The Travel Darling Newsletter
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Meet Caitlin and Meredith, two expat photographers from Texas who moved to Berlin to develop their craft. Together they founded The Glass Passage, which highlights their signature colorful photography and love of travel.
We met four years ago in our hometown of Plano, Texas through a mutual friend. We actually grew up in the same neighborhood but didn’t meet until after university. We immediately hit it off due to our mutual love for travel, photography, and getting creative!
Photography has always been a hobby for us both. We began taking portraits of friends and family for fun. This quickly grew into working with fashion bloggers, weddings, and commercial work.
We did a lot of research to find a school in Europe that offered a strong photography program and was taught in English. We finally found the perfect one in Berlin, a city we had never visited but had heard so many good things about. Eight months later, we can safely say that Berlin is one of THE coolest cities in the world! Unlike New York or London, it isn’t nearly as crowded, relatively affordable, and full of young creatives from all over the world. It is the perfect home base for catching cheap flights almost anywhere in Europe. Our least favorite part is undoubtedly being so far away from friends and family. Oh, and struggling to learn German (it’s not easy)!
Caitlin: Mine is one we took at sunrise one morning in Prague on the Charles Bridge. It was right when we moved to Europe. We woke up super early when it was still dark outside. We waited forever in the freezing cold and were about to give up and go home, and finally the most magnificent sunrise blinded through heavy clouds that hung over the Old Town and castle. It was a reminder of why we are doing what we love.
Meredith: I was in Paris this past February walking around St. Germain (my favorite area) one morning with my camera. There was an old (impeccably dressed) French man passing by an empty café, presumably on the way to get his morning coffee. I snapped a photo just as he glanced over to me across the street. This is what I love, when the stars align to create the perfect moment, even if only for a second, and I’m there to capture it.
Caitlin: The struggles of Nikon vs. Canon — Meredith’s and my daily dispute — if only we could share lenses. I use a Nikon D610 and have several lenses. My favorites are my 50 mm 1.4f, 18-25 mm 1.4f, and 105 prime lens at 2.8f. I love my MeFoto green tripod, it’s light enough to travel with and has the 360 rotative ball. My leather camera bag is from Etsy and has been through quite the beating and never gives up. I edit with Adobe Lightroom and absolutely love it. No filters, just simple editing on my MacBook always.
Meredith: Team Canon all the way! 😉 I shoot with a 6D and mainly use my 24-70 mm/2.8 lens when traveling, it’s so versatile and works in most situations. I’ve also got my trusty 50mm/1.8 for when I want something lighter, and a 14 mm just for fun. I also have recently loved experimenting with my Canon AE-1 analog camera and color film. For editing, a combination of Photoshop and Lightroom are my go-to. It’s very easy to switch between programs!
Caitlin: I think constantly challenging your skills is important. Weather you are practicing Milky Way photography or long exposure shots, it’s fun to try new things! I am obviously drawn to color, so I look for that in photos I like. I think less clutter in images is better and looking for something that really catches the eye.
Meredith: There are so many beautiful environments around the world that become only more intriguing when people are captured within them. I love trying to catch locals on the streets or my travel buddies interacting with the setting.
Caitlin: Practice, network, and get out of your comfort zone. I get so nervous asking people on the streets to take their photos, but it’s challenging and important. I use social media for networking like crazy. Use relevant hashtags, email your photos to people who you want to have feature you, give your cards out like crazy.
Meredith: Just start taking photos. Shoot your friends, family, whatever is around you. Learn as you go. It’s important to build a portfolio of things you love, create relevant photos for the kind of photography you want to do. Learn who you are, what you like, and don’t be too swayed by others, there are so many different ways to pursue a career in photography. Stay true to yourself but also keep your mind open, the best way to learn is from others in your field.
Caitlin: Having a website is a full time job. Even when we are traveling, we are constantly chasing the daylight to get the perfect shot, searching for a late night coffee shop with wifi to edit and write, or the constant emailing. It helps that there is two of us, though! We are all about making lists and splitting up the tasks while striving to make our own personal deadlines. The best part is that even if it wasn’t a job, the photography and editing is fun to me, so I would be doing it anyways. Of course people just see the photos of us with our arms up on a mountain peak, feet dangling over cliff sides, or perfectly prepared brunch plates… but the work is 24/7. One day after shooting a 12-hour wedding…we had our feet in my bathtub sharing a bottle of wine on the verge of hysterical tears. It’s not always glitz and glam, but it’s our passion to urge people to get out there and travel.
Meredith: I’d say my time is never really divided, there is just a constant stream of things that need to be done! I like lists, a lot. If I don’t write something down I’ll likely forget it. It’s been fun learning more about social media management and marketing through growing our business. Luckily, everything that I do, whether it’s for The Glass Passage or my own freelance design and branding business (my degree is actually in Graphic Design), is all still creative and I love every part of it!
Caitlin: After a long weekend trip we were back on a bus in Berlin. Of course we were chatting and missed our stop. We had our massive backpacks on and were trying to scurry off at the next stop, but my boot got stuck between the door and side of the bus. Everyone was yelling in German at the driver to stop the bus while Meredith frantically tried to pull my foot out. Most days are typically this hilarious and awkward for us trying to make it as expats.
Meredith: Our most recent trip was in Spain. We rented a car in Mallorca to have the freedom to drive around the island. Our first morning, we set off for a certain beach on one of the most treacherous roads I’ve ever experienced! I was gripping the wheel of our Mini Cooper, dodging the hundreds of cyclists sharing the two lane narrow highway with us. With all of the hairpin turns, steep cliffs (with no guard-rails!!) and tour busses barreling around the bends, it was nearly impossible to pass any of the bikers. If I had a dollar for every car that angrily zoomed past me, middle finger in the air….
Caitlin: [on Instragram] @graymalin – I stalk/love him. His drone shots of gorgeous beaches in Italy with colorful umbrellas and swimmers are so gorgeous. @helloemilie – I drool over her pastel shots of nature with loads of negative space and pure simple beauty.
Meredith: Instagram is a really cool way to become connected with photographers and creatives from all over the world. There’s several talented people I’ve come across and now regularly follow for inspiration and motivation. Living in Berlin is also quite inspiring, I’m constantly surrounded by brilliant creatives and founders of innovative start-ups. I really love discovering new independent magazines and websites, they use the coolest, freshest talent to capture their publications.
Caitlin: So far I’ve checked a lot off the list. My favorites were Iceland, Lofoten Islands, Norway, and Peru. But the more I travel and chat with people the longer my list keeps getting. I would love to do a safari in Africa, and Bali has always been a dream place as well.
Meredith: I’ve been able to travel to so many of my dream destinations in Europe with The Glass Passage. Someday, I’d love to travel through Southeast Asia and South America!