Todd Glaser – How to Become a World-Renowned Surf Photographer


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Todd’s Wild Idea: To take amazing pictures of waves and the athletes who ride them.

Todd Glaser is one of the most sought-after surf photographers in the world. As a staff photographer for Surfer Magazine since 2008, he’s earned more than a dozen covers. Today he takes photos on land and in the water with surfs stars like Kelly Slater, Jack Johnson, Rob Machado, and more.

Todd grew up in Solana Beach, California, competed as a body boarder, went to school for photography, and then immediately took his love of shooting his friends in the water, and turned it into a thriving career.

His work has appeared not only in sports publications like Surfer and Outside Magazine, but also in the New York Times, Rolling Stone, and the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery. Most recently, Todd took photos for the latest Taylor Steele Movie, Proximity, and just came out with a photography book around it that he self-published, and is currently shipping from his mom’s garage.

Listen to this Episode if:

  • You love surfing.
  • You read surf and sport magazines.
  • You’re interested in photography and want to know how to take better photos.
  • You love being in the water.
  • You consider yourself a shy person.
  • You want to know how Todd can tread water for eight hours at a time.

Key Takeaways

  • 4:20 – Todd’s tips for sun protection and hydration.
  • 7:30 – How Todd stays healthy on the road.
  • 13:15 – Why Todd gets asked back on photoshoots with the best athletes in the world.
  • 16:45 – How to become a surf photographer.
  • 20:40 – What happened after Todd went on a surf vacation with friends and shot photos after graduating from college.
  • 24:15 – How Todd got in at Surfer Magazine.
  • 26:15 – How to capture a great portrait shot.
  • 30:00 – Why it’s important to be yourself on a shoot.
  • 32:00 – How Todd has been able to take his photos from surfing publications to the Smithsonian.
  • 34:30 – What it’s like collaborating with surfers.
  • 35:40 – Advice for aspiring photographers.
  • 39:10 – How Todd negotiates fear.
  • 42:50 – Why Todd is excited about his new book, Proximity.
  • 45:30 – How much work goes into publishing a book.
  • 50:30 – Todd’s advice: Turn your phone off!

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