Most of us love to travel. The excitement of new locations, new scenery, fresh ideas. It inspires us and feeds our creative soul. If you’re like me, I tend to put a lot of planning and creative energy towards shoots that take place while I’m traveling. I look forward to it, marking these shoots as standout portfolio builders and points of growth. But, have you ever stopped to think about all the missed opportunities for amazing shots right in our own backyards?
If you love travel, then you have probably fantasized about traveling the world and getting paid to do what you love, photography. I still remember my first destination wedding. I was hired to shoot a wedding in Ireland and I nearly lost my mind. I couldn’t believe someone was willing to pay me money to travel across the globe to take pictures. I had already had the travel bug, but after this, all bets were off. I was hooked and would spend the next 10+ years looking for any and every way to travel the world doing what I love.
Over the years, I worked with Laura on several occasions. For a hobby photographer, it’s a true pleasure to work with a professional model. Laura doesn’t need much direction, works hard and doesn’t complain even when we’re shooting outside in the pouring rain. She also has a great sense of humor and it is always good fun working together. After shooting with Laura, the results are always “next level.” In this article, we will share the 4 pillars of a successful location shoot with you, based on our recent experience in London.
From a bird’s-eye view, this adventure looks quite glamorous and the end result of these productions most certainly is. But what folks don’t get to see are the 16-hour days in 110-degree heat put in to get the shot, the 4am call times for light, the intense pressure of clients’ high expectations, the cold-calling to get new clients, the all-nighters I pull to get retouched images over to a client before their print deadline, the endless hours my Dreamteam and I spend estimating and planning productions, and the hundreds of emails that go back and forth for each and every shoot. There are no sick days in this kind of work.
I am an artist—a creative soul that cannot be tamed, a dreamer with a big heart who refuses to allow societal rules to define me. But I didn’t pop out of my mother’s womb with big ideas and a nomadic spirit; it was something I fought for over the span of several decades. I was born into a world of manners and politeness; you are conditioned to believe the ideals of your community and are told what to say and when to speak. It was a toxic environment that killed individuality and creative expression, but I never realized that there was a different way while inside the comfortable confines of my hometown.
I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that you’re probably interested in shooting destination weddings. There are a lot of reasons why photographers want to photograph destination weddings. For one, you get to experience capturing the wedding in an entirely different scenario than what you’re currently used to. Destination weddings often have carefree clients who are interested in amazing photography and will typically choose places that feature beautiful scenery.
When it comes to traveling and personal photography, I like to edit and share my images on the fly. This means I'm not waiting to connect to my RAID storage drive at home before I can get started on my images. I want to quickly ingest memory cards, save Raw files to a fast external drive, and add my photos to Lightroom. Lightroom Classic is typically my go-to for photo gigs, however, in this case I want to be mobile and share edits fast. This is when I use Lightroom CC. I can truly travel light for post-production and have the ability to edit from my phone.
For us, it's about empathy. As artists, we believe many things go into creating beautiful, unique work, but being empathic with our fellow humans is the only way to truly understand and grow the way we create art. That's what photography is to us. It's getting to know and learn about life from some of the most energetic, gifted, and spirited souls our planet has. What we do enriches our lives and our marriages daily. So we've put a lot of thought into creating an experience for our couples that will reflect this enrichment in our art and give our couples the once-in-a-lifetime photographs that they deserve. We call these “adventurous elopements.”
I’m on a mission. For some unexplained reason, I relish in seeing others experience the joy of being an artist and living their dream of making a living with their camera. Hang out with me for any length of time, and I will ask you a lot of questions. Such as: What do you love to do more than anything on the planet? How many non-paid, non-client self-assignments do you do a month? Are you working on a body of images in a series? How do you feel if someone tells you your work sucks? What are you doing to market your work? My goal is to get photographers to get off their butts, get out, and create their own path.
I love to travel. I love learning about different cultures, tasting new food and seeing new things. It seems we all have a bit of the travel bug, which is awesome. I don’t know a single photographer who wouldn’t love to make money while traveling. But how? You need a business plan outlining how you will pay for your travel. This month, I tell you how I got started and how I run the traveling portion of my business.