Celebrated travel photographer Lottie Davies’ best advice: chase love not money

Travel and fine art photographer Lottie Davies spent several years photographing food, but her real passion was travel and portraits – she’s since redirected her career to focus on these interests.

Though Lottie Davies has been a professional photographer since 2000 – shooting everything from travel to staged narrative pieces – she learnt her craft as an assistant, when she “picked up tips from the people I worked for, and discovered a few of my own along the way.” Lottie’s work now features in newspapers, glossy magazines, books and advertising campaigns, and she has won numerous awards, including First Prize in the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Awards 2008 and her collaboration on 'Dreams of Your Life' with Hide & Seek/Film 4.0 was BAFTA-nominated in 2012. Here, she shares an important piece of advice she picked up on her way to success...

Young sumo wrestlers in training in Tokyo, Japan. Image shot by Lottie Davies on a Canon EOS 5D with an EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens.
Young sumo wrestlers in training in Tokyo, Japan, April 2010. Image shot on a Canon EOS 5D with an EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens. © Lottie Davies

Choose your own pigeonhole or someone else will choose it for you

“Know the thing you're photographing. I think it was Salgado who said, 'if you want to be a documentary photographer, study politics.' He's absolutely right. I shot food for seven years, but it bored the pants off me. So if I had to give you just one piece of advice it would be this: don't be seduced by paid jobs unless they are what you want to do for the rest of your career. I became a food photographer by mistake, and I had to unravel that before being taken seriously as someone who photographs other things. Choose your own pigeonhole or someone else will choose it for you. Photograph the things you love. In my case, it's a face, or a landscape, or a story, not a steak.”

For more game-changing advice from professional photographers, visit our stories page.

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