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Gain insight into Nicolas Jægergaard’s journey to becoming a digital nomad and learn from his experiences!
It was always in the cards for me to become a photographer since my extreme passion for photography started at a very young age, already quite a few years back…
… Throughout my childhood, I was always incredibly fascinated by photos and the opportunities that lie within the astonishing photography world.
As the years went by and I grew older, photography technology grew better and better, and I always dreamt of owning an actually good camera. And I remember the day bright and clear like it was yesterday when I finally made the purchase that, until this day, maybe still has been the most significant life-changing purchase I have made.
I bought my first camera when I was 13 years old. It was a Nikon D50, Crop sensor camera.
And why did I choose Nikon? Well, my parents had an old analog Nikon Camera, so naturally, I figured, I should also get a Nikon. Although one thing I knew for sure, was that it wasn’t going to be an analog one haha.
So, I ordered a Nikon D50 camera with a completely standard kit objective, and then I was ready to conquer the world! As soon as the camera arrived, I did what I expect many other newbies probably have done too – took pictures of literally anything within close vicinity. Living room plants, my pets, the grass in the garden, and plenty of other random things were all to be found in my camera roll.
- No shame in that at all – it was definitely a good starting point. The more I ventured into the world of photography, I came to realize that there was a lot more to take pictures of than my own home, and the living room plants were getting a bit boring.
Slowly it unraveled to where I am now. So remember, it’s completely fine to start from the bottom, where mistakes are made – all photographers have been there.
I found out then that I absolutely love creating something pleasing to the eye, something for others to look at and enjoy.
As mentioned earlier, I have almost always known I wanted to do something with photography, but the how and what took time to figure out.
To begin with I figured that something related to graphics was a good way to start, having similar fundamentals to photography. So I started a degree to become a media graphic designer, which is a 4 year vocational education. It was a really good school and I learned a lot.
- Maybe not so much with photography, but a lot about composition, colors, lighting etc. Many things that I have brought with me in what I do today, so it was by no means 4 years wasted.
I went traveling after the media graphic designer degree, and took a classic gap-year trip to Australia. Here I traveled around sometimes in groups and other times alone. I also went to New Zealand for two months where I lived in a van – one of my best memories…
… When I came home to Denmark after my gap-year, I worked a couple of different places; for example at LEGO where I sat and worked with Excel all day – so no photography unfortunately. Having said that, it was one of the best workplaces I have ever had, and I ended up staying there for a year and a half!
Upon my departure came the realisation that now was the time to get properly started with photography. So in January 2019 I created a company, and since then I have been a freelance photographer.
- But if I look back and really think about it, then I have probably always known to some extent that I wanted to work professionally with photography somehow.
Other than photography I also love traveling, and in the past two years, I have managed to combine these two passions! Seeing new places and experiencing new cultures brings me so much joy and that is why, I to this day, have chosen the path of becoming a travel and landscape photographer.
This is an incredible opportunity for me and a great privilege to combine my passions of; taking beautiful landscape pictures and capturing unique cultural experiences for my audience to enjoy together with me.
- Honestly, I think it’s a little insane to think how lucky I am to be able to live my dream this way; I gotta pinch myself in the arm sometimes.
For a long time, my biggest ambition was to become a freelance photographer, which I have now accomplished.
Even though you have high ambitions, then I believe it’s also a necessity to have passion and the drive of wanting to learn and improve.
Especially with the digital advancements of the recent many years, it’s important to constantly want to learn more and do your best to keep up, even though it can be hard
The first and most important step of the process of becoming a digital nomad or travel photographer is setting clear and concise goals. At first, it can be helpful to make numerous small goals. These goals need to be achievable and help guide the path to the end goal.
- When setting these goals for yourself make sure to start asking yourself questions about what you want to accomplish, and why! This will then help build the how, and start you on your path.
I personally knew that I wanted to visit beautiful places and capture the best possible shots whilst exploring different cultures. To do so I needed sponsors.
- This led me to set goals for myself about getting parts of my trips sponsored so that I could afford to go!
Creating a niche style
Finding your own personal style or niche can be difficult when embarking on the journey to becoming a digital nomad. However, its an imperative part of making yourself stand out, and linked closely to the next step of building a brand.
Ask yourself a few questions to get started:
- What do I like?
- What kind of Travel Photographer do I want to be?
- Where do I see myself in five years – and how do I get there?
Do research on other digital nomads, and get inspiration from their styles to eventually build your own niche – I found mine to be very landscape photography focused!
Build a brand
In order to start building your brand, you need to have clear goals set to create your personal style. Once that is done you can build a portfolio, create a website, make a logo and start building showcases.
- All of these things are necessary to make you stand out and become recognizable. It also helps separate you from amateurs and makes you more unique! – Maybe you also, like me, have another passion that you can unite with photography and combine for building your own personal brand.
I have created a website that showcases my recent work with a mix of both landscape photographs and contracted work that I’ve done. On my website I have also chosen to implement a webshop, newsletter signup page, contact page and about page.
Read more about building a personal photography brand here.
Build your presence
Depending on what your brand and niche are, it can become relevant to build a presence on social media. Instagram, being the most visual social media platform, can be a good place to start!
- Think about what you want to portray through your social media accounts and how you want to keep your followers engaged and interested!
Make yourself stand out – look into how other people portray themselves on the chosen platform!
Master the art of self-promotion
Channel your inner salesman and master the art of self-promotion. This may require you to jump out of your comfort zone to fully embrace the opportunities in front of you. If your personality is mostly introverted and you dread anything sales-related, it can be helpful to get inspired by others that are on a similar journey.
- Look at how other people in your field promote themselves and take notes. Learn from others and don’t be afraid to reach out and ask how they got there.
Maybe even take on a book or two to shift your perception and gain the courage you need!