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Behind the Scenes Video

Lesson 17 from: Becoming a Travel Photographer

Laura Grier

Behind the Scenes Video

Lesson 17 from: Becoming a Travel Photographer

Laura Grier

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Lesson Info

17. Behind the Scenes Video


Class Trailer

Class Introduction


How to Break Into Travel & Destination Wedding Photography


How Are You Perceived as a Photographer?


Brand Yourself Before Others Brand You


Activity: What Are Your Photography Goals?


Owning Your Own Style


Preparing for a Photoshoot


The Importance of Research


Lesson Info

Behind the Scenes Video

doing who you are behind the scenes. So after that video, I was like, I know way too many videographers to have a much better produced video than that. Like I should take advantage of this fact. I I just basically had took advantage of another shoot that I had, where they already had videographers coming. A bride and groom. I was doing an engagement shoot in the desert. It's not really an engagement shoot. They had been married for 12 years but never had a professional photo taken. They didn't have a photographer at their wedding, and the bride and groom are artists. The bride is an installation sculpture artist and the rooms a videographer. And so they wanted to have video and photo of like a 12 year anniversary shoot, where the bride asked me to light her dress on fire while she's standing in it. So I said, OK, I've never been asked to do this before, but like love, a good challenge, let's do it. And her reasoning behind it was that and you'll hear me explain it in the video she she ...

