Lisa Michele Burns is an incredible photographer, her website and Instagram account are the stuff travel dreams are made of! With seemingly great ease, Lisa captures the beauty, simplicity and magic of a place or a moment in a photograph. She’s a little bit awkward and a little bit awesome too. Lisa loves wandering aimlessly around new destinations and gets seriously excited about maps.

Recently Lisa launched her beautiful new website, The Wandering Lens, a visual guide to the world from her perspective as a photographer. It’s filled with photograph tips, the best photo locations in cities around the world and personal adventures (mostly about her clumsiness) along with travel articles aimed at inspiring people to explore the world with their cameras. The Wandering Lens is one of my favourite travel blogs/websites and a must-visit site for travellers.

Today, Lisa shares the story of how she became a travel photographer, her tips for taking great photos while travelling and more. My favourite part of Lisa’s interview is this sentence, which sums up perfectly my views on travel as well, “I believe travel is one of the richest educational experiences a person can have.”  Thank you for sharing your photographs and your story with us, Lisa.

New Zealand

You live a life most people would dream of, how did you get to where you are? 

With a lot of hard work and some big dreams. I studied Journalism and have always been obsessed with the world and geography so travel media made sense. My photography work developed after I had been working as a journalist for a few years and I was approached to do some photo features for Lonely Planet (my dream job!) while travelling in Europe which in turn led to more photo work and then I couldn’t stop! I’m a big believer in jumping at opportunities and creating your own luck.

What made you decide to live the life you do, travelling and taking beautiful photographs? 

It was during a trip to magical Morocco when something clicked and I realised photography was more than just a hobby and could be turned into a career. After living in Europe for two years and working freelance for travel magazines I returned home to Australia and opened a landscape photo gallery on Hayman Island which professionally was a huge step forward but it was also the hardest thing I’ve ever done. After five years on the island, I made the decision to hit the road and create The Wandering Lens so I could bring destinations around the world to life with my images and spread a little wanderlust because I believe travel is one of the richest educational experiences a person can have.


What would you say to someone who wants to live a similar life, but feels intimidated by how many brilliant photographers are already out there? 

Photography isn’t about comparing yourself to others it’s about finding your own creative eye and allowing it to shine through in your work. Don’t be shy about letting others see your images because there isn’t really a wrong way to take a photograph, sure there are the wrong settings for a particular scene and lighting but once you have that sorted it’s more about how you interpret a scene rather than trying to copy how others have photographed it before.

What have been your favourite moments you’ve captured? Why? 

Inside the Medina of Marrakech, Morocco; the wilderness and incredible mountain landscapes of New Zealand’s South Island and photographing underwater in the Aitutaki Lagoon of the Cook Islands. Each moment is a favourite because when I look back at the photographs I am immediately taken back to these special destinations. Sometimes when I’m taking photos I get so carried away with the camera that I forget to look around, it’s always the places where I stop and enjoy that end up being amazing memories both photographically and personally.

What has been your favourite country/city to photograph? Why?

Again I’m going to say Morocco. Can you tell I’m a little in love with this country? The city of Marrakech is a hidden world of maze-like alleyways filled with speckled light, colourful characters and endless photo opportunities. It’s a sensory overload and each time I visit I fall head over heels all over again.

What are your top five photography tips for the average traveller? 

  1. Get off the beaten track, go hiking or explore national parks to photograph incredible landscapes.
  2. Don’t be afraid to try new angles whether it’s attempting half underwater/half above water shots or lying on the ground and taking a shot upside down. It’s fun to see things a little differently!
  3. Try and change the way you see the world. Composition is a crucial element of photography and your photographs will improve dramatically if you think outside the box. This post on my site, about how to creatively compose travel images, may help you too.
  4. Avoid harassing people for photographs and remain sensitive to local cultures. Sometimes a great shot just isn’t worth taking if it’s at the expense of someone’s privacy.
  5. Learn about your camera. It’s not about having the most expensive camera or the most megapixels, it’s about knowing the settings and using them to your advantage.
Great Ocean Road, Australia Landscape

What has been your favourite place you’ve travelled to? 

Italy and France have always been countries I want to visit over and over again but in terms of experience, I’ll never forget standing on the rocky cliffs of Nordkapp, Norway. It’s the northernmost point of Europe and I watched the midnight sunset and then rise after a day of reindeer spotting and fishing in the Arctic Ocean.

How have your travel experiences changed you? 

I was quite the naïve traveller when I first ventured off at 18, the second I had enough saved up for airfare. After experiencing so many different cultures it’s made me grow up and open my eyes to the world, I’m now more aware, more patient and less materialistic when it comes to possessions. I’d much rather see a new city and see how other people live their lives around the world than buy a new car.

Who or what inspires you most and do you have a motto/words you live by?

My family have always been a big support and that inspires me the most because I’m away from them a lot. I constantly get texts from my mum with a secret spot she saw in National Geographic that I should visit…Iceland is big on our must-see list! I don’t really live by a motto, I try to just enjoy every moment and capture them to the best of my ability.

Find The Wandering Lens online here, on Facebook here and on Instagram here.

All images used within this blog post have been supplied by Lisa Michele Burns, which means they are her property and must not be copied, downloaded, saved or otherwise used without her direct permission. Please contact Lisa directly and obtain her permission if you would like to use any of the images contained within this post. It’s incredibly important to respect the integrity of creatives, so please remember, photo piracy isn’t cool, fool! 

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