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What Magazines & Blogs Like

Lesson 13 from: Becoming a Travel Photographer

Laura Grier

What Magazines & Blogs Like

Lesson 13 from: Becoming a Travel Photographer

Laura Grier

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Lesson Info

13. What Magazines & Blogs Like


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

What Magazines & Blogs Like

adding intention to your images will help you get published. So we've definitely touched on this earlier. But, um, I want to talk about this wedding that I didn't Zanzibar island in Tanzania and believe it or not, how I got this wedding was I was scouring Trip advisor one day and I had seen a picture of the rock restaurant in Zanzibar. So I wanted to know a little bit more about Zanzibar. So I was like reading what other people have written. And I just literally wrote like, Oh my God, I've been dying to photograph this place. I wrote that comment. This bridegroom happened to be researching wedding, then use and they saw my post and they went and they found my website and they're like, Oh my God, We want to bring you out. And so we had a They contacted me. We did a Skype phone call. They live in South Africa. They're getting married in Tanzania and they hired me to come all the way over there and spend a month with them in Africa. And their wedding bridal party did a whole safari for a ...

week before the wedding and you know it was like this crazy event. And so I told him the whole wedding wasn't a month. The trip was two weeks, but I told I've never been to Africa at that point, and if I go all the way over there, I want to see more of it. So they actually invited to host me and my assistant Sarah in South Africa for two weeks afterwards after the wedding, and it was an amazing experience, but we really bonded on Skype and they flew me all the way over there. And so this is one of the first destination weddings that I got published, and I I wanted to use this as an example for how to shoot when you're on destination for destination weddings and it also translate into travel. This shot is as they're coming back down the aisle and, like, they literally have the Masai warriors holding spears over the aisle from them. The walk through is pretty amazing. So a shot like this is what we would call an establishing shot or an atmosphere shot. It's sort of a super wide, very cinematic shot that gives you a lot of information. You know, you're not in Nebraska. When you look at this picture is you know that it's unusual. There is, like African Masai warriors, and it definitely, you know, you see the archways made out of palm fronds. You know, you're somewhere potentially tropical, you know that it's a destination. I could have taken that same photo and zoomed in really close on the bride and groom and that, and I'm sure I did do version to that photo too. But as I'm shooting the recession, I'm making sure I'm getting the wide, the medium, the close up, because for magazines like Awesome, you want to get that intimate moment of them looking at each other. But you also want to tell this story like we're in Zanzibar, right? So I'm gonna skip for it for a second on this and tell you the story and then go through this list. This is me with the Masai warriors. Um, So all their names were Joseph. I don't know why I think they all decided to pick their name, and they all decided on terraces. So I call them the three Joseph, and they called me Queen Obama because I was, like, the only thing they knew about Americans was Obama and Rihanna and something else like Jay Z. I'd like they would be like Jay Z or something as I was walking by on the beach like they just didn't know how to communicate. Speak Swahili. And so we is funny, because, unfortunately in South Africa and a lot of places in Africa, there still is a lot of racism there. And there is a lot of people that separated themselves from the Masai warriors, and I was so interested in getting to know them and photographing them. So I made friends with them right away when we were there, and they became like my personal bodyguards for this the trip. They would literally sit all day and wait for me to, like, emerge from the the hut, and they insisted on, like, escorting me wherever I wanted to go, and they were really interested in my photos that I was taking and they would pose for me. And there was so nice and making friends with locals along the way is really important because they ended up super helping me like we don't even speak the same language, but we're able to somehow communicate so they pose a lot for me. But I was able to get them to get more than Masai warriors to come and pose with the bride and groom on their wedding day. Like I was like, invited them back and told him I wanted to get pictures of the Masai for the magazine because it's Messiah. So Tanzania and it really tells a story. And I was looking for different environmental clues that I could put in the pictures to scream that it was a Tanzanian destination, because what I've found for destination, uh, magazines and publications is like, I mean, you could at the same beach. You can see it's a beautiful beach and green water. But if I just taking pictures of the bride and groom on the beach, it could have been a beach anywhere. Like it doesn't really say it's in Africa. And so what? Magazines looking for? Those details those environmental clues that things that tell you, where are you? So when I'm showing up early, like I always show up a day or so early for a shoot I scout locations and