1. Carve out a niche
On that life-changing trip, Ulla travelled to the volcanic islands of Vanuatu in the Pacific Ocean to see an active volcano – fulfilling a childhood dream. "All I'd ever wanted was to see an active volcano," she says. "By coincidence, there was already a team from National Geographic there, so I convinced them I could cook, and they hired me. I was proud to be able to learn from the best – but it also made me realise how much more I needed to learn to get published."
Inspired by the team – many of whom were scientists – Ulla returned to study natural resource management and photojournalism. "With these degrees, I was much more prepared, but I needed a niche, so I specialised in indigenous cultures, particularly communities living around active volcanoes.
"It's a very narrow field but it was my breakthrough moment – a lot of magazines contacted me. I carved out this niche by proposing the right stories. You need to invest your time, money and energy into something you're passionate about. I just do what I love. My motto is: 'Don't dream it, do it'."