Fujifilm users were treated to a next level landscape photography workshop by one of the world’s premiere landscape photographer and Fujifilm Global Ambassador Elia Locardi. In partnership with DMCI-Sheridan Towers, proceeds from the workshop and the live shoot all went to Gawad Kalinga’s anti-poverty campaign Kusina ng Kalinga.
Held earlier this month at the Shangri-La Hotel in Makati, Locardi shared his inspiring story about how he and his wife started to travel around the world full time, living a 100 percent mobile lifestyle. Location independent, he tags himself and has traveled to over 55 countries all over the globe and collaborated with major companies, brands, and tourism agencies.
Locardi’s easily recognizable style gave him a worldwide following. He aims to share places he’s been and hopes to inspire others to travel to the same location. Creating content with Fstoppers and collaborating with Professional Photographer Magazine, CNet Australia, and Wacom USA, Locardi has built an engaged social media following of nearly three million people.
At the workshop, we were able to able to sit down and have a one-on-one interview with him.
How did you develop an interest in photography?
I developed an interest in photography in college, but I only had one course. I actually got more into videography, never really thought of still photography as something that I wanted to do. And then getting into animation, I had to use Photoshop and I got a job doing high-end Photoshop retouching, so I learned all of the post-processing and print side of digital, but I never really went into photography. Photography came about because when I started traveling, I wanted to take photos, but I didn’t realize how much I actually was going to love it. And I loved being in art school, but along the way in my career, when art became work, I got burnt out. So photography was sort of a new spark of inspiration and it was something that I felt was just a beautiful art form and I enjoyed it. And it was like, it re-sparked my desire to create art. And that’s why even now, today, like the photography I try to do my photography fill myself because it inspires me. It’s a great—and I just think it’s a really good art form.
So how did you start? How did you start getting into it?
I just decided to do it. I didn’t mean to. It was in 2009 when I really started getting serious about photography. And at the time, I didn’t know I wanted it to be a business, I didn’t know how it was going to work, but my wife and I decided that we just try it. And we start traveling and building a portfolio. Social media came out, in 2011, became public in social media. I invested a lot of time in sharing my work, sharing my profile, and trying to get my work out there. And slowly, over time, I started to build an international reputation and through traveling to different locations, I was able to start making connections and turn it into a business. And it’s been slow growth over the last seven years to get to where we are now.
So how do you prepare before you go to another place? What do you do?
Well, that’s assuming that I prepared at all. (laughs)
Makes sense, you’re always on the go.
Yes. Sometimes, there’s some meticulous planning if there’s some video components, then we do a little bit more planning. Sometimes… there’s some potential in an area and I’ll get there and just kind of go with it. Sometimes I like to do things on the fly. I’ll get to a location, scout it for a few days, and figure it out as I go. Usually, for the location logistically, we’ll plan a route if we’re going to a different country and we will try to stick to that. But it’s usually based on what we see as potential in different areas.
So aside from a coffee press, what equipment can’t you live without?
It’s mostly the support, the tripods, clamps, and tabletop tripods that I use. So it’s basically having all the tools that I need to be able to get the shot at any location that I have to be in. Whether it’s in a landscape where it’s sort of grassy and I need to have a heavy tripod or I’m in a city where tripods aren’t allowed, and I have sort of a tabletop tripod that I can setup here on like a stone, pedestal or in Dubai, when there’s nowhere to setup a tripod and I can take a clamp and I can put it on a railing or the edge of the building to be able to get it. All those accessories become very important.
What was one unforgettable mistake and how did you learn from it?
Unforgettable mistake… thankfully, I haven’t made too many of those. I think the most common ones is when you start and you’re shooting different environments, you—the best thing you can do is zero out your camera settings. So when you wake up in the morning you don’t accidentally shoot at like ISO 3200. So most of the mistakes that I’ve made have been accidentally shooting in JPEG only or higher ISO because I was shooting time lapse the day before and I forgot to turn it back to RAW.
So with the wide range of photography, why did you choose landscape to be one of your go to?
Because I didn’t—at the time—I didn’t care if I sold my photos or not. I was creating work for myself and I felt most inspired being in landscapes. Because these were the places that I wanted to visit that I wanted to experience. So photography became a way for me to capture the emotional response that I had in a location and translate that so that somebody sees it for the first time who hasn’t traveled would then be inspired to see and travel to that place. But it’s because those are the places that I’m most drawn to.
What advice can you give to aspiring photographers?
I think that it’s very important to stick with it. It’s not going to be instantly gratifying. Photography is something that you have to invest a good portion of your life in and you have to understand that it’s something that nobody ever masters in photography. Every photographer has something in common that they all want to get better. But the most important thing as you’re doing it is you have to do it because you enjoy it. Don’t do it because you want to make a lot of money, pick doctor [or] lawyer. There’s easier things you can do to make a living. Pick photography because it’s your passion and stick to that. And if you stay true to that, then success will come.