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Your Photojournalism Survival Kit

Lesson 9 of 12

What to Do Before You Leave

Ron Haviv

Your Photojournalism Survival Kit

Ron Haviv

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Lesson Info

9. What to Do Before You Leave

Lesson Info

What to Do Before You Leave

So which I'm not research before about researching your story, which obviously is incredibly important, but then there's also the idea of just researching and understanding the places that you were going to and again, it doesn't have to be going far off, it could be simply going from new york to seattle or seattle, san francisco, and obviously, you know, there's so much resource, so many resource is out there, wikipedia, trout, we travel lonely planet trip advisor various groups and still fight that so when you're on the ground, when you're doing so, if you want things obviously to run as smoothly as possible, so that means really kind of understanding everything, especially when you're going to a culture that maybe you're not familiar with. So understanding basic things like what's one of the hours of the workday special, you're going to an islamic country, you know what time do they close on a friday or the opener saturday, the sixth day work week, a five day workweek had stories fro...

m photographers got sent on assignment, they're booking their ticket and they're going somewhere and they need to go they need to go to an office and get a press credential, and they're like, oh, well, you know it's monday through friday and offices usually closed at five o'clock, so I'll show up at two thirty and they go somewhere they get there and it's islamic country in the office is closed. I'm not and they're not gonna be open for another two days and that person is not allowed to work without that credential. That trip is seriously damaged. They only had assignment for four days and now two of those days they can't do anything like a simple bit of research on something as simple as like, you know, a lonely planet can tell you so a lot of information that you use for vacations or normal traveling where the internet cafes, what hotels are best were the great restaurants where the supermarkets all that stuff, this is all like you have to be when you're doing your research, but what you're doing, what your stories also all the things that are going to help you be able to do that, I have to start to come into place, so you have to kind of have your go to go to items that you look at and so whether their app on your phone or books or digital versions on your ipad or so on, those things are, you know, they're they're really important and immediately because especially things could happen so quickly for the time that you've land when you don't know things and go wrong the entire trip goetz, goetz off set and so using myself an example I want my first trips you saw a little bit of it earlier today in panama I arrived in panama I didn't really have any idea to knew anything you know was going on um in terms of like the way the country function and it took me ah long time to come try and figure out what was going on how things worked on show you a little bit of a video where things actually I was super lucky and things kind of worked out for me but it's like it was it was an immediate lesson on actually what you need to do to kind of be able to function stood there photographs and still there were bullets flying around I didn't mean anything to marissa so intent on taking the photographs the photographs were immediately transmitted and were published all over the world. The following week I had the cover of all three us magazines and newsweek time and us news something I think it's only been done a few times the same photographers had all same covers. It was also my first experience and realizing truly the power of the press when george bush announced the invasion of panama he used those photographs as a justification for or one of the justifications for the actual invasion you remember those horrible pictures of newly elected vice president ford covered head to toe with blood beaten mercilessly by so called dignity battalions and so some of lessons I learned I was very lucky to get these covers and start to understand the way things worked on the ground, but I was being helped by a fellow photographer, chris morris, another founder of seven, but some of the other photographers were working with these people known as as fixers and fixtures are these magical people, these magical creatures that exist in these different places and it could be somewhere as far away as afghanistan or it could be somebody in flint, michigan, and these people are often working with journalists and you hire them and they basically can be multiple things they can be your translator that can be your driver or they could be somebody that just knows the area and knows everybody that you need to talk to. You ever wonder how photographers can arrive somewhere and hit the ground running and immediately start working it's often because they found they found these people on these people are the unsung heroes they're the ones that make us look good in order to tell the stories but often get very little credit. And over the last a few years there's been a bit of a movement of trying to get some recognition, especially in conflict areas where their lives are often at greater risk than ours uh and trying to get them when they're wounded or killed to get compensation for the families or for themselves but they are really a very intricate parts so the question of course is like you know how do you find how do you find these people? So for a long time it was a matter of doing some research today on the websites are on the resource guide but there are websites now that are there to help you find a fixer fixer is put in their name into the site they get vetted by the organizer's off the site and then journalist comment on their interaction with them. So now it's become a little bit easier you confined people through through that site when when you're not able to find a fixer like that, then the next thing I would do on what I have done in the past is whether again, whether it's, united states or elsewhere I usually start by calling up the wire services now ask I'll call up ap all call up reuters on some places I might call getty we'll ask to speak to the chief photographer I'll explain to them you know my name is ron, I'm coming to do a feature story about, you know, pastoral farmers june do you know anybody that can help me and very often the thie photographer on all these places of photographer will speak at least english plus their own language if not more so you'll be able to converse with them and they say, oh yeah my my sister my brother my friend or my friends is a photographer would love would love to work with you and sometimes even the photographer depending on what was happening the photographer himself or herself would sail I'm available toe work you negotiate a price and begin a relationship with one of the great things about kind of immediately going through a photographer is that they understand what you need is a photographer and this is like a very key thing like when you're talking uh to hiring a fixer is ensuring that they understand that you the way that you work because for most people they don't get up at four o'clock in the morning to be in the right place for sunrise and they don't stay until the end of the day to get that twilight light that you want and so on so it's a very hard concept so many times we're not