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Preparing for a Photoshoot

Lesson 7 from: Becoming a Travel Photographer

Laura Grier

Preparing for a Photoshoot

Lesson 7 from: Becoming a Travel Photographer

Laura Grier

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Lesson Info

7. Preparing for a Photoshoot


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

Preparing for a Photoshoot

I didn't realize how valuable doing behind the scenes video would be. And so we did it. And so talking about prepping for a styled shoot, we'll start at the bottom since I'm on that subject right now creating a BTS video behind the scenes. Um ah, lot of magazines now our, you know, our online. Some of them are still in print that are doing well, but they will have an online version of them. And so when they're doing a published story, they'll love to have something like extended content. So if they publish it in their magazine, they love to do a follow up story online. Andrea use images, but having a video, they can show the video online as extended content. So it could be something. We're in the magazine. They could say, Hey, to see the behind the scenes, check out our and we'll drive traffic to their website online. So that was what I discovered when I did. This video was a really cool way. I think we reached more people with the video of the shoot than the publication of the picture...

s, so that was really cool. Also showcased, you know, the creativity and the work and everything and that went with it. And I thought, Wow, this is such a great way to show me an action. You know, when you put your pictures online and I show these images, they're really cool. But there's so much going on and there's a story behind it. And there it was, just like you can't tell from the images and listening. Look at the video. And when I loved was Kristen taught me in that shoot that you need to have a story. It's so important, and it makes him or marketable and publishable online are not even like in publications online everywhere. Just makes him more marketable because I don't know about you are if any of you even submitted to magazines usually and I still do this to this day, Um, after I shoot a wedding, I would pull my 150 favorite images, and I would just send it to a blogger magazine and be like, Look at this awesome morning I did. I hope you publish it, and like a lot of times, maybe if it's a real wedding feature, they'll publish it. But they want a story like if you submit a story with it, or even a story about the bride and groom that's really unique and different, you're already more competitive, marketable than all the other submissions that they're receiving. But if there's a really amazing tear jerker story or something that goes with it, they're gonna want to publish it. So it's really important to have a story or toe. Think about a story when you're shooting to write with weddings. A za wedding photographer We kind of already have that built in. We're lucky. Um, we have a story. We have a love story. We have a story about the like the anticipation of walking on the Isle and like the family crying. And there's usually a story of the day and being a wedding Tarver. I had to put together wedding albums for most of my clients, and then you usually have to put together the album in the way of story and that by putting together albums, it helped me to shoot better as a wedding photographer because I would think about who I could get this really cool, wide fire away shot and I've looked great as a two page spread and I would already think ahead of how would I lay this out as a story before I was even shooting? And And I think that that's something that all photographers, no matter what you're doing, should think about like, what is the story and what what is kind of like the B roll that you're shooting like the filler shots that you could need to tell that story? So what I didn't show on here was that there's a lot of detail shots that we took like I went in and shot every detail, the coffee cans on the tables and like the flamingos and in the, you know, the cake cutting and everything I gave them a wide variety of like wide shots and beauty shots of the model and detail shots. And, um, and I made sure that I had all my bases covered eso they had that because the worst thing you can do is come back from the students, admit something like, That's awesome, but do you better pictures of the cake cutting like no. So it's really good just to make sure your bases air covered and have all those different types of shots So, um, getting into magazines to we'll get We'll get attaching a publication. I guess we're going backwards now. Attaching a publication. Uh, there's a few ways you can do that. One was like what I did. We pitched a story idea. I had vendors already attached to it and could give them, like a mock up of what they were expecting. Uh, that's really important to them. The other thing, too, is maybe even having a concept. Maybe haven't. Maybe you've already shot something, but then you can submit that with a story idea or say, Hey, I'm open Teoh. Um, tweaking the story idea, for instance, that James Bond shoot that I just did. I submitted it to magazine, but they're like, we love the idea. But we you know, you're already publishing it for helping in post, so we want a different version of it. We'll have the images. We want to publish them, come up with a different idea. So being able to tell a story three different ways with your images is really important because you could also submitted to different publications at the same time with different types of twists on the story. So um with that when you want to attach a publication, you have to know who you wanna attached to it, right? You need to know what magazine or blawg. And if this is even a fit for them, So this is not gonna ever reinstall me pretty it For those of you that know style me pretty. It's very faded, almost like the vintage e feel to the images. This is super like out of their wheelhouse. So there's no point and even pitching a magazine or blogged that just doesn't have your style or wouldn't be open to it like rock and roll. Bride loved this. You have to know which publication you can't just like hope and wish that Grace Armand weddings is going to take this. There's no way they would ever take this. So when