Ever dreamed of quitting your job to pursue your passion? Jack Morris a.k.a. @doyoutravel on Instagram did just that and has become one of the most popular influencers with 2.7 million followers to date. Find out how becoming an influencer has changed his life, what inspires him and pick up a few travel photography tips to help you improve your way around the camera.
Jack at a roadside store selling bananas in Bali
Hi Jack, what made you realise you wanted to do something else with your life?
I was a carpet cleaner for five years but it wasn’t my passion. I love being creative; I was a skateboarder while I was cleaning carpets and that was my idea of creativity. Then one day I woke up and realised I wanted to do something different with my life. So I booked a one-way flight to Bangkok to travel for fun.
How did you become an influencer?
I’ve always loved taking photos, videos and knew I was going to do something visually creative. When I started travelling, it was just about going to beautiful places and meeting people. But when I started sharing my photos on Instagram, I received great feedback from followers who then encouraged me to post more. Things really took off when I met my girlfriend, Lauren Bullen, and we posted photos of us travelling together. She already has her own followers Instagram (@gypsea_lust) and I think the fact that I get to travel full time with my partner is something that people aspire to do.
Taking a break to admire the majestic pyramids in Egypt
How did you pick up photography?
I was already taking photos and videos since I was 9. At 16, I got a skateboard sponsorship, which meant I was constantly surrounded by professional photographers and videographers. That gave me a chance to learn from them. In fact, being able to take photos every day during my travels has helped me discover more about photography and even think about how the editing would affect the outcome of my photos.
What do you look out for when composing your shots?
Firstly, good light. I try to shoot during the golden hour, one hour before and after sunrise. I also keep my photos quite clean, so if the environment is messy, then I wouldn’t shoot there. I also see how I can incorporate myself into the photos as it adds perspective on how big the landscape is.
Exploring one of Cambodia’s many temples
Who takes all your photos on Instagram?
My photos are shot by my girlfriend and I. For shots with both of us in them, we use a tripod and set the camera on timer mode. Interesting story: we were at Angkor Wat in Cambodia, it was an early morning and we wanted a video of us walking around the temple. The only person there was a cleaner sweeping up leaves and she didn’t speak a word of English. So I had to communicate with her using hand signs – I asked her to hold the gimbal and follow us around for four minutes – and she did it perfectly.
Check out the full video below:
How do you plan your shots?
We travel like everyone else and if we see something unique that catches our eye, we capture it. When we were in Rome, we stumbled upon a particular street with flowers on the wall, and Vespa scooters parked along the side. With the morning light passing through the street, we knew it would turn out to become a great photo.
Soaking in the sun-bathed streets of Rome
In Cappadocia, while most travellers stood on hotel rooftops to watch hot air balloons, Lauren and I wanted to get a breakfast photo instead. No one had done this before and we asked the hotel owner to help us out. So we set up a table, threw in some rugs and cushions to create a relaxed atmosphere and ate our breakfast while the balloons flew by. It worked really well and is one of our most liked photos. Since then, all of the hotels in Cappadocia have set up breakfast tables on their rooftops for guests to watch the balloons.
Jack and Lauren enjoy breakfast amidst hot air balloons in Capadoccia, Turkey
Your photos give off an authentic and aspirational vibe relevant to millennials. Why so?
We try to recreate moments that we have experienced. It’s important to keep our photos authentic and relatable. Take for example, Lauren’s birthday celebration. We stayed at Giraffe Manor in Kenya, a hotel well-known for having giraffes peek into their windows during breakfast. To achieve that photo, we set the tripod up and placed little biscuits on our table. While the giraffes were eating the biscuits, we had to be careful and act as if we were having breakfast. We took hundreds of photos so we could pick the best one. That turned out to be our most popular photo.
Breakfast with new friends at Giraffe Manor in Kenya
If you had to describe your style, what would it be?
I try and keep my photos timeless; my edits have this vintage yet modern look and at the same time the tones aren’t so saturated.
How do you ensure consistency without filters?
We make our own presets on Adobe Lightroom so we can be consistent in our edits. We also shoot in RAW format so there’s more room to adjust during post-process, even if we’re shooting really quickly.
What inspires you?
My favourite feeling is going out there and seeing the unknown. It’s nice to get to a place and wander around without knowing what to expect and that’s something I really crave to do a lot of the time. Lauren and I are going to Egypt in a few days’ time and we’ve not done any research. Sometimes we’ll ask our followers for recommendations on where to go.
Behold one of the ancient pyramids of Egypt
How has becoming an influencer change your lifestyle?
It has made me very appreciative of the fact that I can travel full-time for work. Initially I thought I would have to go home and return to carpet cleaning. Living on the road and the freedom it comes with has changed my life for the better. Obviously, it’s also given me the chance to meet my girlfriend while we were on a job together in Fiji.
What does it take to become a successful influencer?
If you’re genuinely having a good time, I think that will reflect in your imagery and relate to people. If you’re trying a bit too hard, it comes off quite transparent in your images and that’s not going to work well. You have to love what you do and be original.
What’s the biggest misconception about being an influencer?
That we have the perfect lives. We love what we do and capture beautiful photos but no one sees the unpleasant things. For example, when we were in Chefchaouen, Morocco, the weather was really warm, we had to carry all of our bags, take an overnight train followed by a full day of travelling in a taxi – and Lauren was unwell the entire trip.
Enjoying a breather among the blue walls of Chefchaouen, Morocco
Where are your top three places to photograph?
Cappadocia; it’s surreal to watch hot air balloons float by every morning and the light there is amazing. Greece because the streets are so photogenic; just walk around as there are photo opportunities everywhere. My two favourite islands are Milos, a quiet island that’s naturally beautiful, and Zakynthos with its huge cliffs, beautiful blue water and a shipwreck on the beach. Giraffe Manor in Kenya as it’s the best hotel I’ve stayed in by far.
Jack takes in the view of Zakynthos Island in Greece
Which country would you return to again and again, why?
Bali – Lauren and I are currently living here because we love the healthy food and laidback lifestyle. People here are so friendly too.
Bali’s picturesque paddy fields
If you weren’t an influencer, what would you be doing?
Something that allows me to be free and do what I want to do. And something that allows me to travel.
Jack Morris’s Top 3 Photography Tips
1. Walk around and find good light.
2. Practise using your camera, then go back to the editing room and observe.
3. The only real way to learn is to be consistent and again, practise.
Receive the latest update on photography news, tips and tricks.
Be part of the SNAPSHOT Community.Sign Up Now!
Jack MorrisTravel and lifestyle influencer Jack Morris traverses the world with his girlfriend and fellow influencer Lauren Bullen in search of unique experiences, which he shares on Instagram with his over two million followers.