actually explaining that properly I'm sitting having gotten up at four o'clock in the morning sitting in the lobby of the hotel and the fixer I hired comes in eight o'clock and goes ok let's go get breakfast and I'm like you were supposed to be here four hours ago we're supposed to already be like halfway done and the guy's like why would you want to wake up so early because I told you I want to know what cut that early it's just like something that people can't conceive of so it's important that when you have these conversations with these people that you really really make sure you understand this is what we need to do I'm a photographer and explain to them the light is more beautiful I want to do this so they become part of part of your team especially if they haven't worked with photographer before and so you start to talk to them you're hopefully you're talking to them before you arrived the email through skype or so on your you're judging them you're trying to kind of get a feel because in many situations the the fixer will also be your driver so when that person's driving for you they basically they have your life in their hands so you want to make sure that you trust this person, especially when when if you're a woman and the fixer is a man, you wanna make sure that you could trust them so you start to feel that out in the beginning through that immediate email contact hope for that person's already been vetted by by another photographer by another journalist or buy one of these websites and so you start to do that you start to explain like this is what I need to do and then you know hopefully they have contacts and they allow you to like, oh, I know this politician or I know this priest who's working with the poor or I know this farmer all those different things and you have to kind of like really kind of it could be unbelievably boring at times but step by step break everything down to make sure things are clear even when you're both the same nationality our or speaking the same language because of what we do is often so far into people like you can't make any assumptions like really so ok, so I need to be when you say I'll find somebody that I can spend a day with, they'll go in the safe, they'll find somebody and they'll go and you go there and you start photographing the guy and the guy's like okay, so you've been here for twenty minutes uh I'm done and because you relied on the fixer, the fixer doesn't understand he just called he thought you just wanted to see that subject washing their car something so it's like things that need to be spelled out. This will save you so much time and aggravation because when it goes wrong it really can fall apart. So it's again kind of spilling out exactly what you want to do a shot by shot especially most most importantly when that when that person is translating for you and you don't understand the language and then this is another issues that when you're dealing with somebody you're relying on them for their translation, you have to really understand to make sure that there's no other agenda by the fixer, you don't understand what they're saying, especially if you're doing any political lee oriented story you have to make sure, like when they're talking, um, they're telling you what that person is saying and not changing the words to fit their own interpretation, and it's happened so many times, and maybe you guys remember the scene in lost in translation movie with bill murray when he's doing a commercial and somebody speaks to him for five minutes and japanese and the translator says to him, he said yes, that's like a very typical like translators don't like want to go through that whole thing, but in that five minutes of conversation, obviously there's something of value. So you have to also be firm but respectful of the six three translator and say, okay, this is I need to understand every word that they're saying because you might be getting story ideas, you might begin anything from that person, and if you're relying on somebody else's interpretation rather than translation, it can it can backfire in this happens time and time again, and it used to be with photographers important, but not as important. A zit was with a writer or with radio person or tv but now that we're doing all these different elements what you are doing quotes when you are doing interviews where are doing motion and things like that you need to everything is on a much higher standards not just like I need access to go over to that mountain you need to know exactly all those different things, so I think that's really that's really, really helpful if for some reason the wire services don't work and they don't know a fixer and the website doesn't work, then the next thing I would do is it most countries most places most capitals have foreign language newspapers so you could call up the english version or the german or french or something and you do the same thing I'm a photographer I'm coming can you recommend anybody that doesn't work? You go to a university and go to the english department and explain the same thing and if that doesn't work last case scenario often would rely on going to a travel agent trying to get somebody like that. I've done all those different things but it's becoming a little bit easier because fixtures are getting more organized and people realizing how valuable they are but is really quite it's really quite quite important so and then there's sometimes where it just kind of like works out like really really oddly so covering the final battle in libya and tripoli on arab spring myself and heidi levin, a super photographer, we were brought the rebels kind of drove us somewhere and then just dropped us off in the middle of the neighborhood, like in the middle of the night, gun battles going on, and we're like, we don't know what to do. We're totally lost. We didn't organize ourselves very well, and this guy walks up to us and speaks perfect english. This is, hey, where do you guys want to go? What do you want to do? And we said, no, like, we really want to go over to this hotel where the journalists are staying, but we don't have to get there the guy's like, oh, I'll drive you and was like, okay, we get into his car and we're driving in and the guy's like, do you two sim card for your phone? It's a libyan sylvan card and like as soon as he said that we're like, what would you like to be our fixer? And then we hired him and he's been working as a fixer ever ever since. Sometimes you get really lucky and things kind of fall fall to your side, but other times you have to really work on it and it's really the trust issue both in terms of your safety and also in terms of understanding that you're getting a legitimate help in this story you're trying to do is really important and I'm not saying that every story that you do has have a fixer or has had the fixer at all times sometimes you just need somebody that introduces you to a group they vouch for you and the group trust you and they bring you in what could be working with soup kitchen it could be could be doing various things and then but you don't really need them there all the time maybe you speak the same language you don't have to rely on translation it really is kind of up to you there's no set rule there's also no set rule with prices so in some places I know certainly in some conflict zones when when people are very appreciative that journalists are there in the beginning especially often though people will work for free and then as they start to understand it's a business they start to charge more