Outside the famous 14 hills and amazing cityscape, the city of San Francisco has a special side denoted by Word Class art galleries, museums, and historical sites. One of its sons, Brandon Oda, is making huge waves in the travel photography and software engineering circles. Brandon specializes in portrait, landscape and sunset photography. Some of his best works have been featured in leading national magazines and newsprints. For the software engineering bit, Brandon has ingeniously created his own custom editing software, which he uses to enhance his photography.
Brandon developed an interest in photography at an early age. His works were a common feature in the school’s gallery and publication. While in high school, Brandon was egged by his teachers to take up computer science classes at Brown University. From here, he went on to pursue art at the Providence-based Rhode Island School of Design. Studying at RISD was a crucial turning point in his career; it is here that he developed the creative vision to advance his photography trade. Brandon Oda enjoys traveling and participating in outdoor activities such as hiking and mountain biking.
How did you choose to become a travel photographer?
First of all, traveling is fun, since it offers you the opportunity to escape the usual routine, meet different people and go to interesting places. I enjoy the fact that I can use my camera lens to freeze the moment, tell a story and attract audiences. When I was starting out, I was mostly drawn to portraits and landscapes.
What inspired you to travel?
Seeing the energy and motion of the big city like LA, where I grew up was always inspiring. In my work and resident city of San Francisco, there are many historical sites, awe-inspiring art galleries and human-interest stories that compel me to go out and discover the world.
What’s it like being a travel photographer?
Travel photography means different things to different people. For me, travel photography drives me closer to the things I am interested in and care about.
How do you choose your travel spots?
Most of the time, this depends on the specifics of the assignment. The other contributing factors include budget and the amount of time allocated. Before going out on location, I usually scour the internet to get valuable insights about my travel destination. I normally use valuable tools like travel blogs, Pinterest visual search engine and Instagram accounts to gain insight.
Which of the places you’ve traveled to have been your favorite photo shooting locations?
There is so much beauty out there that I cannot begin to fathom. However, the most outstanding photo shooting places in my view includes mountain cliffs, sunsets, and busy city streets.
What do you usually look for when taking a picture?
This is actually a mind game. When discerning the composition, I usually pay close attention to things like pattern, lighting and the rule of the thirds. These elements are crucial since they can make or break a photo shoot.
What simple tips do you often use to capture great travel photos?
As I pointed out earlier, travel photography gives me the opportunity to chronicle numerous events and bring them to the public eye. To get the most out of the adventures, I usually take time to choose the right moment. It is also important to look at the angles and overall symmetry.
Outside of work, what is your favorite place to travel to?
While in the US, I enjoy going on vacation at the Aspen Mountain range in Colorado and the expansive California wine country in Napa Valley.
Have you ever traveled to a place and thought you should just stay?
This has recurred to me many times. The places include homestays and monastery. One particular homestay experience in Italy gave me an opportunity to learn a different language and share in the culture. Sometimes the urge is not even about places, but the kindness of the people.
What is typically in your travel bag?
Inside my carry-on luggage, you will always find the notebook, laptop, phone, and some clothing.
What do you usually carry in your camera bag?
My custom camera bag is designed to fit the camera and a few accessories like memory cards and extra batteries.
Do you process images while you’re traveling or at home?
I prefer to do that when I am at the studio. This way I have all the time to process the images.
What piece of advice would you give up and coming travel photographers?
If you are starting out as a travel photographer, you can get to a flying start by shooting your scenes on RAW and using dedicated software to edit the shots. RAW allows the photographer to leverage the camera capabilities before post-processing the photos to the required size and settings.