you attach a publication, it has to make sense. So you have to do your research. You have Teoh, um, look through magazines. You have to see their style. You have to see what they're looking for and types and types of shots. I, um, I have been back in the day were like how many Barnes and Noble's air left I don't know, but I would go into a Barnes and Noble, let it sit on the floor of the cup of coffee for, like, ours and just go through different magazines and really study what are therefore photo stories looking like? How are they laid out? How really written, You know what's their style, And then I will get into, like, how to find the person that you submit to you. But I would just really research that and then no, like, as I shoot who this one would fit this magazine or this one with this magazine and I would Onley submit to them shots that I felt that they wanted. And so when I would look at a magazine, you'll see that they have tons of detail shots like its front like it's frustrating because as a photographer, you want all this beautiful epic like romantic photos that you take of a bride and groom. And usually they'll pick like 10 shots of the table scape in like one picture of the bride and groom. And so it's a little like it's a little frustrating because you don't have full creative control, but you do have control over what images you submit to them. But you can't just admit everything you love. You have to submit what they love. So I would submit 75% detail shots and then, like maybe 10% overall wide, awesome shots and then some beauty romantic pictures. But I would make sure I sent it like a ratio. But I see that they publish it right so I would make sure that I sent a lot of detail shots because they seem to publish a lot of detail shots. So your your tailoring, your submission to who? You're sending it to you. Ah, and the other thing to is just being able to offer extended content is a cool selling 0.2. So when I would pitch Teoh a magazine and say, Hey, we're doing it behind the scenes video that could be really cool way toe. Also feature this on your blawg, um, and and so on and so forth. The cool thing about this particular magazine or any publication if you submit to someone and they love your work may or may not fit in their magazine, but you're already now on their radar, so any time you submit a new story or even an idea to them. They're probably gonna take you seriously and and want to publish you. So what I have discovered is that even before I go on a trip or do a wedding, I'll reach out and say Hey, about these kinds of wedding, these shoots coming up in these countries and I'll say any interest in any of these? Do they fit in any of your timeline? And they'll be like, OK, like this could fitness lot in our December thing. The images would have to be submitted by this time, and I'm like, OK, so I usually reach out beforehand. I don't know. Their deadlines, like the way magazines work is they like crunch, crunch, crunch of the last two weeks before publication. They make sure they get everything layout and then they go. So there's kind of a sweet spot of time that you can submit to them, and sometimes they literally choose something that submitted during that time, then something that's been sitting four months before and submitted to them like so, if you know when that sweet spot of submitting is and then wait and then submit, then you have a better chance of getting published. Two. So it's cooled. Reach out the different publications. Ask them, like when? When do you accept submissions? When is the best time for you? Um, going into telling a story again. And this is gonna be a theme throughout throughout storytelling, we are all visual storytellers. That's what we do. This the picture's worth 1000 words, and people want to see those words, and we'll dive into two words a lot more later on in this. But for US photographers, unfortunately, our images aren't really searchable. I mean, you can search for them, but they're not attached to any idea. When you have a blogged post and you write a story with it, your words air searchable your images. So now all of a sudden you're images that are attached to those words or searchable, right? So obviously, like metadata and things like that if you embed those in your pictures, but we won't get into that. The idea is when you write a story you're already making yourself reach a wider audience just through your words, because that's what's gonna be searchable. If someone takes in Hicksville Trailer Palace It's probably bring them in my block post in the magazine stuff or my images now because I we wrote a story and we tagged their name and we and we link them. And so it's really important Teoh tell a story not only to get more publishing opportunities, but to be more searchable. So let's back up a little bit, too. Um, when you do your own personal blawg and I talked about making earlier blawg like your visual database, it's so important to use words that you want to be searchable. So you want to, like, write the name of the location, right? The type of shoot you just always wanted. It's so important to block post, even if it's just one paragraph that explains the details of your shoot. So then all of a sudden you're shoots more searchable for Google searches and will bring traffic to you. I think before I used to just think posting a bunch of awesome pictures is all that really matters, and I learned really quickly that, um, your pictures kind of got lost in the shuffle. If you don't have a story with it, and it's important to get your story out. So making a visual statement, I feel like I do with my photography being super vibrant. And I want this entire publications. Entire piece that I did was about making not just a visual statement, but a statement on The Times and the trends that were going on. Then with vintage, you know, I basically turned my fear of vintage into, like motivation for me to do this shoot for me, to put myself on the map like I could do vintage. It's just not gonna be faded, but I'll do vintage. And I made a lot of statements in this. I made a statement of, you know, being ableto find a way to work of Kristin Banta, which is like a dream of mine. I made a statement of doing something really weird and funky and out of the box, and I made a statement with my style. I basically announced, and