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Lesson 25 from: Becoming a Travel Photographer

Laura Grier

Submit Work to Digital Stock Agencies

Lesson 25 from: Becoming a Travel Photographer

Laura Grier

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Lesson Info

25. Submit Work to Digital Stock Agencies


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

Submit Work to Digital Stock Agencies

India. Okay, So like I told you, I switched my bags at the airport and Winston took my bag back toe the US from Finland and I went straight to India to the Holi festival. What had happened was Novica really needed me to go to New Delhi to do a catalog shoot for them. And so they're like, Oh, well, since you're in the neighborhood, which was Finland, which is really not in the neighborhood, but they're like since you're halfway here, why don't we do the shoot right after your Finland trip? And then I was like, Oh my God! Ok. And then I thought about it, and I did some research and I found out the Holi festival is happening at the exact time. Like there was a week break between between my Finland trip and the India catalog shoot and it happened to be holy. So I was so excited because, I mean, you saw with that one shoot that we did in the desert. We were through the colored pigment. I've been like dying to be part of this color pigment festival since e. I think it's like the specials mad...

e from you to photograph So I was very excited to go. And so I planned the whole thing, like, Okay, we're gonna shoot Holy. I'm gonna write about it for a couple different magazines. And this was a personal project for me. I didn't get paid other than writing for publications to come and shoot Holy. I got paid to do a catalog shoot, and then I did this as a personal project on the side. So I had a couple of photographer girlfriends meet me because they were wanting to go do the Holi Festival as well, again going back to talking about research. Um, switch the next one. Okay, so I researched Holi Festival, and I found that it's going on all over the country. It's in many different cities. They celebrate it in different ways. And then I was like, Whoa, where did the National Geographic photographers photograph? ISS. I was researching that, and they're like it's in Vrindavan. And also they said Jodhpur jodhpur because it's the blue city ises. Very picturesque and clean. But Friend Avenue is basically one of their holiest cities, but it's very run down. It used to be next to a lake and on body water, which is this body of water in this photo. And it used to be almost like a Venice back back in its heyday. It's now very, very poor town with the body of water next to it. And but everyone's like You have to go to Vrindavan. People go nuts and they really celebrated here. So as I'm doing, research like this is gonna be awesome. Like we've got our colorful outfits plan and we've got everyone's, like, waterproof your cameras. And so I had gotten, um, had bought this whole like waterproof housing for my camera for the trip. It was like a bag that fold it up and you could put your camera in it. Worse purchase in the world. I'm telling you guys like I threw that thing away within, like what? Like five hours of trying to use it. The best thing that we use, where there was those little those garbage bag kind of things you can buy the cover your camera and you duct tape the edge of it to your around your camera lens, and you use a filter on your lens that you just don't care about. You. Just buy a filter that if it gets damaged or weather whatever, you don't care and you tape it around the hood of your camera and then you're literally just kind of shooting through this bag. But you're able to fully touch your own camera and use it. And that was some unnecessary because it was so chaotic and crazy there and busy that I couldn't like, use this big, bulky housing to take pictures. It was really difficult, and I had moments where I couldn't even look through it. I'd have to just, like, hold the camera or do something. I'm getting doused with dyed water and like all this stuff, and it was like shooting and a mosh pit. It was pretty crazy. And so we're like, OK, so we got our waterproofing. We like, bought outfits that we bought these like schmuck kind of flowy outfits that we knew that we could throw away at the end of the day. I just wore like like yoga pants and stuff underneath it and a small thing that could cover myself up. And then I would throw that away at and every day was like, Don't bring anything you care about. It's gonna be just destroyed. So we're like, OK, well prepared their outfitter prayer this We got a guide and people were telling us it's really dangerous. There. You need to have a guide show you where to go shooting just kind of walk around with you. Not to mention we also found out that women don't participate in the Holy festival. The men do it in the streets and the women do in the privacy of their own homes. So we're like, Oh, my gosh, not only re going to this really non American, very, you know, this is a friend of in, like, three hours outside of Delhi. They don't see many tourists ever, but we're diving right into the most described as the most intense festival in the world. It's dangerous. Women don't participate in, and you can ruin your cameras and everything I'm like. I don't know if this is the best idea before a catalogue shape to do it, but I was determined. But, you know, doing the research is really important because it helped us set up guides and the guided help us get into the rooftops of certain places and give us good vantage points for pictures or that we're safer. We I mean, they're just all these different things. It Even though we waterproofed our cameras and ourselves, we thought I thought I was being really, really super smooth by wearing a turban type thing on my head. I'm like, we're going to protect my hair. I'm gonna pull