sometimes it could be twenty five dollars is is a great rate and other times it could be three hundred dollars a day really kind of depends on other other journalists there with stories like what's the economic conditions and sometimes you know you khun especially because when tv comes in their budgets were much higher than obviously ours so maybe tv was working in that area when there was a big news story and now you're going much later to do a feature story and somebody comes to you says, oh, well, the bbc paid me three hundred dollars a day they say look, I'm a freelance photographer I'm here to tell this story I can't afford that there's thought possible and quite often more often than not you can work out a deal they appreciate like if you really feel like you know, they feel that you're involved in this story, you feel like you want to tell him they want people to see it it's okay, I'll do it for fifty dollars, twenty five dollars or I have a friend that I can't work for that but have a friend that can do that so don't ever feel like you know if you need them, you should at least try to engage that conversation because the amount of time I mean, I think in the end, most of time you probably could do it on your own in a lot of cases but the amount of time and money and energy that you would spend trying to get to the same point that somebody that you paid one hundred dollars a day for there's there's no comparison I mean it's, it's, it's amazing it's really some of the things we're talking about in this section is about building up in infrastructure around you you're all individual freelance photographers where you're not staff you're not working for ap has a bureau and writers and fixers and drivers were all individuals and so very often infrastructure around us is temporary and you have to build it from place to place and they're going to be times when you really can't do things on your own and the other times when it'll be fine to do it on your own but you have to understand when when is the right time to use your resource is when's the right time to collaborate or have support from from other people? So we'll start talking kind of basically breaking this down from like before you go packing what you do on the field and when you come back so first kind of thing and this is some of this stuff is going to be for international travel, some will apply for domestic, so it'll becoming crisscrossing back in port. So one of the first things to do especially in today's political climate is to understand, you know about your passport, you know, what's what's your nationality really important depending on where you're going also important depending what hap what's happening on the ground so understand was it mean to be an american in certain places? Was it mean if you're not an american uh these are really key issues and they're actually completely related in many places especially today toe access in different in different stories so it's something to to really be very, very conscious of and then it's connected to visas, right? So what countries do you need to get a visa for on what countries don't you need to get a visa visa for and how are you going? How are you going to get a visa? Do you get a journalist he's up to get a tourist sees a ward of the differences? These are important things to underst tint. So using a couple couple countries as examples china and india was first start with india, so for many years people that wanted to go and do a story in india we just get a tourist visa and go off and go off to india without any problem journalists, photographers, filmmakers for the most part wasn't really a big deal over the course of the last few years, the indians have started to crack down and this is not doing news just doing feature stories they started to crack down on writers is the first thing they started, teo and so they started to google people to see what have you written? Are you writer if you're playing tourist on, people are starting to think that they're going to start doing that with photographer sent and so this is this is something to be aware of if you apply as a tourist and you go to india and you work as as a joke now is a photographer depending on the story you're doing, you could have some leeway I'm a traveling photographer amount of journalists and so on uh it's also connected then when they google you what comes up and so on on the flip side if you apply for a journalist visa for india and you get declined which you're most likely to do so because they're very strict on who they give jealousies is to you then you get put into the list into into a system and a couple of years ago a colleague of mine who had applied for an indian journalists visa was was declined and then was traveling on his way to afghanistan through india like in transit and when he got to india they took his passport and said, oh you've been refused for visa and he said I'm just going to afghanistan they said no, you have to get on the first plane and get out so this could have repercussions these air and obviously his stripped afghanistan waas was a problem had he known that would have happened he would have just transited through a different country uh in china is very difficult to get a journalist visa there unless you're going to be based there wouldn't and then you actually do need of these, but if you're coming through and you're trying and often there was happening last couple of years with, uh with the the uighurs uprising in various natural disasters where photographers who were there on tourist visas showed up at news events and had to kind of sort of crisscross and hide from the authorities because they didn't have legal standing to be there. It's just things that you need to kind of be be aware ofthe on there and there are many other countries where com depends on what's going on what you know what, what visa you should get the one benefit for us is photographers is that because so many tourists are using the same equipment that we are everybody has a dslr everybody has an iphone, you no longer really like a big waiting a big flag hey, look at me, I'm a professional photographer because we kind of all have the same gear unless you're really going in with like a lot of video gear ah lot of mike's a song which is a whole other conversation but traveling like with the normal kids god, you usually like if you're trying to get in somewhere as as a tourist, it can be ok, but you have to be careful like couple of years ago I was traveling to meet amar to burma I'm traveling with a friend she's a fashion photographer I'm and I'm not and so she she went ahead through customs and she had written photographer on her visa form and the customs guys like you're a photographer no you need that and she's like oh no no I'm fashion photographer I shoot shoot girls and big dresses and they're like oh great everybody's laughing off they went and I was like I wrote mike he's application form I'm a graphic designer and so not telling you guys to to lie but there are times when you know you have to kind of pay attention to the situation on the ground because it can be can be incredibly incredibly important and things change quickly and so it's important always keeping abreast and again nothing to do with shooting war can just be lots of different things going on to understand your own your own nationality where you're going, what that means and then whether you're going in as a journalist or tourists and what and what you're going to do self transportation this is like, you know, a pretty big pretty big deal and so again