lighting and weather because you can research a bunch online before you get somewhere, but once you're there, things could be totally different. I was talking earlier about you know, you don't know the lighting conditions at the time of day or what it's gonna look like office. It might be raining or something. Or maybe they're scaffolding over the building that you really wanted to shoot in front of that you had researched online. Or, you know, there's this, like a list of factors that could come into play. And so I always show up a little earlier and Scout. But I'm also looking around for, like, what things or props or people, or can I put into the photo to tell you where you are? So they came and joined in my pictures of the bride and groom, and we had, like, like of a lot of fun with them, and we did. I did a whole series of portrait's and close up portrait of some of them to We'll get that second, I'll show you because I wanted to show beauty shots in detail shots. So I did really cool detail shots of them a size feet with the where they had, like, Bangles on, and you could see the bottom of the spear and their feet in the water. And I did really cool details of, like, the stuff that they're wearing. And, um and I just wanted I felt like that was so it wasn't like part of their wedding day, but it was a part of telling the story that we're in Tanzania. Right. So this is how the getting to be friends of the Messiah helped me out. So I thought, OK, I wanted to shock to them on the beach, but I don't want it just looks like any old beach and earlier that they had seen these fishermen come in with these boats that are super traditional. Their names of the boats are written in Swahili on the side of the boat. And I thought, Oh, this is perfect. Like we could just throw in a word in Swahili and in this boat in the background, and it will really tell the story about where we are. So, um, the with the help of the Masai warriors, I have somehow communicated and like gave like, five bucks to one of the Fisher guys and said, Bring your boats back to this beach this time tomorrow. And like, I'd love let us please, like, take some pictures. And they did. They showed up and they were super happy to do it. And so we kind of made a moment happen on the wedding day by, you know, not like going in and changing the whole environment, but like having a little bit of creative control, because ultimately it is someone's wedding. But you you're trying to create publishable opportunities. That makes sense. Um, so that's one of the close ups I did of the Masai. Okay, reason why the groom's wearing a hat, This is the story. So I'm there, Talk about when you're on destination and things can go wrong. And, like, I'm sometimes find myself in situations where I'm way more than a photographer. They're having the rehearsal dinner. It was like the night before actually was two nights for the wedding. The groom, the bride, had allowed drinks. The bride goes back to her, her hut or wherever she was. Her villa to go sleep passes out, locks the groom out. The groom. I'm signalling talking the groom's sister and I just put my camera down because it was the end of the night. It was like to clock in the morning. I'm like, I think we got enough pictures and the groom decides to dive into the shallow end of the pool right over my head. And I we and I'm seeing a doctor, Sister and I hear a light smack and and and he comes up and he's like, and we're like, Whoa, do you Are you OK? And he's like, Yeah, I'm great! And as he says that his head literally split open frenemy just blood everywhere. And I was like, My first reaction is grab his head and put it back together literally held it. And I was like yelling at Sarah like get her towels. Now, you know, it's like to walk in the morning. We're in Africa. I'm like, I don't know what to do about This is the groom the bride's past, how it's gonna be furious. So we had, like, like holding his head back together and get the the medical like the one guy wake him up, like to hock in the morning calm and so is head back together. And then he's locked out at 3 30 morning when you finally get back to the villa, locked out. I don't scale the wall and like break in and then wake her up and deliver her like, now deformed husband. You know, like Teoh. It was like a total mess. And she was like, You ruin all the wedding pictures and we're like, No, I've got a fedora hat. We can fix this like all Photoshopped. The rest It's all good. So we had a massive like gash and so we basically just put a hat on him for their buns of their victims. And it was good. I got published magazine. No one knew that happened. It was awesome. So never know. So what magazines and blog's like. So let's get in the middle. Locals at the bottom of the list, like I said, really helps you. I can't tell you how many times a local person will end up being like an unofficial coordinator or like editors like someone that helps me out on a photo shoot. Sometimes they can make the impossible happen or get you access somewhere or tell you something you don't know about a location. It's just don't be afraid that, like talk to people and kind of get into the mix and direct a little bit. You know, travel photography isn't always about just like, happening on the most perfect moment and taking it. Sometimes you are waiting or creating opportunities to telling a story as it's gonna be the theme throughout. My entire talk is that, you know, I tried to tell a visual story as I was shooting. I tried to think about wide atmosphere shots and detail