it back and braid it and just wear this This turbine, the turbine acted like a sponge for all the dies that they're dumping on me and dyed my hair permanently pink like hot pink. Just the whole thing. And it took when I got back week, a week or so later, I had to go to the salon like three times and it still it's like it still hasn't fully recovered from it, but it never came out. They use head on their dies. And it was it was crazy and we thought we were being like super smooth and our skin was died. I'm all over, like for days like we couldn't get the green hot pink and stuff. I was like all of our faces. And at first I went there thinking like, Oh, this is gonna be really easy. I'll be walking through the streets and people relate wholly and like throw, you know, pigment. And I'm gonna have these amazing shots of, like, pigment flying through the air and said it was like here these four white women and people were just running up just like selfie, selfie, selfie and like crowding us and and the way that they wish Happy, Holy, unused They take colored pigment, Samir it like really forcefully all over your face and like Happy Holy And you're like, Ah, and it sounds one person doing it. It's like 50 strangers coming up doing it. And then little kids will come and dump a bucket of dyed water on you or from balconies as you walk by. You're really like a walking target, being women being foreigners and also having these cameras. So we weren't prepared for how intense would be like we, But doing our research really helps. But even then we were just not not prepared for it at all. So the first part of it was a little more calm. They have something called flower holy, and the first couple of days actually threw flower petals instead of pigment, and they do it in this area, Vrindavan, That is sort of like Venice, Italy, the Indian Venice. So this is one of the shots I did there, and it is sort of like the silhouetted sunsets shot of the boats. And we've soon discovered that being on those boats was sort of a safer vantage point at times to shoot with a long lens because it just got really crazy. But a lot of the times, the best images I got, the ones I thought were when I first went there that I had in my head that I was going to achieve. Like people laughing and throwing pigment, I would have to not set up, but I would not ask. People like these guys were just standing on the side of the road like having fun and waiting for motorcycles and people to walk by and like attacking them with pigment. But then I just you know, we went up and talked to them and were like, Can you guys just, like, attack each other for a minute with it? And so they were They were playing around with it and we got photos, so I kind of set up the movement a little bit, but it's it's physically impossible to get the shot that I was envisioning without having a little bit more calm. You know, going somewhere and finding a cool group of people and be like, OK, like lamb is gonna take a few photos of you here because once you're in the thick of the crowd, it's like you're literally moving with a with a wave of people when you don't have a lot of control. So here's one of my selfie moments I would literally get packed in like people would swarm me and asked to take selfies the whole day. And then I learned very quickly, not smile with my mouth open because as I'd be taking a selfie, someone would come and just by whom and like, throw pigment right in my face and like in my mouth and everything. And so I learned really quickly out to this area that I can't I couldn't do that. But this the bottom photo underneath it is what it was like to be in the midst. It was fully a intense mosh pit of people screaming and throwing flower petals and throwing them really hard, like in your eyes. And so I started wearing sunglasses that this is the first day I was there. So I was a little, a little green, and I started wearing sunglasses or something to protect my eyes and not smiling with my mouth open and things like that. So going back, Teoh to the India Story and Holy Festival, we were learning a lot about it as we were there. But I really did try to be as prepared as possible because I had been the India before. I had been sick. I, you know, had heard from many people that women don't go to this festival to really bad idea like this is really dangerous, Andi, just like everything that could go wrong as I tried to be as prepared as that could for this trip and it was amazing. Everything went off without a hitch. I love this image because way I love the colors of the rainbow, and I feel like every color of the rainbow is featured in this image. This is how people looked for an entire week, 24 hours a day, like walking around after the festival. It was just covered in pigment this how we looked and it doesn't come out. You could try to thes people. People would be like washing their cars every day, and then it would happen all over again. So the rules we found out where up until noon. There they you're allowed to throw pigment only till noon and the afternoon You have to stop people actually gonna work. And in the evenings they do. You go to the temples and you pray, and a lot of times will do the flower festival or they'll do like a candle or fire ceremony. But the pigment stuff they like, they cut it off a 12. Sometimes people adhere to it. Sometimes I don't but like there has to be some sort of normalcy because this goes on for for 7 to 10 days, and it's pure like insane insanity. This is what we looked like. So those were my turbines that I thought were going to protect me and made everything worse so that you can see my hair. My hair was permanently like that for for weeks. And so it was a lot of fun. We decided to start in doing the selfies because, like everyone was like selfie selfie. And even if they didn't speak English, they knew that word it goes is crazy. Everybody knows selfie. There's