kind of talking about this idea of building an infrastructure around you so I know it's super easy now to use expedia, orbitz kayak or never to book flights and kind of finding that cheapest flight no matter what to get where you need to go but I personally really believe in still trying to use a travel agent and I do so for a couple of reasons one is that often the cheapest flight is not going to be the best flight for you when things go wrong and we're often than not things we're going to go wrong so by wrong meaning like oh I just need another have to shoot another day especially like when you're shooting on your own budget or the magazine says like this is all we can pay you need to be flexible you need to have somebody there to interpret all the different airline rules and then if things go wrong for somebody to be working for you so having having a travel agent can be incredibly helpful also the last thing you want to be doing is like if you need to stay another day I need to be working on your story last thing you want to do spend two hours talking somebody at expedia on extending or paying the change fear or whatever. So paying fifty dollars more for a travel agent to be part of your team that he can handle that or she can handle that while you're off shooting is great flights get canceled they take care of it all this other stuff it's like they're certain points where began like this idea about this being a business like they're certain expenses that you need to kind of pay paying to to kind of upgrade system so things work a little bits more smoothly and you have people people working for you, and if you can't have a ford to have somebody doing that full time, having people like a travel agent here itself, that can can be incredibly, incredibly helpful. So other things that are kind of like sound will be ridiculous or a little bit not in the best way for kind of the type of work we're talking about, but something like getting elite status in airline can be incredibly incredibly helpful. The first, the first thing that is incredibly helpful is thatyou're going to board the plane? Probably, you know, in the first one or two groups which you should be carrying, which we'll talk about it a bit carrying all your gear with you more chances than not, you have a bag that's not sort of legally allowed to be taken on as carry on, the quicker you get on the plane. Um, the you know, the easier you have, you have to get your camera bags on. So one time I went, I was going to uganda was traveling on british airways, and I wasn't even actually I wasn't even like at the point of the plane, I was at the at the ticket counter getting my boarding pass and I had a camera bag wasn't overly large but it was like a decent sized bag but it wasn't like a bag that I could check and the ticket guy said looked in my bag and said you can't take that on the plane and the plane's leaving like an hour like what am I supposed to do? You can't do it I don't care what there's nothing you can do you can't take on the plane and talking and arguing manager comes over and finally like what kind of this so you can buy a ticket for your back because I had no standing whatsoever brochure was they didn't care about me and they treated me like like an idiot and so is really annoying and then use another example I was in bangladesh a couple years ago and kind of probably had too much stuff and I go I check in on walking to the security and some rent a cop guy starts freaking out no you can't go through and he's pushing me and go check your bags in the head and I didn't want to check my bags and multiple connections and causing a commotion and finally somebody from the airline comes over and says no sir, you can't do it you can't do it and then he looks in my ticket and sees that I was elite with the lions so whatever one world and all sudden like dramatic change oh sir let me escort you to the plane so nothing had changed but like a little color on my ticket but that could have been a big problem because had I had to check my bag and the bag got lost on my way to a job in all son, we're causing like major major problems same thing applies with hotels like there are times when it's like super helpful so I give you a really good example. Um in in egypt in torrio square I booked I kind of went like kind of the middle of the arab spring, so I was there about five or six days in I booked my hotel booked at the hilton overlooking two rear square I arrive, I get to the hotel at that point, the egyptian government actually shut down the internet. No internet in the country it's kind of hard to conceive but there's no internet so I get there I've got my reservation, I go to the counter to get my room and the guy's like no, we don't have your reservation there's no rooms get out nothing to do and I'm just like I just flew like fourteen hours I'm exhausted there's protests outside I need to get I need to start working and um I reach into my wallet I pull out my hilton gold card immediate change, sir, please come to this private elevator. I get whisked up to a room here's, some fresh pineapple juice. What kind of room? When you like? Oh, I'd like a room overlooking the square, but I need to face east. So my sat phone so I could get internet so I can hit this and deva, and so I'm evil not only tow work, I can even take photographs from my room without even having to go into the field office all because of this little gold card, which, by the way, had already expired. But the's things actually can, I can make a difference, so they're just kind of like little things to kind of pay attention to that can't can really be hopeful the same thing going back to the airline thing, like when flights get cancelled, when things could move, the people that get help first are the people that have loyalty to the airlines. You get access to airport clubs, which can be incredibly helpful with, like you have to find a good internet, or just be able to translate photographs on the fly. All these, like little things that kind of can make your life just a little bit better and a little bit smoother kimmy and carl be helpful, but it's like this is where things really start to break apart like almost immediately like on planes you know when things when things are not working when you're when you're choosing to save one hundred dollars or fifty dollars by taking a connection rather than a nonstop and you miss your connection or you check a bag and that bad gets lost all these little things which seem very innocuous when you think about them but when you really kind of break it down to c like what's the worst case scenario that can happen and you know nine times out of ten they're not going to happen but that one time when you got your first assignment for national geographic or time magazine or whatever and all of sudden you can't get there or something's wrong dennett has ramifications that can can really be powerful so you really want to try to limit you know, limit that that idea as much as possible the other other thing is very basic but it's really is super important is that you know you want to make sure that if you have to check a bag you're checking you're not checking gear or you're checking secondary gear and that you're always traveling with everything that you need including chargers uh lenses whatever you need to have a kid with you on you so that when you land you can start working there's no question about if you if you decide to pack half your gear in checked baggage and half your gear with you guaranteed that that check bag is not going to make it, I'll