I created a word for it. I called it hyper color retro glam, right? I made it a term like I was like, That's how I shoot a shooting hyper color. And then people started describing me as hyper color, and it was cool was kind of like I coined my catchphrase, right? So it was really important for me to put myself on the map visually brand alliances. So we talked a little bit about that about attaching Kristin Banta. But what's cool about doing a styled shoot or this kind of transcends? I'm sort of telling stories as they happen in my career. So right now I'm talking about weddings. But this also applies for travel. When you start aligning yourself with other brands, uh, your outreach on social media or anywhere else is gonna be exponential, right? Like, let's say you have 10 people working on the shoot with you all 10 and then we're gonna be tweeting and snap chatting and instagram, and all of a sudden you're exponentially like raising the reach, and you're like blogging about each other. And it's the more people you get involved on, a shoot or a trip or anything, the more outreach you're gonna get. And it's also a great way to get to work with people you never get to work with. And so I find that even on a travel shoot like the what I just talked about earlier, the Czech Republic I got to work with Callie Rinker and have a stylist. I got to work with the Czech border tourism I got to work with, like, all these different tour companies, that I never had an opportunity. Teoh. And it's just opened up a lot of doors off of some crazy idea because I aligned with different brands. And I think for all of us, we want Teoh usually trying to align yourself with a brand that's better better than your like has a higher following is doing something that you aspire to dio Um, and just in general is gonna help you out. You're gonna help. You're gonna create amazing visual story for them. But they're gonna help you out. So that's a great way to align yourself. And with travel brands, same thing goes like I, you know, want to go on a trip. I want toe. I'll pitch to speak at the New York Times travel show. And then when I do that, I align myself with three other brands that I want to work with. I'll ask intrepid travel or I'll ask Novick are different people that I want to be associated with like, would you be a Panelist on my talker. Can I mention you in my thing and and or put your logo up in all of a sudden, when you're aligning brands and ideas, it's just strengthening what you're doing and creating more opportunities, and I'm not asking anything from them. I'm saying I'd love to mention you my talk. I'd love to work with you. I think you're I'm really feel strongly about your concepts So I think that doing that is a really important thing. What was your question? I think it's relevant here. My question was, Do any people in all the photos in trouble photos do We need people in all the travel photos? So going back to telling a story, making visual statement and what magazines want? I thought that was relevant because once I started adding a story into my imagery and like going into the shoot with a story, it made me shoot differently because sometimes now we're kind of jumping him will jump back, but with travel brands and I shoot with or let's say, like I'm about Teoh, let's pick Rainforest cruises. I've done a shoot for reinforce cruises in the Amazon and the idea was they wanted me to shoot just promotional stuff for them. It's like all over the board. What does that mean? It's not like a brand is gonna give you a shot list at a wedding. Usually get a shot list? No, you're just responsible for getting everything, and they don't really even know what they want until you're there or until they see your images. So you kind of have to go in there knowing that this is the story I'm gonna tell. And I need to get the images that illustrate that story. So sometimes that involves lots of detail shots. Sometimes that involves wide, sweeping shots of like the boat in the Amazon. Sometimes that involves just showing the wildlife in the scenery that people were seeing. But yes, sometimes you need to have people in the image. It's images like someone's leaning on the railing like looking out at the Amazon River, and is evoking this like feeling of wanting to travel, and sometimes you have to do set up shots. What I did for the Czech Republic was compositing imagery and look for a travel brand. It's more important for them for you to tell a story than it to be, You know, one specific where the other. So I do now shoot people in my images, but very specific because travel if your student travel competition, they also need tohave people sign a release, right? So before you know, I don't know. How long have you guys already like you go to India and you'll shoot some pictures and you're like That person's got a crazy also marine gold phase. It's amazing. Wouldn't shoot their face. You can't use that in a travel publication or for stock unless you get a sign released from them, right? So what? I'm gonna walk up to this person and that doesn't speak English in the middle of nowhere and be like, Can you sign this? So it's, ah, lot of times you can't Aziz Muchas week. But I would love those shots like that's not necessarily what's going to sell. They do love shots of people in where you don't necessarily see the people of spaces. Maybe it's them from behind with a sweeping landscape. Or maybe they're sitting in adjoining cocktail. You're not really recognizable or their silhouetted or something like that. Those are all super usable. Uh, but if you do use pictures of people, you have to be prepared to get a signed release. So usually when you set up the shot, it makes it a lot easier for that. Um, but I didn't realize that until I was shooting I would just go out and shoot all these, like, amazing photos that really inspired me. And then I'd come back and, like, try to tell a story with them. And I really wish I had filled in the gap here and some pictures of the food. Or maybe like the local bizarre, like, what was I thinking? And that's, like, the worst. You can't fly back to India and fill in those pictures. You need to make sure you have them all while you're there. So having a story beforehand really helps. You kind of illustrate and lay out, like, what do I need to tell this part of the story? Like