actually no selfie signs and some of the places in India that we went Teoh crazy. Uh, so I mean, when we found out later on that that's just like like I knew the selfie craze is just finally hit India, So they're very excited about it over there. So these are some images. What was really cool? The bottom right one. We again had had this idea in our head of like what Holy would look like. And we wanted to get this shot of all of us were in these colorful smocks that I'm telling you that we bought that we could just toss away and dispose of the another day I got about Ross for, like, eight bucks each. And I felt like they were just really silky and comfortable, and then we just didn't care about there in the morning at the end of the day and we had to set the shot up, we had to have we asked to the locals pay them a little bit of money and we found a colorful blue wall and we stood against it and we had people blowing When you throw the pigment, it was just like like a pile of it hits something. It wasn't pretty. We had imagined it would be like, poof. Like a puff of beautiful pigments that we discover that if you blow it, it is like this pretty cloud. So we had two guys kind of off. You can see one of them, like off to the side, out of frame, blowing the dust in. And that was how we got. That was sort of like one of my signature images for one of my articles. I just wanted I didn't want to leave India about getting this this shot that I'd had in my head of what? What holy would look like the picture above. That one is of Sarah. Okay, this is really cool. There's this temple, the top of like a Volk, like a mountain extinct volcano or something. And in order to get up there, they carry you in these baskets like these guys. Carrie, you with bamboo sticks on their shoulders and a hanging basket up to this temple to go pray in and practice practice. Holy, they say. You either play holier. You practice Feli so you don't participate. But they I love how they say that you play holy people like Did you play Holi today? Because that the whole country is basically celebrating life like the whole festival is life in playing And the reason why the Holi Festival started. It was really interesting to me to get the perspective from the locals because I didn't know anything about Holy other than like throwing colored pigment. It started back in the day where one of their gods one has a blue face. I want to say it's official. I'm totally wrong on this. Maybe, um has the blue face Krishna. And so they you know, the baby as a baby had a blue face and, like fell in love with a drama are, um and basically And there was like that that God had pale skin. And so they decided to like color the other one's face and throw color and like making even playing ground that there was no dark skin, There was no blue skin, There was no white skin. Everyone's equal. And so in in a country that has a dark history of being in the caste system and having a lot of racism and things like that. It's the one day of the year everyone's equal and everyone is the same color, multi colors and everyone can play interact with each other and there's no rules. And so there, literally celebrating life and everyone's differences itself. It's a really cool and also I found out that the pigment back in the day used to have medicinal properties in it. So it was the start of spring and a lot of people would get sick, so people were throwing like medicinal powders at each other to help, not get sick. And so it kind of turned into this whole color festival. But it's a really neat, rich history, and a lot of that helped me just like asking questions and learning about it. And I would take notes and use a lot of information for future articles that I had the one of the image on the left. I started, you know, paying guides to give me better advantage points where I wasn't like being attacked by people. It was really hard to try to shoot when I was a in a mosh pit or be getting asked to take a selfie every two seconds or, you know, it was hard. And I really was, like, wanting to be there, taking certain photos that I had envisioned. So some of them had to take from rooftops. Some of them I had to take from the boat. Like pay someone, like just taking on your boat away from all these people and, like, shoot it from the boat I was trying toe get creative on ways to to get photos. Okay, moving on the job. Poor. I know you've been their custody. That's one of my favorite cities. I love Roger Stone in the area of India a lot. So they've got, um, Udaipur has all the lake palaces. Job pours the blue city, Jaipur is the pink city. And then I forget the one that's that Golden City. But they have all these kind of themed royal cities back in Rajasthan, and I just love the culture there and the outfits and the jewelry and the dress. But this city, I was so excited about going to because I had heard about job poor because I started researching like where did a lot of the National Geographic photographers go? Shoot Holy! And they had one of the articles I read was here, and it's because, like even if you're not during color pigment, this place is a dream for a photographer to photograph in. But the whole city used to be all blue, and now a lot of people are getting the, you know are changing the colors a little bit. So you have to kind of find the sections of of the old part of the city that still have a lot of a huge area of blue walls. And so the we had to hire a guide to kind of help what it's like a labyrinth of these medieval narrow walk streets. And to have a guide was really helpful to, because I would just tell them like I'm writing for the article. I really have this vision, like, I want the blue walls in the Blue Houses and I would see one, and then there'd be another one way over here. But there wasn't a huge kind of congregation of houses, and he's like, all right, so we go in these walking tours to to kind of hunt