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Create Stories Before you Start Shooting

Lesson 24 from: Becoming a Travel Photographer

Laura Grier

Create Stories Before you Start Shooting

Lesson 24 from: Becoming a Travel Photographer

Laura Grier

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Lesson Info

24. Create Stories Before you Start Shooting


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

Create Stories Before you Start Shooting

a lot of people of asking questions I'm sure will be more questions coming in about how do you write or submit our for publications with publications? Do you choose and and all of that, we're gonna really dive in in the next couple of hours about all this information. But first, good old fashioned reading and doing your homework and research before you shoot is so important of Has I talked about before? Even when I was submitting my destination weddings, I would go and study photos of and articles from publications that I love and just get ideas and see how they frame them, how they lay them out, how they tell their stories. But you have to also do that with writing. A lot of times I really research different publications and blog's and magazines and just see what is their style of writing. Are people writing in first or third person? Are they Are they really writing catchy introductions? How did they start the article? What are they writing about? What's the length of the article? How...

really illustrating it with photos? I really just didn't know any of that, because when I've been in the wedding industry for so long that I've been mainly doing photo stories that I submit with an idea. But this is a little bit more the opposite now, where you're kind of submitting more words and they get peppered with photos here and there. And also I don't want to take away anything from our photography because it's the reason why I'm able to do all these things. But your words in this case there are a lot more important and more powerful and searchable. And it's what is going to get you published in a lot of these traveling travel jobs that you guys wanna have. So do your homework. And I mean, if that means going and pouring through magazines, talking to or contacting writers that you like that maybe you follow their work and like asking them tips on how they start writing. Maybe just having someone be like an editor for you and just start writing some stories and have someone on the side edit it down and tweak it and make it a little more like professionals to sink. I still have someone helping me do some of that, too, because a lot of times I'll just have friends. We read it and tell me you know what was really boring Or did you lose your attention? Was it interesting to you? And you'd be surprised that you should ask people out there that are consumers. You know their opinion on your writing and and just really it's a practicing. But with all of that knowledge will be able to almost kind of create a formula. And I'll talk about that later on of await organizer information in your photos so that writing will become a lot easier for you. I have a little bit of a formula myself, and it's different for every article. But for me, the hardest part is how do I start? How do I start an article like what I write about? And, ah, lot of times I'll come back from a trip and will be so overwhelming. And there's so many different stories within that trip, like Finland, you know, within that story, that trip I had so many ways to edited and write a different story that I was super overwhelmed on where to begin because there were so many things that happened that were exciting to me. that I don't want to talk about everything. And then, like the science behind the northern lights and then also it was really cool dog sledding. I just It was like, so all over the place, I was so overly saturated with information, I didn't know how well where to begin. So I think also reading and doing your homework. It'll help you kind of organize your thoughts into more bite size nuggets. I think we think too broad sometimes, and we want to share everything. And sometimes it could be a simple, as you know, like one part of that, like maybe just write about dogsledding or just maybe right about, like the experience of being in a glue or like it's the top five most unusual places you've ever stayed or something like. It doesn't have to be everything in one article, which is awesome, because that means you have lots of content for multiple articles. So really, do your research. And and I think I touched on this point yesterday when you submit Teoh a magazine or an editor, where somebody, if you submit to them kind of incorrectly, if you may be right, something that's completely unrelated and not like any article they've ever published. Maybe the photos you sent or like, something that don't go with their style that they're publishing, they'll be like, Wow, this person really doesn't know our magazine or doesn't know her publication, and they really didn't do there. Homer, they didn't They don't know much about us, So they're, you know, they're probably never gonna take you seriously again if you submit to them again. So you do have that one opportunity to really make a making impact, and you want to make sure you do your homework before you do that. So researching relevant and current trends and events, we touched on that as well. I really do watch the news, and we need a lot and just kind of listen to the ideas that are out there and listen to people when I'm traveling. I didn't know a lot about Finland before I went there. I mean, and I think researching where you're going is really important to like the political climate. What's happening? What's the currency? What's the weather? What, You know, festivals or things are going on while you're there, like anything that could help you just know more about it and I'll help you with story ideas as well. And so basically, I think that you just want Teoh do your research. Obviously you can't decide, you know, beforehand what your story necessarily. You can think of a topic, but it's gonna always change and evolve. But the more research you do, the more ideas will have the better prepared to be. And you also be more prepared on your trips. I find like going back. There's ways that I organized myself so I could be more organized to be a photographer and a writer and enjoy all those things on the trip. I really, really do research information beforehand. I told my my mother's work. She was always really helping with me and helping Teoh kind of make sure that I would go to the the embassies in the countries where I was visiting and register myself. God forbid something happens. I was in Thailand when when the tsunami happened, and if you don't register with the embassy and some major, you know, attack or something, I hate to bring it like doom and gloom. But if something