You Don’t Need The Most Expensive Gear to Find International Success

Martin Bissig

My name is Martin Bissig and I am a Canon Ambassador and a professional photographer from Switzerland. My previous work has been published in over 30 countries and I work for national and international clients around the world.

As a sports and outdoor photographer, I’ve learned that success doesn’t always depend on the most expensive equipment. In this article, I share my experiences and insights on how I was able to capture a story in Turkey with modest equipment and get it published in more than 10 countries.

Martin Bissig

Martin Bissig

The Importance of the Right Equipment

For a mountain biking trip with my friends to Cappadocia, I chose the Canon EOS R10 with an 18-150mm kit lens — a relatively inexpensive setup costing less than 1,000 euros. This decision was driven more by the need to stay light and flexible than by strategic considerations. My main goal was to capture the action and unforgettable moments with my friends without being limited by heavy equipment. Additionally, I had no pressure from a client to deliver the highest possible image quality for a campaign.

This experience confirmed an important lesson: The best equipment is what you have with you and what suits you. On expeditions and trips, it’s often not about having the most expensive or technically advanced camera, but about choosing equipment that allows you to act spontaneously and authentically.

Martin Bissig

How a Trip With Friends Became a Photo Story for Magazines

When we arrived in Turkey, we were surprised by an unexpected weather change — there had been heavy snowfall. This snow forced us to leave the mountain bikes in the basement at first. But what initially appeared as an obstacle quickly turned into a unique opportunity.

On the second day, we were presented with a landscape transformed by the fresh snow. These unusual conditions created perfect scenes for breathtaking photos that can’t easily be replicated. The flexibility of my small camera, which I comfortably carried in my backpack, allowed me to capture these unique moments. During the bike tours, I spontaneously stopped to take photos, making the most of the situation.

Martin Bissig

The images were so unique that I decided to not just keep them private but also to share them with a larger audience. After returning to Switzerland, I went through the shots and realized the stories behind these images were too valuable to keep to myself. So, I decided to write a story for magazines.

Martin Bissig

I had no intention before the trip to distribute the story to magazines. But such images as I had taken in that area had practically never been published before. There definitely was a market for the content I produced.

Networking and Maintaining Contacts

One of the key aspects of my success in photography was building a solid network. Over the past 20 years, I have developed an extensive network of contacts in the mountain biking, outdoor, and travel magazine industry. These personal relationships are invaluable when it comes to publishing articles.

Maintaining these contacts requires time and effort. I have spent countless hours finding the personal addresses and email addresses of photo editors and editors-in-chief. Direct, personal contact is much more effective than sending emails to general info addresses. A well-maintained relationship with an editor can make the difference between an email being noticed or ending up in the digital trash.

Martin Bissig

My tip for aspiring photographers: Invest enough time in building and maintaining your network. It’s an investment that pays off in the long run.

When One E-mail Isn’t Enough

Another crucial factor in getting my work published was persistence. Even with good contacts, it’s often necessary to follow up multiple times before getting a response. It can happen that I have to send two, five, or even ten emails before I get a reply. I keep at it until I get at least a definitive answer. This persistence ensures that my emails are read and not overlooked, which is especially important in an industry that is confronted with a flood of inquiries every day.

Martin Bissig

Delivering the Complete Package

For successful engagement with magazines, it’s essential to offer more than just impressive images. I’ve learned that providing a complete package – consisting of high-quality images, engaging text, and an informative info box – can make the difference. Magazines look for content that appeals to their readers both visually and narratively.

Therefore, I make sure to deliver a well-written article alongside my photos, telling the story behind the images. Such a package reduces the workload for the editors and increases the chances of my contribution being published. The simpler and more comprehensive the content, the higher the likelihood of it being accepted by a magazine. I always try to put myself in the role of an editor-in-chief and consider what might motivate them to publish my story.

Dynamic Pricing

In my career as a photographer, I’ve learned the importance of flexible pricing. Since I work with clients from different countries, I always consider their varying budgets. For example, a Swiss price level can’t simply be applied to a magazine in Brazil or South Africa.

Martin Bissig

Finding a balance is crucial: on one hand, one should not undersell their work or give away stories; on the other hand, one must remain realistic about the budgets of magazines. Flexible pricing helps build long-term relationships while preserving one’s own value as a photographer.

Worth the Effort

Getting my work published in magazines worldwide is more than just a professional achievement; it’s a confirmation of my passion and dedication to photography. Although the print industry comes with challenges and one certainly doesn’t get rich, it offers the opportunity to tell stories that endure and go beyond the fleeting moments of social media.

Every time I hold a magazine in my hands that features my images, I’m reminded that perseverance, adaptability, and attention to detail are the keys to success. These experiences are priceless and drive me to continue telling stories that inspire and move.

About the author: Martin Bissig is a professional action and outdoor photographer based in Switzerland. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. Bissig is one of the most published outdoor photographers in Europe and a Canon Europe Ambassador. You can find more of Bissig’s work on his website, Facebook, and Instagram.