Maximizing Opportunities While Traveling with Melanie Anderson


Maximizing Opportunities While Traveling with Melanie Anderson

This month’s edition of Shutter Magazine is all about travel. I want to share with you several ways to maximize opportunities while traveling. I am always looking for ways to reduce my costs, find ways to generate income and create images for print competition.

I recently took my family to Florida for a week. I was finding during my planning for the seven of us that we needed more than just a hotel room. I came across vacation homes and thought this would be the perfect solution. While on the phone with the rep, I asked if they needed any updated images of the property. I explained that I was a professional photographer, and invited her to visit my website. I ended up securing a reduced rate in exchange for commercial images.

The minute we arrived at the property, I had my husband drop me off before any family members could even enter. I captured all the images needed to showcase the home. I uploaded the images to Dropbox to complete my end of the arrangement. We had a fantastic time in a home that was perfect at a price range that was affordable. Afterward, I contacted the company again discuss ways for myself and my team to travel back down to photograph, video and provide drone and 360VR options to the rest of the properties they manage.

Educational Travel

During “educational” trips, I am looking for locations where I can capture print competition images. I set aside a day before or after my speaking engagements to be able to relax and sightsee. These are the times I can enjoy nature and landscapes, and create images for my portfolio and to enter into state and national print competitions. I love these opportunities. I’m surrounded by a new environment and get to see the world differently through a lens. I don’t always take my professional camera with me, sometimes just my iPhone. My goal is to just create.

Commercial Videography

Another way to maximize my time is by providing our cinema services to properties where we are staying or along the way, as well as to other photographers. We have recently begun videoing highlight reels for photographers from all over the country. The reel showcases their services, their environment and their interaction with their clients. These photographers often enlist my mentorship services, or help facilitate workshops for other photographers.

Drone and 360VR

Another resource we have started to provide recently is drones and 360VR. These services are still quite new to some areas. We are building our portfolio with more of these visuals. Even if they are not paid gigs yet, these opportunities provide us locations we can showcase to potential clients, providing a ton of variety. This allows us to perfect our style and efficiency so we can provide a service that other photographers cannot.

Family Portraits

Every year our entire extended family heads to the beach. This is the one time we all come together. We gather ideas on location and clothing, and maximize the opportunity. This is my opportunity to create beautiful wall portraits for my family. As the saying goes, “The shoemaker’s kids don’t have shoes,” and I don’t want that to describe me. I want to document my family as often as I can.

You can put a call out on social media saying you’ll be shooting at a location and that you are seeking subjects.

When traveling to visit extended family, find out if any family friends would be interested in family portraits, and set aside a few hours to create for them as well.

Finding Inspiration

Several times throughout the year, I just need to get away, whether by myself or with my family. I renew my soul at the beach. I need to be there often to find peace and clarity. The time at the beach allows me to just breathe. I find this vital to my ability to fulfill all my responsibilities throughout the year.

Another place of inspiration is Disney World. This past year, I invested in an annual pass. This was the best money I spent all year. It’s an easy flight for me to Orlando, and I was able to get away with my kids one on one for a few trips. I leave Disney feeling inspired and ready to tackle anything. I can walk into the parks feeling overwhelmed, anxious and unfocused, but I leave feeling that I can achieve anything I put my mind to. As I walk through the parks, I am always in awe of what has been created there, the fact that one man dreamed this and his team made it a reality.

Dream big and believe. These feelings are truly a huge part of who I am. When I’m feeling that life is too much, or my plans and ideas just aren’t coming together, I know it’s time for a trip to Disney. Find a place that speaks to you and inspires you to be better and do better.

Action Plans

  1. Find ways to reduce costs and generate income.
  2. When planning travel, think about the locations where you will be staying and the places you will be visiting. As you are researching hotels and vacation homes, take a look at property websites and social media pages. Find out if they are in need of updated commercial photography and videography. All you have to do is ask. What services are you able to offer? Additional services could include graphic design, like a revised logo, and promotional materials. When providing graphic services, think about the social media aspect as well, such as Facebook timeline covers.
  3. Discover opportunities along the way where you can provide commercial photography, family portraits, etc.
  4. Take time to create for print competition. Think about ways to push yourself and your skills in creating nature portraits, epic landscapes, etc.

Get the full story

To read the full article, launch the digital version of the April 2016 magazine.

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