what kinds of shots? And I will help You kind of have almost a storyboard. Yeah, a couple quick questions from the Internet. Um, photo maker is asking, what are the different considerations that we should keep in mind if we want to dio editorial travel photography versus stock travel Photography. What is the differentiation between What? What are some considerations? So, um, you know, we're kind of talking about getting those those vendors together, so let's see, Yeah, if we want Teoh do editorial photography versus stock photography. So I think everybody can kind of take something away from Yeah. Okay, so, um, I'm gonna dive a lot more into travel in stock later on, but I'll answer this. So with editorial and stock, stock is different again. Stock needs a lot of releases. Editorial editorial needs it to, but stock is very, very strict because they're getting, like, licensing forever on certain things. And I would say that usually when you don't have people in stock, they love that. They're just two kinds of stock images. They love lifestyle, stock. And would they call atmosphere travel stock? So atmosphere and lifestyle are kind of what we're talking about. Atmosphere would just be what you would shoot when you're walking on the streets and beautiful scenery and buildings and things like that on ben lifestyle is people interacting with the environment again? If you don't recognize the person you don't need a release, so think about that when you're shooting. But if you do recognize a person, you have to get a release for travel stock. But editorial editorials usually like very set up like you have the models and you have the people in places a lot easier to do whatever you want with the environment because they're already released and you can literally do whatever you want with them. And the difference with that is editorial. You're allowed to kind of take some creative, um, liberties. And I had was you had been talking about compositing a lot, and you've been talking about National Geographic a lot and, of course, for National Geographic. No compositing allowed for their type of shooting. So where do you sort of draw the line? And how do you know what's okay for what publication and that sort of thing? Yeah, so and that's a really good question, because when you talk about editorial versus travel imagery our life, it's that sort of almost like the similar boundary there to like, straight out of the camera, Travel is is okay. You can, like, have a little bit of liberties like finance my colors a little bit. That's okay. Usually when you shoot for National Geographic, they'll ask for the raw file and re edit it, which I'm like. Uh, you know, it's like killed because it's not really my style, but that's just the way they do it there. So it's kind of one of those things. But when you do editorial, you pretty much have creative license to do everyone, especially for travel companies. They're more about a vote like it's an advertisement, your evoking an emotion of someone like you want them to come and visit You are. And so if you shot somebody in a hammock and then shot an amazing shot of the Grand Canyon and like composited together and just got this person that's like an a hammock in front of the Grand Canyon. Yes, that was composited, but you're telling like a visual story. It sort of like an advertisement. You totally have creative freedom to do that like there's no problem and you can sell those of stock. But like they are, very you have two different differentiate it so like travel lifestyle, you can you can composite it Ah, lot of the great advertising photographers out there. That's what they dio like. You look at, um, like Eric because I'm like, like his last name is actually was here. It created live. Um, he eric almost. Eric almost does all major travel advertising stuff around the world and he composites. I mean, there's no way that you could get this dramatic, like, all the elements in that photo together at one time without compositing it. And there's nothing wrong with that. But you just know that going forward when you're selling a stock, um I mean, I hope that answered the question, but in terms of National Geographic versus my compositing, it's funny. I, uh when I went Teoh Syracuse and we were doing photojournalism, it was super taboo to do anything digital. Like I said, this is before digital cameras boom. We would scan in our negatives, and we were only allowed to clean up dust and scratches and they were very strict about it. And they would like to look at the pixels of like, I see that's blurred and they're really, really strict about doing any manipulation of the pictures. The world's different now. You know everything is digital and let me tell you my work that I did the Central Intelligence Agency. That's what I did. I removed people out of pictures before they were deep, so they were declassified and like things that shouldn't have been there. And that was like my job, right? So everything has been manipulated in some way. Everything you see in the magazines been manipulated. So I think if you're evoking an emotion or doing an advertisement, it's acceptable. Uh, but if you really want to, its just if you're shooting for National Geographic or other travel brands, like a lot of times, they do want it just not that sort of strand the camera, but they don't want it manipulated at all. You just have to know you're shooting for and there's nothing wrong, like morally with either. I think that, honestly, I'm enjoying compositing now. I just kind of started doing that here and there because I feel like I can blend my fashion background, my travel background and I can really do cool stuff. I could actually repurpose travel imagery I've done with a model on a photo shoot and then blended and photo shop and repurpose that image for an advertisement like it opens the doors. So like a lot of cool projects and different styles of photography that I haven't tried before, so there's nothing wrong with that. It's just it's one of those things where it's personal preference and it's your art. And if you're if you're selling an idea or a story, sometimes that's the best way to do it.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with RSVP

Travel Gear List

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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