Valerie Lopez, B.S.C. ’14, has the solution to your travel photography concerns: instead of selfie sticks and blurry photos taken by strangers, she offers professional photographers, on demand, wherever you are.
Lopez is co-founder and CEO of Shoot My Travel, a company she created after realizing that she had very few good pictures of herself on the many trips that she had taken.
Shoot My Travel connects travelers with local photographers in over 400 destinations across the globe. In addition to snapping and editing a series of photos, photographers act as informal tour guides to their cities. The service is popular with couples and families but available to anyone with an internet connection to book online.
Lopez, who was born in Miami to Colombian parents (and whose father often hired photographers when he traveled with her mother), says they’ve completed over 5,000 shoots this year alone. “Photography is not purely transactional,” Lopez says, “it’s about human connection. We provide a photography experience.”
Since its founding in 2015, the company has been featured on various international news sites. It won the Web in Travel (WIT) Japan & North Asia 2018 Startup Pitch event and was included as one of 2018’s top 18 travel trends in American Way magazine.
As CEO and co-founder, Lopez’s daily activities range from taking out the trash or buying snacks for the office, to defining the team’s vision and meeting with potential investors. The most rewarding aspects of her work have been watching her team grow and seeing photos from users and emails about how happy they are.
The School of Communication alumna credits her UM photography professor for teaching her how to make a career out of photography. In terms of running the business, she says she learns as she goes. “I learn by having a student mindset,” she says, “by reading, being curious, and asking a lot of questions.”
For more information, please visit shootmytravel.com.