In 2008, after travelling to Ireland and Iceland, I decided I wanted to pursue a career in something I was really passionate about: I wanted to become a Travel Photographer, like Steve McCurry, David Duchemin or Mitchell Kanashkevich, just to name a few.
But I had no idea where or how to start. How do you become a professional photographer? How do you go on assignments, document interesting subjects, write about them and get published in a big magazine?
Taking good photos and improving your skills is one thing, easily learned by reading books and tutorials. But pursuing a career as a professional travel photographer/writer is much more difficult and time consuming, and often requires guidance from established professionals. I didn’t know how to properly craft an article, pitch to magazines or stay organized. I didn’t have an idea about how to budget my projects, maintain a blog and eventually earn money.
Personally, I’m the type of person who likes step-by-step instructions. I learn very quickly, but someone has to guide me through the first time. And that’s the reason why I joined the online MatadorU Travel Writing / Photography course.
I usually don’t trust any online courses. I’ve seen many others, promising you’ll become a professional writer/photographer in just a few weeks, with flashy animated gifs and fake testimonials by overly-enthusiastic “students” (who never got published anywhere).
Why did I trust MatadorU? I don’t really know. I’ve been a member of the MatadorNetwork community for a long time and liked the articles they published. It sounded genuine, raw, “ground-level”. They weren’t selling anything, they were just telling it as it is.
So I jumped in. I gave them a chance, but I did put a note on my calendar on when the trial ended in case I wanted to cancel and get a refund.
Matador U exceeded my expectations. It doesn’t seem cheap, ($350) but it’s a course available for life with countless benefits. The faculty and fellow students helped me build my confidence, guided me, gave me valuable feedback and helped me achieve my goals. This is where I am now, a few years later, pursuing my passion and making a living out of my photography.
What does MatadorU offer?
- $350 offers you an online course with helpful professional and published writers/photographers. 12 chapters and over 60 modules are available for a lifetime. You can go at your own pace, without rushing.
- The courses are straight to the point, clear and simple, with assignments and exercises at the end of each chapter. Pro modules are also regularly available for more in-depth explanations on specific subjects.
- The community is supportive and helpful.
- Even after you finish the course, you’ll still have access to the courses, forums and you’ll still be able to interact with everyone. I find it very useful to ask specific questions and meet new students.
- There are weekly Writing/Photo Labs where you can submit some of your work and get constructive feedback from the faculty.
- Matador Access! No more wandering around trying to search for outlets to get published, press trips or contests. You can find interesting (and sometimes exclusive) offers to students.
- A better chance to put your stories out there and get published on the network.
Many alumni have successfully completed the course and gotten published in different outlets. You can check out their success stories.
And unlike fake websites with unconvincing reviews, here is some feedback from major sources in the travel industry.
Time for an important disclosure
Some people might think my post is heavily biased. Why?
But the fact that I am faculty is proof enough that MatadorU is worthy and highly recommended, because I started in 2008 as a student in both the photography and writing course. The courses and the feedback helped me build my confidence enough to strengthen my skills and eventually join the team as Faculty because of the progress I’ve made since the beginning.
So jump in if you dream of pursuing a travel writing or travel photography career. It’s certainly not an easy path and there will be a lot of work to be done, but taking the online course would help you make better decisions. It feels more comfortable when we’re all on the same boat, sharing our stories and passion.
If your passion is calling you, don’t let it wait. Click on the banner below and see you on the forums soon!
“Matador is more than just a high-quality online travel site. It is a great community of travel enthusiasts who mix expert advice and local knowledge through blogs, forums and destination pages. The network goes beyond creating a place to aggregate eyeballs and cheap user-generated content for advertisers. Its unique MatadorU is aimed at helping get better — and not just more — travel content on the Web. The training and advice in MatadorU is a model that other fields of journalism should examine.”
Faculty, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill School of Journalism – from the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW)