My name is Annapurna Mellor and I am a travel photographer and writer from the UK. I started taking photographs around 5 years ago – I graduated from university and took off to Kathmandu to hike the mountain I was named after.
After making it up to Annapurna Base Camp, I spent a year traveling solo around India, South East Asia and along the Trans-Mongolian railway.
It was during this year I picked up a camera and began documenting my trip. By the end of the year, I had decided this was the lifestyle I wanted to live. I spent the next four years building my portfolio and traveling the world to become the full-time travel photographer I am today.
In the past few years I have photographed for some of my favourite travel magazines – National Geographic Traveler, Lonely Planet Magazine and Lodestars Anthology. I have worked with International travel brands such as Intrepid Travel, booking.com and Remote Lands.
I have been featured in campaigns with Canon Europe, been a judge in the World Nomads Travel Photography Competition and found my work in Lonely Planet Guidebooks, The Guardian newspaper and on Penguin book covers.
I was recently announced as at the winner of the ‘Cities’ category of the annual National Geographic Traveler Photography Competition 2019.
In addition to having my work published, the highlight of my job is being able to travel the world and tell stories of the people and cultures I meet along the way.
My favourite country is India, but Nepal, Myanmar, Italy and Morocco also hold very dear places in my heart.
For assignments, I’ve been sent to the remote, tribal North East of India, to the chaos of Tokyo and to find an undiscovered side of Ibiza.
Whether I’m shooting in England or somewhere far away, I love the challenge, the stories and the creativity of my job. I feel very lucky that I get to do what I love for a living.
My photography gear is an important part of my job, but I always tell aspiring travel photographers that traveling is much more important than buying expensive gear, especially at the beginning of your career.
I currently shoot with a Canon 5D Mark IV. I’ve used the various generations of the Canon 5D for a few years now, and I love the camera. I feel very comfortable with the functions, and I know it can capture the light, colours and movement I want it to.
The primary lens I use is the Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 II. It’s an incredibly versatile lens for travel, enabling me to shoot landscapes, portraits, city scenes, food and much more without switching lenses.
I use this lens about 90% of the time, and would feel comfortable going on a travel shoot with only this lens – indeed, when I travel light I often just take this kit set up; one body and one lens.
However, I do like the versatility having multiple lenses gives you. I often use the Canon 50mm f/1.2 for portraits, and the Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 is great to get different details of landscapes and cities.
Having a wide-angle lens, like the Canon 11-24mm f/4 can be useful for interiors, I often have to shoot hotel rooms and restaurants. I sometimes travel with a second camera body – especially when I’m on assignment and it’s important to have two cameras and two different lenses on me at once. My second camera is the Canon 5D Mark III.
The tripod pictured here is new, it’s the Manfrotto BeFree Advanced Travel Tripod which I was kindly sent after winning the National Geographic Traveler Photography Competition. I’ve only used it a few times, but I’m so impressed by how light and functional it is.
Other essentials for me are a guidebook – I always use Lonely Planet and find them essential for research when I’m on the road. Pictured you can see my copy of the India book, it’s super big and battered, with multiple chapters ripped out and notes scribbled everywhere.
I also always carry a notebook and pen, both to write down research and also to write names and emails of the people I photograph – it’s great to be able to send them a copy at a later date.
Business cards and a copy of my zine can also be helpful to show people my work. They are more likely to trust me if they can see my work and understand that I am a photographer who will capture them in a respectful, honest way.
Extra memory cards (I use SanDisk) and batteries are essential for those trips when I don’t have much access to power or wifi, and I always carry a few extra hard drives (I use WD MyPassport and have about 8 of them) to back-up all my images – I’m paranoid about losing anything!
Other essentials here are cleaning equipment – dusty lenses and sensors can be a nightmare!
I have a few different camera bags but this one is my favourite, it’s the LowePro Photo Hatchback BP 250 AW II. I have tried a lot of camera backpacks for traveling and this one is the best for me.
While I don’t love how it looks, I do love how light it is, how it is back-opening and well padded. It carries a good amount of kit and also has space for my MacBook pro, a few books and a water-bottle. Plus – it’s not bulky when I’m in crowded markets or cities.
This is the second one of these bags I’ve had – the first went all around the world and ended up pretty battered so it was time to invest in a new one. I’m sure this one will see some great adventures too.