During a quick visit in Nantes, we were received by our friends Caroline and Mathieu, from the blog Voir le monde (excellent travel blog that I highly recommend)
They went around the world for 2 years – before deciding to come back to France and start a brand new career, Caroline in digital marketing and Mathieu in photography
How to succeed in his reconversion after a trip around the world?
How to become a professional photographer?
Which camera to choose for the round-the-world trip?
Mathieu, who became a professional photographer and corporate photographer in Nantes, tells us everything
Many world travelers choose the reconversion after the trip. Why did you choose to be a professional photographer?
Indeed, after several months of nomadism and freedom, it quickly became clear to me that it would be difficult to return to a closed office. This type of trip is therefore quite conducive to a reconversion, if only because of the long time you have at your disposal to answer the question of the after trip. And as far as I am concerned, the daily practice of photography and writing during my world tour quickly turned out to be a path to explore
Professional photographer is therefore in a way a way to extend the trip by telling stories from here, while giving oneself the opportunity to go back on the road one day
What are your specialties?
I mainly work for the press and companies, as a Photojournalist and Corporate Photographer respectively. These two activities allow me, with different constraints and expectations, to blossom in what I like to do most, namely reporting and portraiture. And thus to combine both, mobile fieldwork and new encounters. The experience of this round-the-world trip is still a great help to me today in the practice of a demanding job where you have to constantly adapt to situations and people who are sometimes very different
What training did you take to become a professional photographer?
As surprising as it may seem, I first started by learning how to code within a Dev Bootcamp! Having worked in the world of start-ups, I always kept in mind the possibility of eventually participating in the creation of a new online media. Then I wanted to perfect my technical knowledge within the Gobelins, the school of image and also to widen my photographic practice beyond the “classic” SLR cameras by working with the camera and medium format, especially in the studio. This is more the part of Corporate photography and Portraits
And finally, I completed the photojournalism curriculum at the EMI-CFD in 2015/2016 followed by an internship as a photojournalist in a Parisian editorial office. Today I am a member of the Hans Lucas studio, a structure gathering more than 300 freelance photographers and allowing me to distribute my work to image professionals of the press and media
What are your tips for a successful retraining after the world tour?
My first piece of advice would be not to wait until I get home to start thinking about it. I even think that this reflection should be part of the project prior to a world tour, even if I recognize that it is difficult to predict in advance the impact that such an adventure will have on you. And the best way to become aware of this is surely to meet some of the Tour du mondistes who came back!
What equipment do you recommend for world touring photographers who are passionate about photography?
For my part, I set off with very simple equipment that I changed twice during the round-the-world tour to adapt to my needs and my progress. And there is today a wide variety of very good quality equipment that will adapt to your needs in terms of compactness, ergonomics, resistance to dust, water..
No need to leave with the latest Canon or Nikon full-format camera if your practice only aims to bring back memories that will only be published on a blog. Sometimes a simple smartphone could be enough! It is therefore important to know your needs. For photo enthusiasts, I still advise you not to forget that you will have to wear this equipment most of the time and also that in many countries it will make you a bait for thieves
If I had to go back today, I would prefer some rather compact and cost-effective fixed lenses such as the 28mm f/2.8 IS USM, 40mm pancake, 50mm f/1.4 or f/1.8 and 85mm f/1.8 USM on a rather compact full-format body that isn’t of the latest generation, like a 6D or a robust 5D mII at Canon (or at Nikon a D610 and the equivalent in fixed lenses)
I would also combine it with a second, more compact and discreet case, the Fuji X100T for example seems to me to be a very interesting choice. But there are also very good solutions at Olympus and also Fuji that are seducing more and more photojournalists for its relative compactness/discretion and the quality of the images produced
Then it is also a question of budget and priority. And from a certain level, you have to keep in mind that it’s not the camera that will make a good picture but the eye of the photographer!
Thank you Mathieu for all this advice! You can follow his photo-reports on http://www.mathieuthomasset.fr