major happens on, do you haven't registered yourself or people don't know where you are, what you're doing or your itinerary. They It's not their job to get you out of the country. So if you have registered, they will make sure that you safely have a way to get other countries. So going back to that whole insurance thing, if you want to register with embassies, that's a great tip. I speak Spanish pretty well, and that gets me by and very well in South America and certain places. English. Thank God we're lucky. We speak English, and that's mainly spoken all over the world. But a lot of times you don't know the language, and it's very helpful to try to secure English speaking guides or people that can help you. Maybe before you go on your trip and or learn a few phrases in their language, talking again about having my cell phone and having T mobile service, I use Google translate all the time. I've like, literally book the Thai massage in Thailand, like using a Google translate. I would text message or what's up the business and I'd write in English and then Google translated in the Thai and send it and we literally were having conversations and text message by just translating each other's images. I mean messages, and so I use Google translate a lot. They actually now have it. I don't I used it the other day, and they added this. If you scan a menu or a sign with Google, translate, it tells you in real time it will read it and tell you what it says in English. Like if you scan an actual sign and then it's not perfect, but it gets the point across, and then it also says phrases out loud. So if I want to say thank you or how do I do this? I'll actually type it into Google translate, and it will tell you out loud how to say that Freeze in that language. And so I've actually used that a lot to communicate. But another great way. Reason why WhatsApp is so awesome is because you can have a full conversation in a language that you don't know by translating it back and forth. So I've organized a lot of guides and things like that with using what's happened. Google translate. So I mean research is important again with you know all the things that are going on in politics and and terrorism and things in the world just being safe and just being more knowledgeable. I went to Prague and I read up. That is a lot of pickpockets there. I didn't have a problem, but I was more aware when I was there because of it. And if you read the State Department page, we actually go to the State Department website and type in what country going to. They'll tell you everything like the petty theft and things that are happening there frequently and what's going on the political situation and it's like the best way for you to just get a little bit safer and more knowledge before you go somewhere. That's a little off topic, but it's but the same time. It's not because all of this is really relevant and important when we're traveling and the more knowledge you have, whether it's researching how to write your articles or what photos to take or ways to communicate, to make you know, everything just run smoother is is going to make your entire life and everything happened better. So researching are creating searchable the content is next, and that is something where it's not even just searchable. You want to create share a ble content. You want to create content that people actually want to click on and that they want to share because that's just something for me I can like on on on and on about a story about a place that I went Teoh. But most of the time people like 80 D they get, they'll make it through the first paragraph or something, and we'll decide then if they want to click on it. I mean, it's kind of like what we're doing here, creativelive. I'm sure there's, like a little trailer, a little intro, and people will probably decide based on Chris's intro, whether they want to stay tuned or not. And you did a really good job. But the point is like you've got to grab their attention. This even goes back to Brits like kind of the same rules is branding. You've got like that elevator's speech. You've got that first impression you've got the words. The catching is like all of that's important. It's the same way in writing. You got the headline and you've got the first paragraph, and you've got to grab their attention and you want people to share it. And so what makes people share your information is if it's relevant to them or relevant to something they're interested in. So that's why I love tying back topics to current events and news and or, you know, relationships like everyone cares about 11 relationships. And, um and so like, if you make your story be relevant in other ways that our that our current events or things like that, it will be more terrible and obviously to make it more searchable. I love tying those ideas back Teoh link. So if you have a current event or something that you are sort of referencing in your article, then link back to an article about it that has had a lot of traffic go to a new site where something's trending and linked back to that, you know, with with a similar themed article, those air always to really make you get a lot more traffic and be more terrible in searchable and then having a clear point of view, I'm really going to dive into this more when I start talking about what travel editors want. But, um, having a clear P o. V a point of view is super important. Again, it goes back. I can, like, take it back to that lesson I talked about when I did that vented Shoot where I was not owning your own style. Same thing if I write in a certain way, I need to always kind of right in that certain way, because that's how people are gonna know me. That's how people start following my writing. That's how people are when I want to hire me, because they're going to know what they're gonna get. If I'm like, copy a bunch of different people styles and writing and it's all over the map, then I don't really have a clear point of view. And so I decided again, my theme has always been adventure. I really right about adventure travel, adventurous ways to do things, adventurous ways while you, you know, to experience a luxury trip. I mean, there's so many things, but that's been kind of my theme in my point of view. So you sort of have to kind of decide what your point of view is again. I've already talked about. You need to hone in and what your style is. As a photographer, you also have to do that with rating. And so you can't be like, Well, I'm gonna write about food and I want to write about pets. And I want to write about Mommy. Mommy's going on trips, and I'm gonna write about adventures that you can't really do all that you can. You can write about all different subjects, but with one sort of point of view, one sort of lens that you're that you're looking through. So just think about that too.

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