Adventure Photographers dominate the Instagram landscape. So how do you break through into an industry that seems like there's no room left? We caught up with our mate Tyler Ravelle, who turned his love for snowboarding and travel into a full-time lifestyle, all thanks to his passion for photography.
G’day Tyler, where do we find you at the moment?
What's up Tim, I'm currently at my new home in Whistler British Columbia. The West Coast of Canada has been my home for most of my life and I think it's going to stay that way for a long time. We have it all out here.
You certainly do! We’ve been loving your photos coming through. Looks like you had a great time surfing recently.
It was so nice to check out a new place to live for the summer months, I moved in with my good friend who happens to own a plane. Because of that we got to check out so many new surf breaks, uninhabited islands and shoot some photos I'm super stoked on.
What is it that you love most about being a freelance adventure photographer?
I love the places I get to go. They're not your average run of the mill locations. Using planes, trucks, motos, snowmobiles and boats we tend to go a little further than the average person. Documenting the process and planning along the way gets me most stoked. Sometimes plans change and we have to re-route but that's all a part of the adventure. And a huge reason why I love my job so much.
You didn’t always plan on taking this path did you? When did you make the change from chasing the dream as a pro snowboarder to an adventure photographer?
I slowly transitioned from chasing the pro snowboarder dream to adventure photography when the tricks started to get really crazy. I could do a few double backflips but when riders started doing triple flips and even quads, I realized this might not be something I can do forever. I want a life that makes me happy until the day I die, and photography is the ticket to that.
Was there a specific moment where you felt that you really broke through and could do this full time?
I remember I was on a snowboard trip to Japan, until this point I never really thought about making money with photography. It had always been something I loved to do since the age of 12. But I never thought I could pay my bills with it. However, while I was there, one of my sponsors paid for the full trip and it was exactly then that it clicked. I was like "Hey, I can get paid to travel around the world, snowboard and shoot photos. I should do this more" And I haven't really looked back since then.
There’s so many photographers these days... How do you try and stand out from the crowd?
I think what sets me apart is that I do more than just shoot the photos. I can ride motos hard, I can ride technical lines on my snowboard and I have access to planes and all sorts of machinery to get us into the backcountry. I take things a step further and include some very talented friends along the way.
What’s the craziest photoshoot you’ve ever done?
The craziest shoot I've done to date is a project with Meta Motorcycle Magazine. I pitched a multi day enduro adventure through the mountains to them. Telling a story of the first nation land we were on, the towns that had been abandoned and of friends camping under the stars with nothing but a motorcycle on our side. We were on some of the most sketchy roads in Canada. Some even date back all the way to the 1880's.
If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would you go?
Honestly, I'd love to come to Australia to surf, ride motos and crack a cold one with the Quad Lock crew. The landscape looks so dramatic and unique, it fits my riding and photography style perfectly. Hopefully you'll have a couch waiting for me when the day finally comes haha
Mate, we'd be happy to host you here! Looking at your Instagram it seems that you’re constantly snowboarding, surfing, riding dirt bikes, hiking, fishing… the list goes on! Do you ever get any down time?
Down time and me don't get along. I start to get a little stir crazy after a few days off of adventure. I'd say I'm happiest in a tent in the middle of nowhere, than a comfy couch at home. Once in a while it's ok but I literally have an addiction to discovering new places. Even close to home.
What software do you use to edit your pics?
I'm pretty basic and use what every other professional seems to be on. I use 90% (Adobe) Lightroom and 10% Photoshop. Mostly using Lightroom to edit colour and Photoshop to edit people and distracting objects out of my images. I have a youtube channel where I've uploaded a few tutorials on my editing techniques if anyone wants to check them out!
What advice would you give someone looking to get into adventure photography?
I would tell folks to focus more on telling a good story than buying the most expensive gear. Go to new places, document the smiles and laughs along the way. Shoot in blue and golden hour. Focus and learn to edit, learn what colours compliment each other. Once you have this down, start investing in better gear. I always suggest buying flights before new lenses.
That's some good advice. It’s been great catching up Tyler. Take care and we’ll speak soon!
Hopefully catch you guys down under soon! I've heard good things about VB? I don't know what it is but I'm pretty down to find out.