shots and establishing shots that told me I'm in Tanzania. I want And I got beautiful, loving pictures of the bride and groom, and I really tried Teoh tell a well rounded story. It made it very publishable because if I had come back from that shoot only with pictures of the ceremony on the bride and groom, it probably would have gotten published again. Don't be afraid to set up action or be in control of your environment. I feel like some people feel like that's not photojournalism. You know you're going in and you're changing things. Uh, some of the most important images of our time in photojournalism, like the migrant worker that was set up like a lot of these images that are iconic. It's not like that woman wasn't in that predicament and she wasn't sitting there and she wasn't. But I'm sure like the story is still there. Weren't lying about that person, but if you can show that story literally in a better light or with another pop, a different color wall behind them or something that would make it more visually attractive. And I don't personally think there's anything wrong with that. And that's what magazines are looking for, that there's intense and thought behind your images and also staying on brand for me there times that I was in Guatemala and I took a picture of the bridegroom on this beautiful. It was like a horse and carriage that goes around the cobblestone streets, and I saw this one beautiful yellow wall and I just asked like we just ride the horse carriage over there and set up a shot right there. And there's nothing wrong with being vigilant and trying to find environments or places that will just enhance your images showing environmental clues. Uh, this is important across the board, whether it's wedding or travel or anything, you have to shoot. People have asked me like, how do you shoot when you're on location? Like, what kind of stuff do you know to Dio and I always talk about it as b roll. You want to shoot images that are going to tell a story, but you also need filler images. You need images that show the environment. Show where you are that someone could look at and be like, Oh, that's Africa are or that's in Europe. Or that's so you need to have establishing shots like that to be publishable and thinking like a magazine. So every magazine is different, and this points really important. This kind of goes together, knowing your audience and thinking like a magazine going back to when I would go to Barnes and Noble and sit there and, like poor through magazines and study them a magazine. Sort of. You kind of get, like, one chance to really make an impression with a magazine or a blogger publication when you when you promote yourself and when you submit, and so if you submit to travel and leisure. But everything you submit them is not within their guidelines is totally different than the style that they would normally submit that you've seen in their magazine. They'll take one look at that and go. Okay. This person clearly doesn't know the voice of her magazine, and they won't take you seriously and they'll probably not. Look at your next submission. If you ever send one to them, you really have one chance to make a good impression. And then So you have to make sure that your tailoring, your submissions and what you're shooting Teoh each publication or magazine, like, really study up on them. Look at the photos that they like. Look at the stories that they're doing. Look at the way it's laid out. Maybe layout your pictures in a similar layout to them and submitted to them that way. And that's a way for them that like then they can actually visualize your pictures in their magazine. Right? So you you want Teoh, do your research and know where you're sending this work, too. And don't just send it Teoh. You know Conde Nast, because you really want to be incoming asked. But your work doesn't match it. Do you, uh, submit an article or editorial content with your photos as opposed toe just photographs for the Blogger mate magazine to use. And how do you decide when to do, which I always submit a story, and even if it's just a paragraph story of what a story like, maybe I haven't written a story yet, but I have an idea for a story. All submit idea for the story if I haven't written it, if I've written it, that's even better. Um, a lot of times they have certain magazines have their own editor, their own writers, so they don't necessarily want a full article. But like, the idea is cool. I used Teoh submit just photos. And I'm telling you that sort of like almost the entire purpose of what we're going to talk about throughout the whole presentation is that adding words and stories, your images, you're gonna be so much more marketable on competitive and publishable because they're, like, awesome. You're sending them great images, but they still need to put it together. The story for their publications. So you're kind of making a little bit of work for them if you create on all ready to go package for them. You mean like this is awesome? Yes, please. And they're gonna choose you over someone who doesn't have a ready to go package because images air great, but they need to have a reason to publish. It needs to make sense. And there's usually a story with even with a real wedding, having a story about the bride and groom you instead of them having to re talk to you like we like these pictures. Can you send us a story and a list of all the vendors? If you do that ahead of time and write all the people that were involved in the shoot and the vendors? And this is a story blurb about it and