give you a very good example and gave this class she was a student, just academic who also will hopefully be teaching here when she went to thiss exact lecture and jessica and I were doing an assignment last year we were shooting a film and we arrive in we arrived in scotland was non stop playing bags come off, I grabbed my check bag, which was filled with clothes and her check bag never arrives and like, okay, that's that's a bomber just but you'll get you'll get your clothes tomorrow is like, no, I've got half my gear isn't my check back and I've never has never happened to me before, and then we had to spend the next four or five hours we've landed on a sunday were to start shooting that day, so we're in sunday in scotland, where everything is closed tryingto, like jerry rig and borrow beg and borrow gear, um managed to work out fine, but it's just like it's, like even somebody with her experience, you know people you forget and you kind of fall into like routines like, oh it's never happened before everything's fine, and then comes the one day when it's when it's not so it's again, it's like breaking down like we're talking about breaking down, talking to the fixer breaking down your story idea is breaking down used to break down your your experience like, how are you going from point a to point b it can be super boring and you could just say like, this never happens, but then among time that happens, you're gonna be like, oh, yeah, I remember ron talking about this and I just ignored it, so it is it is really, really important to, like, minimize the risk of disruption, especially on the transportation side. How do you go about figuring out how much to compensate a fixer? Well, you know, I think it's like everything it's more its market value, right? And so I think that, uh, I think that there is it's going to be a set price in most places, but I think there's also like I think that there's some sort of responsibility where, especially when you're going to places that are very poor, I think just because you can pay somebody less just because you can often isn't most fair thing to do so I think it's like finding that balance, something that compass, these people for good work is the right way to do it, I think it's, you know, it's good karma and it makes sense but at the same time if you have a very limited budget and you explain to them properly and you know it's going to be their decision in the end you can decide I mean generally for me because often in places say haiti for example I've been working in haiti since nineteen ninety and most of the time with the same with the same fixer and when I'm on assignment I will pay like the normal like rate thirty charges a photographer on assignment, no problem and when I'm not on this time and he gives me a break because he knows that I'm going to come back to him when I when there is a budget and when there's not a budget I'm so gonna compensate him but I'm not gonna be able to afford the same price so it's fair to him it's fair to me I reckon an exchange I recommend him uh the other photographers so I've gotten him lots of work, so you kind of kind of build that relationship in places where you're going back over and over again, so it just kind of depends I think you know, you want to, you know, there's a responsibility with the fixer like they're working for you, but you know you're leaving and they're staying in their times in many cases especially if it's in times of conflict or political turmoil where your behavior reflects on that person when you're responsible for this person safety just like they're responsible for yours and there are unfortunately a number of very, very difficult stories with journalists, photographers, writers, etcetera not treating these people well, leaving them behind, getting them hurt or killed not carrying uh and it's it's I think it's a mark without question on on us and I think it's up to each one of us that whoever you engage with these places, you want to treat them as you want to be treated, and they're all times when there are bad fixers and then it's important to make sure you can recognize that because your life is in their hands and to be careful uh for sure and then what other people know if you encounter people that are are dangerous, especially especially now, like even you know, even if you don't want to go to syria but you wanted to do refugees in different places along the border, in turkey or in jordan or so on your thieves are dangerous places where you you need to be working with with people was safe people in your building up your team, you're building up your infrastructure and that's really important you really are risking not risking your life you're putting your life in these people's hands and that's also why getting recommendations from other journalists and song can be incredibly hopefully this person can be trusted but there are times when you know it just it just doesn't work out in the they turn against you for whatever reason but that's very very uh far and few between its important to pay attention to that thank you so going along same lines is like the research and so on you now there there's so many so many amazing apse right so you should really have apse on your phone an android or iphone that really goingto work uh to help you out and so you know find the right ones that help you with communication that have help you travel and help help help make everything as smooth as possible obviously language translation and so on are incredibly helpful there are a few really good aps that I really like one is called salt essay ok it's an app that has primarily almost every airport in the world and tells you the different ways to get in out of that airport so say like if you want to go by taxi don't take the red tacks you think the blue taxis and this how much it cost to go to this place or the best way to leave this airport is by bus or by train or so on so before you leave if you're not or even if you're on the plane and you can't find it in lonely planet or else where there's a great little app that has all this information there's another great app called flight board which is really great when you are actually doing connections especially when you're connecting in europe so as soon as you land you can log onto flight board it puts you actually into the system the airport flight board system so while you're on the plane you can immediately see like where your connection is are you delayed or so on again more information you have, the easier you are to be ableto work to be able to work through there are things like gay guru world made of course I kayak and then all the airline hotel laps all these things can actually be incredibly helpful plus all the translation software and so on super super helpful stuff that again minimizes chances of like things going wrong and giving you as much information as possible tohave so insurance, medical insurance uh this is really obviously very important for for a number of different reasons it's a really important first of all to understand your own insurance, your own health insurance what that provides for what it doesn't provide for differs by company and also differs by country so german health insurance is different than american and so on, so understand what that means when your cover you're working within your home base and what it means when you're leaving one of the most important things to have covered is medevac to be able to be medivac medivac, meaning that somebody will send in a helicopter or a plane to take you to the nearest hospital to get