Traveling the world is one thing. Making a job out of it…. now that’s a whole other story. Greta Omoboni is an incredible blogger, business-woman, and world traveler with quite the travel experience. Originally born in Milano, Italy, Greta never seemed to feel the need to stay put – she wanted to see the world, with her own two eyes. From Thailand to Tokyo, and Chiang Rai to Costa Rica, Greta has seen tons of different countries and cultures all across the world and is here today to sit down and chat with Matt to tell us a bit more about her inspiring story!
Matt: So tell me a bit about yourself – where are you from? Where are you living and working now?
Greta: I’m from Milan, Italy originally but I’ve been living in London for eight years. At the moment I’m based in Italy again.
Matt: When did you first start shooting? and what made you pick up a camera for the first time?
Greta: My dad is a TV producer for sports and tourism TV shows. When I was little he often used to bring me along with him on his work trips, and I loved seeing the camera guys creating content. One day, on one of these trips there was a spare camera and they gave it to me to have a play around with, but some of the footage actually turned out nice and was used in the shows. That was the early days of when my passion for travel and photography was born.
Matt: No way, that’s so cool. I’m sure he was a big inspiration to you. Do you have any other people or places that inspired you when you first started shooting?
Greta: One of my main inspirations was always shooting recognizable landscapes and sunsets. I loved capturing travel photos that would make it obvious on first glance where the photos were taken.
Matt: That’s awesome, I always feel like making photos of things that are recognizable are harder because people know what to expect and see kind of, but that’s really interested that that’s what you sought after at first. What would you say inspires you now?
Greta: To be fair my interests haven’t changed massively, I still love shooting landscapes and sunsets. I love sitting there, waiting for the sun to go down and taking loads of photos, capturing all the different shades of red and the changing sky. I’ve changed a bit in that now I’m also inspired by every day scenes. I like walking around and capturing random events of daily life, like people walking down the streets or markets.
Matt: What did you shoot when you first started out?
Greta: I started my blog when I was still working 9-5 and living in London, so most of my first photos were from London. I would take photos mostly of famous London landmarks, sunsets, food and portrait style photos of my friends in London.
Matt: That’s the hustle right there! I love to hear that’s how you started out. :) At that time, what was your camera setup like?
Greta: I had a GoPro Hero 4 Silver and Nikon D3300 that I’ve had from before I started blogging. At the time I got them because they were recommended as good beginner cameras, and I wanted to learn to take cool photos.
Matt: That’s funny that you say that actually, I have those two exact cameras as well based off friends’ recommendations when I started out. Since then, have you gotten new gear or upgraded anything? and what impact do you think equipment (camera, lens, etc…) has on a photographer?
Greta: As a travel blogger that likes to travel light, my equipment hasn’t massively changed. I usually only travel carry-on and don’t want to add too much stuff to my backpacks. I got an additional lens for my Nikon, an f/1.8 35mm fixed lens, perfect for creating that bokeh effect. I had seen other Instagrammers creating this effect and I knew I wanted to try it. However, I mostly use this lens for portraits or food photos, since unless I’m travelling with other bloggers most of my family and friends don’t understand how to use it, and the photos always end up out of focus. I’ve also added a DJI Spark and GoPro Dome to the gear I usually travel and shoot with. I love them because they allow me to create content from a unique perspective, which is a bit different from the standard camera.
I don’t think the equipment has a huge effect on the photographer. Ultimately if you don’t know what to do with it, the best cameras and lenses out there won’t take stunning photos by themselves. I’ve seen gorgeous photos taken on mobile phone cameras, as well as pretty average photos taken with DSLRs. Personally adding more equipment to my gear helped me take photography and blogging more seriously, and it pushed me to experiment and practice more, but it didn’t inherently make me a better photographer. I find one of the reasons photographers improve when they step up their gear is also because if you’ve made a monetary investment in something, you’re more likely to take it seriously.
Greta’s Travel Journey
Matt: When did you first start traveling seriously? (making content, planning things, etc..)
Greta: I started traveling more when I quit my 9-5 job in May 2017. I’d had my blog for six months at this stage, and I started taking it more seriously now that I had the time to dedicate to it. I started going on more and longer trips, focusing both on living the experiences but also getting that content to build my blog.
Matt: How did you get started? Did you study photography or content marketing/blogging at all? In school? workshops? If not, how did you learn?