down the Blue Houses. And so there's still sections of the city that had all blue like this that were amazing. But as a as a regular tourist, there would have been really difficult to find. So I just loved going through. This was like a typical street scene there, and Judd poor you've got like the holy cow just walking through and motorcycles and women chatting on the corner, and you can see the remnants of all the colored pigment on the walls. So, like in the morning, people out there in pigments all over the ground, the Cowser are dyed pink. The dogs and animals have pigment all over them, and it's like completely wild. And I just love this street scene because it's true, like cows, or just walk around and like like they don't care. They just bump you out of the way like Sarah actually got hit by a horn of a cow. While we're trying to take a picture of the cow like, Oh, it's gonna pose it thing, use it horns and header. So but yeah, you just their holy cows there. You've gotta respect the cow. You'll see them like walking out of houses and downstairs and stuff. It's wild. I love this. This is one of the main images, one of my articles, because I mean it is It's the blue city. And I talked about blue therapy. I did some research on the color blue, and I found out that I mean, a lot of people come to India to find they're just inner peace and yoga and a lot of that. And so I thought we really cool to talk about doing blue therapy, and I found out that if you surround okay, So when we talked about color therapy in the psychology color yesterday, if you surround yourself with the color, you actually take on the properties of that color. So there is actually a such thing as blue therapy or green therapy. So when we talk about green being calming, if you actually surround yourself in green and nature and the color green you actually like calm is your body and mind. So blue does that as well. Blues a common color and so you can actually change your perception, your psychology and like where you're at and calm yourself by being surrounded by blue, and I thought that was a really neat, um, topic for an article. So that was when the articles I wrote this is again in the Blue City. But this is in the palace inside. And so if you look at that and job poor, that's the huge old original castle fort that's at the top of this giant rock. That's basically they share the rock cliffs and, like they built the Castle Adul Iraq on top of the rock. And then they shared all the cliffs around the castle. So if someone tried to climb up that they couldn't. And this was done back and hundreds and hundreds of years ago, and it was beautiful. There's all kinds of colored glass in there and all the guards where these yellow turbans inside of the castle walls. And this is actually really cool story. So sometimes amazing stories happen when you're there and, like, I know I've been talking about have your story and be prepared, but I wasn't prepared. What happened here is So I was walking around the castle, and when you're walking through the main courtyard, there was this big trap door. It was like a giant hole in the ground, but they had a great over it, and you could see that I had a staircase going down into like a tunnel. So I asked the guy like, What's this tunnel? And it was, Oh, well, the maharaja used to sneak out back. We're talking in the Middle Ages. Earlier, I used to sneak out into the town below and pretend he was a commoner and I do kind of spy missions. He used to try to figure out what's going on in the city, that he's ruling cause he was just living in the castle walls. So he said, Go in disguise. And there was a tunnel that led from the castle all the way down into some unknown residents, like he had a residence down there in the city. But nobody ever knew that the maharajah would go in and out. And I was like that. So me and my Indiana Jones and I'm like, I want to climb in that tunnel. Or does it add up? You know, I was so I just thought that was such a neat thing. Like, Wow, I can imagine tunneling down into the city and doing secret missions, and my mind was kind of going everywhere. That so cut to. I was staying at this a place. Ron Omaha was the name of the place. And you guys, if you go back there, you need to go to Ron Omaha. They're amazing. They're like a little family run hotel. And I just found them on, like, booking dot com or something. I don't know. I just We I had good reviews. They just opened up like, a few months ago, and it was run by this family and the river user. Great. And everything was painted blue in the hotel, and the rooftop was all blue. So I thought this would be a good place for us to kind of do some blue photo shoots while we're there and, like, not be bothered by people. So it was one of the reasons we we booked it. And so when we got there, we became really good friends and with the woman and like you could only get Internet in the lobby. So the woman that ran it, like her daughter did hand and she came and did all of her hands because we wanted to do like a sorry photo shoot. And her hash tag was sorry. Not sorry. But anyway, so that was really did this whole sorry photo shoot and all of a spot jewel to and sorry that we had Hannah done. And we went into the Blue City and did it. So her daughters in the head, I'm sitting on my laptop in the lobby and I was telling the woman that owned the place I saw the coolest thing today. There is a secret passageway up in the castle and, like, how cool is it to think that the maharajah used to come down in the city in spy and she looks around, she goes, Well, I've got a secret to tell you. And I said what you go to When we bought this hotel four months ago, we discovered that the other end of the tunnel in tunnels into our hotel was like shut. You're lying And she goes, it's right behind you. And sure enough, I'm sitting on a couch and I look back on the couch was pushed up against a