wanted to use, like the burnt charred pieces of her wedding dress in an art installation she was gonna dio like honestly. And so she thought this would be so great. But to do this whole shoot, let's go out into the desert, run to place for the weekend. We had to take a lot of precautions in terms of like flame retarding the dress and making sure we had, like, fire people off the scene to make sure that we could put out a fire. That's the case. And, you know, we do a lot of prep better than I did for the other, doesn't she? So wait. We were prepared. And I loved this story idea because there was a story and I love that she came to me with a story. Usually that isn't the case. Usually I'm creating the stories. It was nice to to have another artist come to me with a story and to be able to illustrate that. So I decided I'm going to step it up a little bit and ask one of the many friend that I have where videographers to come and just do a little mini vignette about who I am as a person and as a photographer, and just make it well produced and a little shorter and something that is, I wouldn't say a video business card, but is just sort of a vignette into my life and who I am. And I think that a lot of there's ah website called my little story. They actually do that for other photographers and and basically it. It's important for you to understand that video is the way to go, and it's good to even just create a video just to put it out there. So you're being searchable by video, like, at the very least, that that's all you dio It's fantastic. So I want to talk about my girl on fire engagement shoot and well, I guess that 12 year anniversary shoot. Instead, I'm gonna show you the video. I got into photography in a really young age without really realizing that I was interested in photography. I was always going on adventures and documenting my crazy trips through the woods and taking maps and taking a my mom's camera. You didn't even dawn on me that I could be a professional photographer as a career, so my mom brought it up because I always wanted to be like Indiana Jones Jacque Cousteau Adventure. She came up with the idea. Why not be the photographer that documents these crazy adventures? And so that was how I got interested in. I just take on these really adventurous couples and clients and by a nature now kind of become the picture I always wanted to be. I think you twirl the other direction ID like dancing, like dancing. I love do styled shoots because I feel like you can get the most creative. You don't have the pressure of the wedding day in the timeline and all the emotions that get in the way you taking your time and setting up really creative shots. Nothing really stops me when I get an idea in my head, and I think that people can see my passion through my work and just my style of working that I really enjoy it. Have you guys seen Andre have actually been married for 10 years and they never had a wedding photographer and they never any wedding photos, no romantic photos whatsoever, and they're not your traditional couple at all. Things are happening. The idea was that she wanted to like the wedding gown on fire because it's sort of a statement. Not much use anti wedding, which is just anti, you know, possessions and materialism that goes along with weddings involved. That's going out the middle of nowhere in the desert, way off the beaten path. So there are a lot of factors that wouldn't Teoh. Creating this vision for her is I love any type of challenge, just like also the fact that there was a story behind it. It wasn't just dressing her up in a bridal gown is a pretty place with flowers. We had a definite statement for we went out there. When I studied photojournalism, we were told that every image had to tell a story. And now I finally, through my photography get to combine my Indiana Jones sense of adventure, My love for story cinema. They are amazing. They are friends of mine. Nick and Colin. You need to follow them. You don't They're amazing. Travel videographers, cinematographers. And they decided Teoh, help me out and do that. And it was such an awesome little vignette. They didn't such a more creative, artistic way than I'm capable of doing. And let's be honest, let's go back to that lets the five things that you're good at and the five things that you're not. I am not good at video editing. I'm not like the best of videographer out there, but that's okay. Like it's OK to be not good at it. It's OK to ask for help and have someone help you added it or shoot it. Uh, we're just embraced that it might be a little danke might. There's something together, but at least you you have video and something to show for it. But, I mean, there's no reason in our community that we have. There's so many people that are so good at video and editing that you should be able to enlist someone to help you put together something like this. The photo after this, this photo. So I wanted to make the the flames. I wanted to make the flames grow large, but we weren't lighting the entire dress on fire for many obvious reasons, like it just was a disaster waiting to happen. So we had to kind of get Qinling with flame retarded like the entire dress. Nothing else could catch on fire. In fact, I don't even think like the very tip of the dress was able to catch on fire. And then we had to kind of build kindle ing and stuff around it. Just so the Kindle ing was was actually really on fire for this shot. But it gave the illusion that her dresses like completely on fire, and I ended up using the I timed it. So it was twilight because for me again, thinking about contrast in colors orange vs twilight is just that perfect blue that you get for that 10 minutes staring Twilight is the best contrast to me. I love it. I love that perfect time of day. And so we at the end of it, we decided the light it just with the firelight. But before that, I don't know if you saw on somebody was talking about lighting earlier, some bringing this up. I had a little, um the piece on top of my camera