With a camera in one hand and a backpack on his shoulders, Isa Khan has embarked on incredible expeditions to explore the hidden gems, cultural wonders, and breathtaking landscapes that India, in particular, and World, in general, has to offer. From bustling city streets to remote corners of untouched creation, every step he takes is an opportunity to capture a moment that freezes in time forever. On Our Spotlight this week, we have Isa Khan who is well known to the Instagram community through his viral reels that show an alluring world.
From a life of numbers and theories as an Economics Professor to the creative life of travel, photography and content creation, Isa Khan chose a different life for himself. He understood and learnt the nuances of social media, travel and photography all on his own. The team at Social Nation had the golden opportunity to talk to Isa Khan about his love for travel, his commitment to photography and cinematography as a skill and the emotions around his lady love and his wedding. Here are some snippets from the conversation.
- From an Economics professor to a travel blogger, photographer and Content creator, what has the journey been like?
“The journey obviously has not been rosy all the time. In fact, it has been a little bumpy.”
‘I have never learnt photography or cinematography back in school or college. I started taking pictures because I loved travelling. I taught myself the basics of photography by watching a lot of videos on YouTube. There is a concept in Economics of specialisation, so over time as I repeatedly practised photography, I got better at it. I still don’t consider myself a master but a learner and will continue to be one. After all, “Photography is all about observing things around you” and there is always something new to observe.’
‘For somebody who does not enjoy monotony, I love the challenges my profession brings and I enjoy executing these challenges well.’
- You recently married the love of your life. The pictures and videos are breathtaking! The pictures of your honeymoon in the Maldives are also terrific! How did you pick the destination?
“Yes, I married someone that I really love and I am lucky to be one of those people who got a chance like that. Thank you so much for the compliment.”
‘To be honest I always wanted to travel to Turkey or Norway for my honeymoon but finances had it other way so I collaborated with a company to travel to Maldives and they were very happy to host us.’ Even though Maldives was not my first choice but after visiting the place myself, I know why it is such a favourite honeymoon destination. Maldives is absolutely beautiful and the sunsets over there are something else.’
- You have travelled across states and cities in India. Which is the one place that resonated with you the most?
“To pick a name of the city would be unwise and unjustified.”
‘I always believe every place has its own essence. This is not a philosophy but has a logical backing to it as well. Any place is not limited to its landscape. Its real essence can only be understood through its people, cultures, festivals, food habits and many more factors. All these factors together add to the beauty of the place. ‘
India is such a diverse country, with every 100 km here, the culture changes. So as a traveller, I cannot pick one place. I always learn something new and experience something different at every place. I believe one should visit a place with open arms.’
- Your bio reads “On a quest to show the world how beautiful my India is.” Which is that place you want to visit?
‘As I already mentioned, India is a diverse country with a diverse topography. On one end we have beautiful beaches and on the other end, we have a barren desert. We have some of the tallest mountains in the world. Barring commercial places, there are so many unexplored nooks and corners in India that are yet to be explored.’
‘If I had to name one, then I would love to see the Northeast extensively. I have been to Arunachal and Meghalaya but I want to experience Nagaland as a priority. I would also want to see parts of Odisha and Nicobar.’
- What is your advice to budding travel content creators?
‘A 2-hour lecture on this also would not be enough but I’ll try to summarise in a few points.’
‘According to me, the only way to content creation or life, in general, is through “persistence and perseverance.”
‘You could pick any successful person, at least 99% of them have achieved their success by continuing to do it for years even after they have failed multiple times. I agree there are a few god-gifted people but for me, I have to build my world through perseverance and persistence.’
‘For the last 5 years, I have made it a point to show up every single day. I try to post at least one post a day either a reel or photograph, every day sharp at 5:30 PM and now we are soon going to be a family of 700K on Instagram. (Currently, Isa Khan has 726K on his Instagram account.)’
- Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
‘Honestly, I don’t know. I am somebody who loves to plan but I don’t plan this ahead. At max, I have planned for the end of 2023.’
‘Social media platforms like Instagram have been changing rapidly. With AI, it is very difficult to predict the next 5 years.’
‘ For me planning for the end of 2023 is my long-term goal. I definitely want to do a travel show of my own and achieve 1 million followers on Instagram by the end of the year, which I have broken down into small numbers for my short term goals.’ “Planning is important in life but too much planning kills the joy.”
- If you had the opportunity to travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
“Without thinking twice, it would be Norway.” ‘Norway has been a dream of mine for so many years now. I want to travel to Norway with my wife and want this holiday to last a good month. I hope to travel soon.’
‘Apart from Norway, I want to travel to Turkey, Iceland, and the US. I want to see Times Square.’
- Where did you learn the different photography techniques?
‘I am a self-learned photographer and cinematographer. 90% of the things that I know, I have learned through YouTube and blogs. I started with phone photography and to better my photography I learnt about DSLR. Through blogs and YouTube videos, I understood what shutter, aperture and exposure are. Slowly, I started with phone applications like Lightroom Mobile to learn about colour grading and then moved to Photoshop.’
‘Once reels were introduced, I knew it would be a “hit formula” and then I started working on my videography skills as well. Videography is very different from photography in terms of its equipment and techniques. 90% of what I know is through YouTube and the remaining 10% I have learnt by observing people.’
- We are sure you have awesome hacks to edit pictures. Can you share a few with our readers?
‘Of course, there are tips and tricks but I think you can learn the shortcuts only after you emerge yourself completely in the process. Even after I give my hacks, I think people can only understand by learning it themselves.’
‘Applications such as Photoshop are vast and one has to extensively explore them at least for a month to understand them better.’
‘Since I am into landscape photography, I will tell you the hacks around it.;
‘For example, if you’re clicking a landscape, break it into 3 parts- the foreground, the middle ground and the background. When we see things we see them 3 dimensional but our pictures are only 2 dimensional. As a photographer, I divide the landscape into 3 parts that give the pictures depth and allow my viewers to have a real experience.’
‘For editing hacks, there is a term called universal change. For example, if you’re changing the exposure of a picture, instead of universally changing, do a selective change. I try using different kinds of masking. I would advise people to learn more about masking. This will positively impact your photos and videos. As an artist, I am in better control since I have started to make selective changes through masking.’
- To wrap up, tell us more about your upcoming travel that we should watch out for on your YouTube and Instagram.
‘In the next 2-3 months, I will be travelling to international destinations. In the near future, I will be travelling to Indonesia.’
‘Apart from it, I may also travel to Switzerland, a few countries in Europe and the Philippines.’
The world of travel and photography opens up a whole new dimension of exploration and storytelling. Through the lens of a passionate traveller such as Isa Khan, we are transported to distant lands, immersed in diverse cultures, and captivated by the breathtaking beauty that surrounds us. For a man who evolves by teaching himself new skills and techniques, Isa has surely motivated us to continue learning. Social Nation wishes Isa Kha a speedy 1 Million on his Instagram.
We can’t wait for the pictures from Indonesia!