proper treatment and, if necessary, will fly you from their back to your home base. That's a really important thing if you don't have that insurance, you're not covered for that, those flights could cost up to half a million dollars. So it's really important it's not hard to get it's, not expensive most insurances have it credit cards have it american express, platinum card and other cards will also include medevac insurance, but understand whether you're covered from that that understand, like, what are you going to do? Like, are you going to a place that is covered by conflict or there's natural disasters? Will your insurance cover you in place like that? Or is there a writer that says, like he doesn't work in those places? If that's true, then there's other insurance he should should get, uh, there's, a organization called reporters without borders, rsf it's, based in france, and they provide insurance. They give the connecting to an insurance agent that provides insurance all over the world extremely, extremely cheap, so even in places that a normal insurance company wouldn't insure you, they will for depending on what's happening in that country anywhere from five to fifteen dollars a day that includes medevac insurance if it's just like a normal trip there are number of different insurance companies that you can go online one that I use called seven corners within ten minutes you get insured probably another like ten dollars a day includes all of these different things and you turned on and turn off based based on your trip but it's amazing how many photographers don't know what their insurance covers don't think that anything is going to ever happen to them and don't ever bother to and then when something happens it's too late and you know this is this goes beyond losing you know your your business going down this could destroy everything I mean you have to pay for a metal back we'll have to sell a house or something I mean it could be very, very, very serious and is something very easy and their other insurances it's listed on the resource guide other places to go as well so it's just something to be super super conscious about so medical care vaccinations I'm very proud in a very odd way to say that I have no longer there no more vaccinations left for me to take even matter should get well I got a couple dosages against anthrax but then I stopped when I saw people like ben lowy losing his hair but but it's important to know what you need where right and so there's a lot of information out there one of the best places to go side from actually talking to your doctor which should be the first stop is going to the cdc website which you put in the country you put in there the place we're going the capital of the area especially obviously given ah uh especially with malaria now we're talking about another another airborne disease it's affecting pregnant women so these things are yet the cake stay current it's understand what's going on it's really it's really, really important um and so they even noticed actually a year ago so there's conversation among people like myself from the p from time from lawyers everybody's like talking about malaria and they're all everybody's saying lee different things like, oh this works it doesn't work too this too that it was like it was amazing like all super experienced journalists and somewhere somewhere, right, according to the cdc and according to my doctor but somewhere like completely wrong and that was like totally like, oh, this is the way to do it this way I don't take medication here, I'd do this where you do that or whatever they were saying but they were just they were not correct and so while super helpful to talk to colleagues and ask them don't leave base any medical advice on what somebody said like I did this when I was there it's like talk to real medical professionals because obviously you don't you don't want to die but there's a lot of other things that can happen to you especially just in terms of trying to get your work done that can be avoided like if you take the proper cautions the proper medication to protect yourself and then you have to make your own decisions or people that won't take any prophylactics against malaria because it affects your liver and so on and these are decisions that you have to make yourself but at least do that with a true understanding of all the different ramifications of what's going on I think that's really really it's really important any questions related to that so then there's photography insurance so obviously you want to assure yourself and you also want ensure your gear and then the same thing is like what? What does your insurance policy cover? What happens within fifty miles of your home? What happens outside of fifty miles? What happens when you travel outside the country outside st? What happens in times of protests? What happens in terms of natural disasters? Uh, I was talking to my insurance company and this we're talking about covering hurricanes and earthquakes and they said, yeah, like we don't cover you for acts of god hurricanes, earthquakes so I said so I said, oh, hurricane katrina so yeah, like if something happened to you during hurricane katrina we would not cover, but as soon as the hurricane was over, if you trip to broke all your gear like an hour after the hurricane was declared over, we recover you so but it's important to know that and it's important to really have things down on paper another friend of mine she went to london, she had her year in a car she stopped off you park the car in front of a restaurant wins the restaurant, came back out car stolen all solar gear she comes back calls her insurance agent who she talked to before she won the trip to make sure she was covered and the guy's like, oh yeah, you're covered you're fine talk the same guy I was like, oh yeah, you're not covered and she's like, what are you talking about? You told me it was covered. Yeah, I was wrong, but it wasn't on paper, so eventually you know she eventually managed to get them to do the right thing but super important right? Another another student maybe maybe I'm not teaching his class as well as I thought so another student that I gave this class too last last year gets robbed in argentina doing some feature story loses all his gear says hey, I just lost all my years ago that's terrible you plan on getting it back off from insurance that sounds like oh no, I don't get insurance he then had to had to start a kickstarter campaign to get to get people to help him buy back is curable sick, ridiculous it's like pay the five hundred dollars a year or whatever it is and ensure your gear like this's again this is like not thinking about this like a business like who does that? This is like these are the tools of your livelihood and losing fifty and they're expensive right? So use a couple of bodies and three or four lenses and a laptop you're talking fifteen twenty thousand dollars that that can be for some people like a serious hit and so it is going to be a serious hit for you like he was for him make sure that you're covered absolutely but it's just it seems like sometimes very hard uh for people to register again it's like protecting yourself on all these different levels it's just super important again like it sounds obvious but there are people that just don't don't do it and so if you guys all know everything and you're covered for and you're all covered great, but if you're not you know when this is over I would do some research so cash and credit cards obviously incredibly important when you're