that can set off my 600 flashes a little transmitter, so sometimes I'll just have an assistant or someone hold a flash off to the side, something small and just have the transmitter of my camera. I I'm sort of the anti setting up a ton of equipment. Photographer. Usually I'm in places where I just don't have time. I don't have time to do it. I don't want to carry a bunch of extra equipment when I'm traveling, and we're gonna go into what's in my travel bag a lot more tomorrow. But honestly, im as portables possible. I use my, uh, my Canon flashes on or off the camera, so I'll have a transmitter in a couple of flashes. There's all these amazing pop up beauty dishes that you can attach to your flashes, and also you can just have an assistant hold it off to the side wherever you want it. And there's a lot of other lights that I'll show get into more detail tomorrow that are amazing use on location. Everything I bring fits in my carry on everything to any shoot. Doesn't matter how complicated, bigger, small. Have a roller bag with backups of most things I had, and I have a small bag I think you saw in that video is carrying on the side that I can fit all my lenses in. I'm not a huge fan of backpacks so that it can't stand having to take it off and go into it and put it back on like I like having everything off to the side for me but everything. I have a super portable, my tripods like this big. I have a beauty dishing. I have a little portable like waterproof lights. I have, like two camera bodies, all my lenses. I'll have, like, a backup hard drive, like everything I have literally fits in like a tiny thing. And it's like my child. I call it my child When I travel with it, nothing. It's checked. It's always with me on me. Never leaves my sight. I'm very like that's it. And that's all you need to do a lot of different shoots, so we'll get more into that. Yeah, so people are loving these videos. I'm loving the city of the really cool questions air coming up about where you're getting music for your videos. People are really inspired by all of that. And can you talk about kind of best practices with choosing songs for your so blue kite Boy? I'm lucky that I know the Blue Kite Boys and I know also Shannon with who films and a few videographers that actually create their own music. The Blue Kite Boys will. They actually used to have a band, and they produce right and create their own music. So they've been a really great resource. Also just going on different websites and buying. Um, I don't like soundcloud. What is that? What is the one that was just on earlier today? I'm glad. Help me out, Sarah. Uh, but it was There's a lot of sites that you can buy music for 50 bucks and, um or if you just create your own. I knew a lot of musician friends. Some of my editors who are musicians have let me use their music. Some of my friends who are aspiring musicians of Let me user music. So it's very cool that I get it from all the complacent. Yeah, so going back into this shoot, it is funny, no pun intended. There was, like, a firestorm after I posted this photo because I made the mistake of hash tagging Joshua Tree. And I just did it because there was, like, a Joshua tree and the picture, not because it was Joshua Tree National Park and it wasn't Joshua Tree National Park because it's totally illegal to like anything on fire that park. So it started this whole What were you doing? You can light a fire in Joshua Tree National Park and I was like, You know, I have to go on the photographer forms like No, no, no, that was, you know, we were making jokes on social media like Glad we had our fire extinguisher and we didn't realize that it was super just not cool. Teoh joke about that and some people took offense to it. So I realized really quickly that you have to be careful about what you post and also just let people know that you are being very careful when you're doing some of these dangerous shoots and things and that there's proper precautions. But this shoot I used the lighting here. I also used, you know, 600 lashes off to the side and natural light. I love backlighting things I love putting people in the shade and using bounced light and I look in general, I'm as portables possible. I'm really more of a natural like person. I try to shoot as much natural light as possible, even if it means shooting at 4000 eyes. So with my 51.2 lens, like whatever I need to do to shoot as natural as possible, because I love being able to visualize the way it's gonna look like from my I like to see that the lighting on it and the way it's going to be. And I find that I lend like I'm more attracted to tungsten lighting or just focused non strobe lighting than not. But not to say that's wrong. But for when I'm traveling, it's It's a lot using for me to visualize the light if I can see it right away, showing the process. I love this video, and it's gonna be a story before we get into it. I mentioned earlier that I do work with Novica, and I also worked with Ouster Geographic so and they're also a joint company. So in my earlier years and I was in college, I worked for headquarters in National Geographic and it was my dream to work for them. I I just thought that was it those it'll and on and then I realized when I worked there was that it wasn't as glamorous as I thought it would be. First of all, there's not many women there. Secondly, a lot of the photographers are on assignment for a year or two, like embedded and living in the bush. You're living in very not luxurious, you know, ideal situations. And they didn't really have any creative control over their work. They're literally shooting film now. A lot more is digital, but they're shooting, shooting, shooting and sending the roles to headquarters in D. C, where people like me wearing white gloves in the freezing archives room. We're going through slides and, like picking out story ideas and laying out books for them and deciding what's gonna be in the magazine. Editors were really doing that, but, uh, it I have fun doing the job because I