to Canon Digital in 2006 only because Nikon digital at the time was lagging behind the industry. Now I shoot with all Canon gear. The Canon 5D Mark II, a 70-200 2.8, 16-35 2.8, and a 24-105 F4.

These lenses cover most of my travel needs although I plan to add a decent portait lens to this very soon. I also carry a small Lumix LX-3 which is wonderful for landscapes and those spontaneous moments when I leave larger gear behind.

Child monks in Bhutan

A.P. One place you'd like to shoot but haven't yet? Why?

P.T. Just one! Oh come on...The high arctic would be be at the top of my list, although with South Georgia Island and the Falklands not far behind. A lot of the architecture in the middle east as well. Ladahk is way up their too, known as Little Tibet is some circles, I want to continue hugging the Himalayan region if I can.

A.P. Any advise for aspiring travel photographers?

P.T. Find your niche and then get very very good.

This is a tough and very competitive industry, and with photography in general I know a lot of professionals suffering because no body wants to pay when they can get photographs "good enough" from someone at work or a relative or friend who has a camera.

Never work for free, and if you do get something out of it. I am a big fan of the barter system. If you donate work to raise money, get a tax receipt. If someone wants your expertise they should pay for it.

I stress always be professional go the extra mile and do the best work you can. That takes time and practice so Set yourself apart and aim high the market you tend to concentrate on.

For myself, I choose to exhibit mostly and do the odd commercial job. My day job is all about satisfying the client, photography is for me to be free to experiment, shoot what I like, make mistakes, get better and always push myself more. I have a passion for it and that is what is most important for me, because if you love what you are doing you tend to attract the same type people who see that in your work.

To check out all of Paul's amazing work, please check out his site, I warn you, you'll spend a lot of time on it.

Getting There

G Adventures runs a number of departures encompassing a wide range of departure dates and activities to cater to different tastes. We’re thrilled at the prospect of showing you this big blue planet of ours — check out our small group trips here.