travelling um and knowing when to use what obviously important trying not to get, you know, get your numbers uh clone and so on also importance of being careful again don't have to be in some far off country understand where do you cash from all that such as being careful using like really atms and so on super important when you're traveling overseas understand their countries that are american express countries, countries that are visa or mastercard no countries really or discover countries but certainly can be helpful but it's really helpful toe have more than one cart and now as we're making this transition, american cards are making this transitions to chip cards understand like how your chip card works in case you know you show up somewhere I was in london last year I went to a restaurant went to give my credit card all they had was a chip reader my car didn't have a chip in it, they couldn't read it and that was it there was and I didn't have cash and there's no way there was no way to pay them because so none of my cards worked so I managed t work it out but it's like these air annoying little things with cash also super important so is it a dollar countries of the euro country is in neither where you exchange money doesn't work with their atms because they haven't atm system more more countries do becoming less and less difficult to find atms withdraw money but there are still countries certainly in africa and asia where where the that's an issue and the actual physicality of the bill is becoming is still very important iran burma a few other countries congo other places that who also probably most part don't take credit card it's where you have to pay things in cash want one hundred dollars us hundred dollar bill is the most counterfeited bill in the world so in order to combat that there are countries that like those places and I mentioned that say that you need a bill from the last four years so if you show up in in burma to pay your hotel bill which most likely at this point you sought the paying cash and you come on and your bills or from two thousand ten they're going to say I'm sorry we can't take it and then you have to go to the black market and sell it fifty cents on the dollar to get clean money to come back because also I think depending where you are in burma now you can't get money from the scene with iran similar places if in some places just in ethiopia a couple months ago I gave them a fifty dollar bills full didn't have to like I'm sorrys got a crease in it we can't take it if it has a mark on it, if it's thorn, if it looks anyway or weird there places that like, forget about it. So if you're traveling in a place that's only cash only and you're you're really relying on cash and they're not gonna take that cash. This could be a big problem and has been a big problem for a lot of people in different places, so I'm kind of going a lonely planet and other places, you know, online groups in what situation like in these places, doing a little bit of research, we'll be super helpful. You go to the bank to say I need a hundred dollar bills from two thousand fourteen and above and that's not really going to be an issue, but if you don't pay attention to it, it can be an issue pretty pretty quickly. So medical training in hostile environment courses, so medical training um, is pretty important. Mohr more journalists are killed, we're wounded or hurt every year in what anybody, no car accidents, right? It's not being shot it's not not being blown up it's in a car accident because you're spending a lot of time in a car, drive around with these fixer guys and other people, someone not great drivers depend or things are happening really quickly or so we really helpful if you new and the person sitting next to you if you're working with a writer another photographer so on if you could both take care of each other and take care of the driver in case something goes wrong so it's would be really great and at this point I reluctant to travel with people that have not gotten any medical training at all and so there are classes that train you can be from red cross their specialty groups called there's one called risk which was founded by sebastian younger after him heather intending chris hondros were killed that air giving free courses to journals to teach our first aid trauma but certainly recommend doing hostile environment classes are the next level which are only really specifically for you if you want to cover conflict and these classes are given by former special forces soldiers mostly british. I took my class with a group called a and it teaches you how to think in a logical, indifferent manner which is kind of how to survive and work in war zones plus medical medical trauma. But the medical trauma thing is really will be helpful in a lot of different ways and if you're on an airplane and somebody asked, anybody here trained that at least you can go save the person on the plane but it is really it's pretty important and will be really, really, really hopeful um and so I'm kind of going back to the kind of the the hostile environment thing it's really supposed to really teach you lessons that that can save you save your life and save your colleague's life and even even after taking that class and even after um you're going through all these two for wars so it still could be in showing the show you just a quick video of a serious mistake that I made thie fight for tripoli went beyond the fall of qaddafi's compound for several days roaming bands of militia look for remnants of the regime. Rumors grew that qaddafi and his sons were in various suburbs of the city. Loyalist fighters tried to hold their neighborhoods from the advancing rebels, travelling with somewhat chaotic and disorganized forces ranged from witnessing a farce to slightly organize attacks. I traveled with them as they attempted to dislodge a number of qaddafi fighters from a building, starting with rifle shots accelerating to automatic weaponry than two rpgs theo there were unable to take the fortified structure. At one point they use an artillery piece mounted on a car that once fired the vehicle fell apart from the force. They eventually had to enter the building going up the stairs and the dangers and somewhat incorrect manner of trying to clear it way edged up a couple of flights towards loyalists they would fire indiscriminately upwards then all of a sudden is shot rang out from above, hitting one of the rebel soldiers. As he lay dying, his comrades jumped over him and fled the building, leaving him bleeding on the stairwell. Moments later, they attacked the building from the outside again with a parent little result. So even after doing this for so long, taking these classes from the special forces soldiers, I still was stupid enough to run into a building with a bunch of idiots who didn't know what they were doing, and a guy was killed, you know, a few feet away from me. So it's, just a concept. That stuff has to be a constant reminder. Er, er like, yeah, it's dramatic, and I did okay visually, but I really never should have been, you know, in that in that building and so there's, all these little things, these little decisions that you could make that your life can go this way or that way, or even, you know, just the job can go this way and that way. So it's important to kind of keep remembering all these different things that you have. You know, there are things that you have control over and making decisions about what you're going to do and how you're going to do it. And so like along the same lines is like social media