was editing other people's work and creating stories with it. But I couldn't imagine being the photographer having no control over that and just sending over all their work on undeveloped and having some random strangers going through it on their own. And I remember I had this, like, really sad moment like Oh my God, this is my dream job to work here, And it's not what I thought it was gonna be and I was sort of sad about it, But it was a good lesson and I decided to, you know, drive out West. Stop through that and I got into wedding photography, moved to Los Angeles. But it was a really amazing experience to work there and to be able to handle these, like, priceless slides that you, you know, that you seen and all their books and everything. And I also was able to come up with story ideas like I was there when they posted the women's Photographers coffee table book and my job was to go through and pick out some of the favorite images from their women photographers and like, it was just a really cool job. I essentially do what I'm doing now. I was like repurpose ing their images. That's what National Geographic does. They're constantly going through their archive and repurpose ing and telling different stories with the same images that they have. Like that's that's what they dio as well as obviously people are shooting new stuff, but they have this amazing library of imagery. So after I left there when I was working there, we had telling you this long back story because it's actually relevant. Novica. So when I was working there, they had just acquired Andi started an artist and catalog called Novica. But what Novica is is they are a company that goes on the world, and they find these amazing artisans and all different continents and countries. And they represent them to sell their art sand crafts in their catalog to sell online like it's like the Nat Geo Helen. So they sell. They sell the arts and crafts, and the proceeds for that helps to promote these cultures and these people and their ways of life because a lot of the calling them living treasures. And these are the people that they're calling living treasures like in this photos of the Karen tribe in the north of Thailand. And they are known for their amazing weavings. And they have all these hill tribe people that do these amazing weavings, and they just don't have access to people to sell them to in like as their generation. The new generations come they don't want, they want to branch out and travel and be more modern, have cell phones they don't want to live that the way that their parents have lived and their ancestors have lived, and they're like losing their culture identity. Like as the generations come. They don't want to sit there and we've anymore. So what Nat Geo would not because doing as they're coming in and they are allowing them to sell their arts and crafts on online global catalogue and being able to give them a wider audience to help them make money to sustain their culture, to give women jobs to, um, you know, they're helping out villages and they're doing really amazing work and a lot of philanthropic work. So that magazine had just launched, and I was helping them with it when I was there as an intern, cut to 12 years later was when I told you that story I was. I've been playing soccer every Monday for years and found out that this guy, my soccer team, was the CEO of Novica and had been working with National Geographic for years, and we're like, Oh, that's so crazy and I still didn't put it together. It was so many years ago I didn't recognize the name Novica, so he was like here. Here's my email. Email me back and we'll talk about you going to Peru like their photographer backed out. And so when I went to email him, his email is already in my email, and I was like, Wait a minute. And so I realized that I have been emailing back and forth with Rob back when I was an intern 12 years earlier, I was like their lease on it at Geo and cut suit and playing soccer with him years later. And he, you know, end of working with, um and like that, it's just amazing how small the world is. I feel like the more you travel, that stuff happens. It was super serendipitous, and what I loved about it with it brought me back to working with National Geographic in a way that was a lot more my style. It was a way where I don't have to go and live for a year and like, not have a life and not be able have a family anything. I could go and shoot catalogue, shoots and shoot stories about thes artisans for like, a week or two at a time, and then come back and be able to have these amazing access into these amazing villages and experiences without, um, you know, without really sacrificing my lifestyle. So it was a perfect fit for me to shoot for Nava get so they have offices all over in Peru, Bali, Thailand. Um, Mexico, Ghana, Brazil, Uh, where my forgetting are you forgetting somewhere Guatemala and Los Angeles. And so I get to visit their regions once a year, once every two years. It depends on how many regions Aiken Dio and I am. I was in charge of basically like a photo lighting mule. I I brought all lighting. I set up all their studios and each other locations around the world. I then trained local photographers to shoot all of their products because and they fly me out once a year just to the different regions to do their actual like the rial promotional banner stopped the advertising that they used for their catalog and for their online. And for all of those purposes, I get flown out for that. So I'm not like shooting all the products in the magazine was shooting the models. But what's cool is that when I was there shooting it. I said, Rob, like the real story here is are the people that are making these things like this is really cool and I'm getting to meet them and shoot these catalogs shoots. But I kind of am really inspired to want to do like a behind the scenes video. And and so because I had just gotten in the behind the scenes video and I thought, Can we do this? And you could put it on the block