wall with a door in it that was blocked off. So she opens the door and Sure enough, it's like this tunnel that goes way back and and But it had been marked that, like all the rocks had fallen inside. So the tunnel was busted in halfway down, so you couldn't go through. And so I said, Oh, my God, Are you seriously? This is so crazy. Like I happen to be talking about the story like wondering where it ended up. It was literally right behind me. As I'm like writing. I was like, This is crazy. I'm like, I have to write about this. So she goes well, have been consulting with the guru and like, I don't know to do because I really have a feeling that there might be treasure inside of this tunnel. And I feel very blessed about this hotel like nobody knows Tunnel ends up here, and I'd like to be able to offer it as like, a tour into the castle it someday. But I just don't really know how to handle it. So she was like, I really want to do a whole thing and pick up the auspicious date like like talk to my group, got exactly when we're gonna break through this tunnel and I said, you better tell me when you're doing it. I will fly back and write a whole story on this. I want to be there when you like, like bust down these rocks and find what's in this tunnel like I'm determined to find treasure in my lifetimes. O'Malley. I have to be like in Indiana Jones before I die somehow. So I was like, This is amazing. So that really happened. And that was just a couple months ago. So she were still in touch email, and I'm like, I'm serious. You better tell me when you decided, like Buster the Rocks in that tunnel. But it's really magical there. There's a lot of history, and as I was there, there's so many different stories. I kind of figured out the tell. But in order to do it, a lot of them came out from from just creating photo shoots or walking around and talking to people Or, you know, just getting so many ideas and inspirations from a lot of different places. This image going to talk about the holy cows. I mean, you just be walking by in the street. There be like a giant bowler cow just right there. All these beautiful colors next to each other. And it's good photographers paradise. I honestly want to take a workshop and come back to Judd poor and do workshops there. I'll do the work stop when we bust through that tunnel us. And I'm thinking to go back there and do that thinking out loud. No, but we This is just such a magical city. And if somebody wants to build up their portfolio and have some really cool places to do it, this city has got a dream backdrop to be able to do it. And it's really cheap once you get to India. Yeah, okay. The question of the day. We're getting so many of the questions about people travelling to India. Did you get model releases for all of these? The people in the photos? Yes. So I when I went around with a guide, a lot of these people were either families that the guide would bring us into and allow us into their houses and talk to you a lot of them. When we found out later on, when we did the photo shoot, we went back and got releases from some of them, and we found that they're all related, like all the people in the same house is that live near each other, are literally all family members that it was really easy to get that. But again, what? Having a guide is important because he was a local. He spoke the language and he was able to get us in, and they loved seeing their pictures in the back of our cameras And what we did. One of my photographer girlfriends, Shannon with who films that was on that trip with me. She actually brought a portable, uh, printer before basics printer and and gifted photos. We would take portrait of people and as a thank you, we gifted them on the spot where the portrait of themselves printed out. And for them, that was like, the coolest thing ever because, like, a lot of them don't have email, or I'd be like some these pictures to you later. And they're like, Oh, can you send it to my mobile or like they just didn't know how to get it? It was a really nice gift to be able tow, actually gift a portrait to them, and that made them like want to help us out and pose for us or do anything like that. So anyway, so for writing that picture in the bottom there, the sorries that was our Sorry not sorry. We basically did a style shoot with all of us And ah, lot of it was us talking about ways to photographically discover the blue city of jug pour So I thought would be so cool to have us for photographers, like matching the city and doing a sorry shoot. I have to say the locals, the local women loved that we were super dressed up in the Sorry. They wanted to help us get dressed up and help us take this picture. And we actually had a local. We set up the whole shot and have him take this picture for us and loved like holding the camera and taking the picture. But a lot of times I will create, like, headline photos that I like that are a little bit more set up for editorial are a because it's fun and be because it could be more catchy. Editorial kind of photo to grab attention when you're doing an article just showing you for a venue less and for having imposed like. Here is examples of headlines and ways to make you more catchy and to repurpose it, they said Thies. Spectacular shots of India's Blue City will ignite your wanderlust. You know something catchy like that for the headline where you could write a whole story, but that's gonna grab someone's attention even if they're just looking at the pictures and not reading your article. Same thing underneath like 28 prismatic pictures that capture the intense beauty of Holy Year, you know. So there's so many different ways you can write a catchy headline and kind of repurpose all of these in the different stories.

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
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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