blah, blah, blah and send it out to them. It's like a ready to go package, you know, kind of, uh, you know, mixing fields in journalism and photography. Uh, how much effort would you say you put into Both of those is equal, Or do you find one easier than the other? That's a good two part question there. I have just started putting a lot of energy into writing in the last few years, so I would say that I feel definitely more confident in better in my photography than my writing. I did go to school for photojournalism, but I feel like the art of writing has been sort of lost and, like, diluted a lot. People's attention spans and Holiday isn't Online is not what it used to be. If you write a lengthy article longer than 2000 words, people usually like like on to the next, like they want bite sized, digestible chunks of information. So certain publications like lengthy opinion pieces. But to be honest, most people want, like 1000 words, something simple. So you have to be able to write in a savvy way. That's attention grabbing and and it is really important, because for me, we're gonna get We're gonna dive so much into this later on. But it's so important. I realize that writing just enhances my photography and all the jobs that I get. All these travel jobs. Most of them have been because I've included writing with my work. It's it's another medium to tell a story, but it's also just enhancing my pictures like what words I attached to my images give it so much power, and we're going to give you an exercise later on to see this But it's one of those things where I, because it's practice, makes perfect. It's like with any art. The more you do it, the better you are at it. I feel like I'm learning so much as I go. Even now with my writing, I'm constantly reading other people's articles and getting ideas and how to start an article. How to make it look or savvy create the art of creating an awesome headline is the whole thing in itself, like that's the first thing someone sees and whether or not they decide to click on your article is based on your title, and that's very important. And so all these things I feel are enhancing my photography. But it's different, like for me. I don't have to think when I'm editing, I could be on a plane and just edit a bunch of pictures, and visually I could be listening to music. I could be watching a movie half the time. At the same time, I can kind of split my attention, but with writing, I have to be focused. I have to be, you know, in a place where I'm feeling good. I've got like my coffee and like new distractions. So I kind of writing on planes a lot because there's really no distractions. So it's for me. I think that the writing is harder because you do like, mentally have to be in it more than editing. I don't know the answer, your question, but yeah, I think for sure you shouldn't be submitting just photos for the sake of like looking my pretty photos like there should be something like This is the reason I did this. She even if it's just an explanation of why you did the shoes so with a magazine, I realized recently that you know, they are always looking for something that goes along with the trends we touched on this earlier. But let's say that there is a trend that is, Let's go back to the whole vintage story I talked about right. If there's a trend going on about vintage and there's lots of viral articles about it, it actually helps to take that idea and to incorporate it into your stories amount, because now you're making yourself relevant and attached to an already attractive subject matter that has a lot of hits in a lot of traffic so I mean, we'll get into this in a little bit. But for instance, I'm gonna give a story that my friends and my friend owns a doggy day care company in Los Angeles. And he was wanting to kind of get some press for the place. And he had the ability to write an article on this one site of promoting his business, and he decided to take a different approach. He found out that Hey, ready, like a study or some sort of questionnaire somewhere that said that you could tell a lot about the singleness or like the dating life of a girl by the dog she owned. And so he was like, That's really funny article. And so he decided to do a whole thing of, like writing an article that brought traffic to his site without really just advertising a site. So it wasn't about, like, come visit my doggy day care. It was like what your pet says about you like you are like, what kind of guys should you date based center? What kind of dog should you get? And like it? He wrote this really funny article and had attached it to an already existing viral study that was like going on the Internet that time and then linked that study into his article so that it was driving traffic back and forth and so magazines. And if you look at anything happening, poster, What's going on? A TMZ or any type of news? Aggregate. They're like You can surf what's trending, and sometimes you can get ideas for your own photography or ways to pitch something to magazine based on articles that are trending. So I think I love getting my inspiration everywhere I get it, not just by looking at other photographers would get. Weddings were just travel. I honestly get my inspiration from going reading the news and going Teoh while I'm traveling, going to museums or I'm just listening to people and attaching your somehow attaching your photos. Teoh. Something that's trending is a good way to get traffic to and make it just more relevant unpublishable

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