and we could make extended content. They've never been doing this, like doing any kind of videos. So people know when they're at the cat like that they're helping out and that they're purchasing goods, that air helping these indigenous people. But they didn't really, ever get connected to them. They're just seeing a model like holding this bag. So I decided to show the process and to give them something else that they could post in the blogged and just also show a little bit of a glimpse of what I do and how it kind of comes full circle. So this is why I decided to do this particular video, and I did a series of videos for Novica. There's a bunch of them, but I just chose one to show you. When you buy a person, Novica, you're not just buying an ordinary purse. You're buying art. Created by local artisan that is helping to preserve their cultural heritage and helping to support the economy of their families and local community. Novica hopes to promote awareness for endangered traditions and provide a place where you can not only purchase these leading art forms, but also pledgers support. Recently in Chiang Mai, I had the privilege of visiting the Karen tribe, also known as a long neck tribe. The women in this village are known for their brass neck rings that give the appearance of a longer neck. The Karen people live mostly in the hills bordering the north of Thailand and Burma. They speak their own unique languages and where traditional, colorful woman garden, the Karen live in such remote regions that it's hard to sell their crafts. And this is where novel comes in. Artisans like Daryl Patterson, you spend their time gathering vibrant woman garments from multiple hill tribes, spending from Vietnam to Thailand to China and fashion them in the gorgeous leather purses and bags. Cheetah takes pride in creating unique products for customers. Every woman piece tells a different story and comes from another special occasion for that tribe, and when she tells her customers about each piece, they walk away feeling happy because it's unique and it's a part of history. Not only is it supporting local artisans in Thailand, but awesome surrounding hill tribes, allowing their culture to survive by connecting local hill tribes to a global market. Please Novica artisans air, helping to empower women by providing jobs and allowing them to earn money for the family and also preserving their culture. In the past, artists have been forced to give up their art in favor of a more lucrative career. Novica allows them to carry on with their craft by providing them a platform by which they can operate a sustainable and creative business. So that is Novica and what I get to do for them, and it's honestly one of the coolest perks. They've been such a great kind of ah brand alliance for me. Not only do I I love their message that they're doing, but they've been a great resource for me on the ground. If I wanted to dio Travel workshops have usually done them in regions where Novica has an office. Because I already have, like, troops on the ground ready to help me set up guides and rides and all these things and all the logistics. And they've just been a really great resource for me. And they're like the kind of awesome people all over the world. And they also can get me access because they're artisans air in some of the most remote places. And they're so excited that I'm part of Novica that the invite me into their home. I've stayed with, um for days at a time before I've gotten, you know, I met like a 90 year old flute maker. And Bollier, I've, you know, gone and met the oldest living mind descendant that you can only access her village by crossing over a lake and Lake Atitlan. Guatemala is like a volcanic leak, and you have to, like, hike in. And I mean, it's so amazing where some of these people live and I get Teoh the adventure. Just defining them and documenting them and writing about it has been more exciting to me. Then just doing the shoots, but, like not because allowed me to really dive in and do that and tell a greater story about what they're doing. So that's another way of doing Buddy. I love behind the scenes. It's not always about showcasing me. It could be about showing the project that I'm working on. It could be giving more awareness to cause that I really love and I started doing these videos. It wasn't even their idea. They weren't even hiring me for these. They're hiring me and paying me for the shoot. I did these on my own because I just felt really passionate about it. It's something that I really believed in, and I was so happy to be able to be a part of it.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with RSVP

Travel Gear List

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Art, Life, and Business Discount Code
Writing & SEO Guide for Travel Magazines
Sammy's Photo School Discount Code
Novica Discount Code

Ratings and Reviews


I've been listening for, like, two hours. OMG. Like, I could, like, you know, get more from this if, like, she stopped jibbering and get to, like, you know, the topic? She sounds more like a rambling stream-of-thought teenager than a mature adult giving a succinct organized presentation. In two hours, I have, like, learned about two or three things I can, like, use. Like, Ehhhh...? It's like, bor-ing! Like, whutttt? Is she, like, 15 or what? Sheesh.

a Creativelive Student

I have to start by saying that I was lucky enough to be part of the live audience in this class! What Laura has shared this 2 days, is something that will have taken me a few years to learn. Thank you for remanding me that we create our own opportunities and we have to go for what we want instead of waiting for it to happened and will these tips your share in this class, will make it a lot easier to approach editors or potential clients to be able to conquer my goals! Thanks you very much Laura and Creative Live for making all these possible for the photo community all around the world. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

Student Work