Greta: I learnt through trial and error and from other bloggers. There wasn’t really a “school for bloggers” when I first started, so I picked up bits and bobs from chatting to other bloggers, through community Facebook groups, from reading blog posts, from conferences and from some online e-courses. I learnt about lots of different strategies from different people, and then implemented them to come up with something that works for me. In 2019 I started another site called From Zero to Blog Hero with a fellow blogger. Our mission was to make it a one-stop-shop for new bloggers, so they wouldn’t have to go through all the searching for different sources of information that we had to do.
Matt: That’s so true honestly – starting a blog has no clear rules or set path, but help from friends and research, plus trial and error is always the way to go. So after you started your blog, how did you get into photography/content marketing as a business?
Greta: I have always thought of my blog and Instagram as a business. I started it because I saw other travel bloggers doing it as a job, and knew I wanted to be able to do the same. I think that’s one of the things that made it possible for me to monetise my blog fairly quickly, since I always treated as something that could one day become my job and not just as a part-time hobby. I try to always be personal, relatable and to tell a story beyond the photos. There’s a lot of travel creators on Instagram but I think my followers enjoy the personality and honesty behind my account.
Matt: I’m curious – how do you decide where to go next? What pulls you into a new location that you want to travel to? Seeing photos of a new place you haven’t been? Hearing stories?
Greta: A bit of both. Instagram is the first place where I find inspiration for trips. I follow a lot of travel content creators and I always see loads of stunning travel photos that make me want to visit certain destinations. After the initial photos I will usually chat to people that have been there, watch videos, read blog posts and then start planning a trip.
Matt: Do you ever get nervous to travel? (Weather? Culture? What you’re going to shoot? etc…)
Greta: Not really! Traveling is one of my favorite things to do and I’m always excited before a trip. The little mishaps that can happen along the way are all part of what makes it so great. I also tend to avoid stressing about things that are out of my control. If it rains it can’t be helped, I’ll just adjust my travel schedule accordingly.
Matt: Do you always use natural lighting? Or do you ever use studio lighting / any lighting equipment?
Greta: I always use natural light, but the kind of light I prefer depends on the shot. I love the golden hour light around sunrise and sunset for the vast majority of shots, since it makes everything softer. However, if I’m in a particularly beautiful beach destination with clear turquoise water I love shooting when the sun is high. The light is quite harsh but I find it really brings out the color of the sea, which otherwise looks a bit greenish during golden hour light.
Matt: What’s your favorite thing to do when you’re traveling? (Photos? Food? Museums?)
Greta: My favourite thing to do when I’m travelling is always being out in nature. I grew up and have always lived in cities, so I love changing it up a bit when I’m travelling and spending time outdoors. Hiking is one of my favourite activities because becsides being a bit of a workout, you can also see more of the place you’re travelling to. I’m also a huge fan of all sorts of water sports, I like travelling primarily to beach destinations and doing things like surfing and snorkelling. Tasting the local cuisine is also a must for me.
Editing with Greta
Matt: Take us into post production – how did you learn about photo / video editing?
Greta: I learned from other bloggers and Instagrammers. I used to edit all my photos directly in the Instagram app, not with the preset filters but just tweaking the brightness, saturation etc. From chatting to other bloggers, both online via Instagram and in person, I learnt most people were using Adobe Lightroom so I decided to give it a go. For videos I still use iMovie on my laptop.
Matt: Walk us through your process for editing. How do you usually go about your photos once you get back from a trip or shoot?
Greta: My editing process is fairly straight forward. I only use Adobe Lightroom to make the colors stand out a bit more. Cameras usually don’t capture the vibrant colors you can see with your naked eye, so I try to bring those back in post production. I like to keep my edits natural, just enhancing colors that were already there but might not have been captured by the camera.
Matt: Is there something that you haven’t shot yet, but would like to?
Greta: I’d love to shoot the Northern Lights! I went to Lapland in winter last year but we only saw very weak aurora shows, which you could barely see with the naked eye and that didn’t look very exciting on camera. I’d love to give it another shot and photograph a proper aurora borealis show.
Matt: What are some long term goals of yours? Who/What do you wish to shoot one day? Where’s one place you’d like to travel that you haven’t been to yet?
Greta: I would love to do a long trip and travel around South and Central America. I’ve been to Mexico, Costa Rica and Brazil on separate trips, but besides that I’m still missing the majority of countries in that region. I’d love to hike at and take photos of Machu Picchu, or shoot the colourful murals of Medellin, and the pristine beaches of the San Blas Islands.
Where to Find Greta’s Work:
Greta is an incredible photographer, blogger, and world traveler. For more of Greta’s work, be sure to check here Lightroom Presets out here. Plus, follow her on Instagram and keep up with her blogs, Greta’s Travels, London Dreaming, and Zero to Blog Hero.