Toby Guu on Travel Photography

Toby Guu, currently Taiwan

A Canadian digital nomad left home in 2017 & has never returned. Toby works online as a software engineer & doubles as an Instagrammer - Youtuber on the side for fun to share the beauty of the world with his international audience.

Toby tells us about his camera gear,

Sony A7iii – One of the best low light cameras available.

Sony 16-35 F2.8 GM – General purpose wide angle lens

Sony 70-200 F4 G – Secondary lens for when a bit of telephoto is needed.

GoPro hero 7 black – Great portability, Epic stabilization.

DJI Mavic 2 Zoom – Bought this on a whim when he lost his 3rd Mavic Air.

Exploring more about his favorite lenses, Sony GM 16-35 F/2.8 all-around lens. The wide perspective really catches the whole picture & can double as a portrait lens at 35 when you need that bokeh.

Toby has always been keen on giving that feel of the place from his works to audience,

"I generally try to only go for landscape / travel photos… & really try not to be too artistic when taking photos. I aim for the best light & mood. Nothing abstract. Always show the viewpoint & give a sense of 'oh I really want to go there' to my audience".

"Myself". Toby expresses when asked about his favorite subject to photograph as a Travel photographer, adding further he says, "Ha ha. Not going to lie – I’m pretty narcissistic".

Toby is a full time traveler, changes his location per month as he move in to new country currently staying in Taiwan, is himself an inspiring example for people around the world. Talking further about his inspirations, he is inspired by whole group of travel photographers before him. It would start with @jacob, @jordhammond, @lifewithelliott.

Because of his line of work as a remote software engineer, he can literally travel to anywhere he wants, at any time. So he would say there’s no 'favorite' or else he'd be there right now. In terms of places he definitely wants to hit up more in the future to ´Eastern Europe, Africa and South America.

To take better photos Toby tries to find inspiration mostly from Instagram, Google satellite view, Google street view. He has honestly spent thousands of hours looking at google street views trying to find the best angle or spot(s) in certain countries / cities.

"I research to almost an obsessive extent. I always know the exact shot I want & research to the point where I know exactly what angle I should be shooting from & where the sun should be. From there I can decide the optimal time to hit up the location".

Expressing about his photography style as semi-realism, almost Utopian, Toby adds that he tends to boost & exaggerate lighting in post production. Describing further about how he tries to make a good picture stand out Toby expresses, " I have no idea" then continues to explain that he has photos that he considered as 'good' & those were never received well by his audience, & there are photos went viral which he had considered 'bad'.

"Lighting! For sure!" exclaims Toby while explaining about important aspects according to him while shooting photos as he continues further, "Shooting in the middle of the day with harsh shadows and the sun right above is completely different from shooting at sunset or sunrise, when you have longer shadows and contours! Oh also, there’s generally no tourists at sunrise".

When asked about his favorite works Toby says by recalling memories, "I have no favorite. Each shot brings back memories (either good, bad, or funny) about the situation I was in and how much I went through to get the shot".

Toby discusses difficulties as a travel photographer for him, Well – to be honest, since this is not for profit, its not that difficult. It’s all a hobby. Sometimes weather sucks & he has ended up stuck in a tiny town in the middle of nowhere for a few days, but… it's all part of the journey. The worst was actually when he fell off a motorbike in Indonesia, became disabled & was stuck in bed for almost a month without the ability to walk!

Toby shares his fond travel memories with us, there are too many. he has always been off the beaten path so almost every day, he looks at his life and thinks “oh my, I bet not many tourists have ever experienced this before” – whether it be from living in a Van while driving from southern to northern Japan following Cherry blossoms as they bloom in the spring time to… making local friends in Switzerland who end up taking him up the most epic peaks & mountains to experience wild camping under the milky way right by millennia old glaciers…

"The constant feeling that I need to be putting out content. I have actually fallen down this trap recently. I haven’t been that active for the past two months after one of my videos blew up in Hong Kong and I started receiving death threats". Expresses Toby as what he likes least about Travel photography.

Lastly Toby shares a very useful Travel tip with us,

"Use common sense and get insurance! I will sometimes purposely disregard my own common sense because I get genuinely curious about how bad a situation or scam might become --- but definitely be cautious about this. When I was hospitalized in Indonesia, that wasn’t cheap. Especially since I didn’t have insurance.

So now I have yearlong medical global travel insurance".

Toby Guu insta: guutoby

All the images in the article are clicked & are intellectual property of Toby Guu

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