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Photographer, Graphic designer and luxe traveller of the world, Michelle Chu of @michutravel shares her insider knowledge with the PAMPELONE girls…

Michelle in the 55 Playsuit

When and how did you get into photography, was it always a hobby?
I studied media arts, with a focus on graphic design. Photography has always been a hobby, and now I’m lucky it’s my profession.

What inspires you?
Beautiful things, especially nature.

Who are the photographers you most enjoy the work of?

Too many to list!

What camera do you use and what’s your usual camera set up?

Sony Alpha Rii, with different lenses

A lot of your posts have been taken using a drone! Tell us more about how you started using it…

I’ve always loved experimenting with new photographic angles and perspectives, and I thought a drone would allow me to get more of a range of photos. Especially as I’m addicted to the Maldives, I think the only way to truly capture the feel of being on such a small island is with the help of a drone. Having seen the islands from a seaplane’s perspective, I wanted to be able to capture the beauty from above.

Where’s the best location you’ve ever been?

As most people would guess, it’s got to be the Maldives – I just cant get over how beautiful
the island blues are. I have been to Fiji, Tahiti and the Seychelles… I’m an island addict!
But the Maldives will always hit the spot for me. Besides tropical islands, I love Iceland and
Greenland. I guess I love places that I can feel most connected to Nature.

Michelle in the Natalia Mini

What’s the hardest thing to capture?

The moment!

Sometimes it’s easy to take a shot of a beautiful location, but its difficult to capture the essence of how that moment feels to me. Or at least convey that to my audience. What advice would you give to people just starting out as travel photographers?

Keep shooting, try new angles and watch Youtube videos for techniques!

The best advice you’ve ever been given?

Don’t give up!

Of all the amazing locations you’ve shot at, which has been the most amazing?

Santorini- best sunset hands down! And it’s such an easy place to get great content.

Michelle in the Beso in Blue

How do you manage to balance Graphic Design and Photography?

I think having a graphic design background gives me an advantage in terms of how to frame
my images. I do some freelance graphic design nowadays, but I’ve been so busy traveling lately I’ve had to pass over many projects to my designer friends.

What do you do with your days off?

Catch up on sleep, see all my friends from home (this is the hardest part), and go to all the restaurants that I miss. And probably more work haha!

Do you always travel with a lot of photography kit?

Always! My carry on is always over 15 pounds of gear.

What’s your creative process like?

It depends on what the project is about, whether its product or location.

How much is pre-planned and how much is left up to chance?

50-50, sometimes, or at least most of the time, I plan when I arrive the location. I do have
some ideas when I do my research, but often it depends on schedule, lighting, weather, etc…
There are too many unforeseen conditions so I try not to stress or plan too thoroughly!