we were talking a little bit about your building up your social media footprint right which is successful for marketing and so on but one of them there's a flip side to it and it can it can affect you in different ways, so I think that if you have um if you have your your feed and your page and your twitter instagram if that's open to the public if anybody can see any aspect of that, you have to really be very, very careful about what you're posting on that page and it goes everywhere from security to just helping you get access to subjects so if your pages open and let's just say politically your laughter right doesn't matter either side on your ranting about trump you're ranting about hillary or you're pro choice or anti choice whatever and that's all there and then you get an assignment from a magazine to cover somebody who's opposite politically opposite to your has different social values than you and you say, oh hey, my name is so and so I want to come spend the day with you I've got assignment from time magazine the guy goes okay sounds good what's your name here's my name what's the first thing that person is going to do they're going to google you right? They're going to pull up everything about you and they're gonna go to your facebook page I'm going to go to your twitter feed her and go to your instagram and if you're spouting something that's so diametrically opposed to what they believe this is going to affect your ability to work with this person because they're going to immediately assume thatyou're coming from an opposite side seems to be very careful about your social media presence as professionals this is one of the ways that you interact with the world in a way that people see your work you're totally welcome to say whatever you want but if you're going to do so do it in a very closed setting that only the people you want there only your friends are going to see but anything that's open to the public I highly recommend really really being careful and if you're taking it to another step if you're going to be doing work that is going to involve politics or conflict or things that are a little even more serious than that you have to be really careful about your digital footprint. So for instance covering the war in syria journalists crossing line back and forth are getting googled by the rebels they put in their name and they say oh so you've worked in uh you worked in the west bank so you've been in israel but that's a problem for us or here I see you worked on the side of of the government in damascus that's a problem same thing coming back out people are all so what did you do while you're here you're transmitting your working for a client your work is appearing on the internet it's immediately searchable this's a big change for us like I'm talking about people in the middle like in a mountain taking out their iphone and googling you and seeing everything that you've done. So you're not saying that you shouldn't be doing whatever you should be doing but you need to be aware that this can have real potential can have real risk is very hard on you looking what happened tio some of the journalists that were able to escape or were freed in syria and you know their captors were going through there we're in some cases pretending to be them but we're going through all their social media and that's the first thing that anybody does including like when you're applying for the visa it's on people are checking this out so I don't know the answer to it there is no real answer it's a very fluid and difficult world but you need to just be aware that you know it's not just free if it's if it's open it's not just for you and your friends and it's representing you as as a professional so we're getting short on time so I'm gonna keep pushing through okay so sharing your location schedule also super important again doesn't have to be specifically related to a war zone we're seeing people that are off doing feature stories in turkey in egypt and so on getting kidnapped disappearing all sorts of things were happening it is a very, very difficult world out there and when you're walking around with cameras you are a target you are somebody of interests you will draw attention so it's important for you to depending on where you're going and what you're doing toe workout a system where you're alerting somebody who is not with you preferably you know, close friend relative or someone or editor like I will check in depending on obviously how intense the situation is every six hours every day, every night or so on and if you don't hear from me make a call should become sort start to become like a very basic things not a sorry working within your home area but if you're working in other places around the world we've all seen it this's like that there is no border anymore and so you have to really pay attention to it uh so this is really important so I think that you know, setting up these plans having kind of a ideas who they contact evacuations things like that are are really, really important so just like a quick, quick story about me I was covering covering a war and basically I got arrested I was told I was going to be deported I got brought practice back to the hotel to get my bags and we're driving accross the border masha leave a note for my friend saying I've been arrested of being check out and that was about it and seven being kicked out I was taken prisoner I disappeared for a few days, but my friends when they didn't hear from me after the a lot of time that I should have been able to call them immediately called called new york in new york called the white house and then things happen very quickly and then within a few days I was released but had I not sent that note made, my friends would have thought that I was off doing a story or nobody would have known what would happen to me. So communication in all these situations not justin award is can be incredibly incredibly important then kind of other basic things like, you know, make sure that you know you have simple things like, you know, information about things that you're allergic to your blood type all those things, all that information should be on your person in case of a car accident case of any kind of different things, like kind of different things like just make sure that you're you're secure same thing with making sure the basic travel things making sure that you have multiple copies of of copies of your passport other things like that in case your past work it's stolen often america will let you back in with a copy or at least will help you get it new passport, a consulate or embassy those things are also really important and then also it's really amazing how often and how important having passport photos are for you because the last thing you want to do when you have to get a press accreditation we'll reply for a visa and all the stores are closed and also and stores don't open until the visa places closed and so on so on it's like be self contained have all that super handy write your name on the back of the photograph kind of basic stuff like that but I can tell you it can save days and days of of of of hassle so you know it's really it's really important like another stupid thing I did um getting taken prisoner in iraq that's me on the left. Um this is like the one we were allowed to take. We were able to take one picture of ourselves when we're prisoners in this took like a week or so for us to get released, but again it's kind of like not following a lot of these rules not paying attention not too improper research basically driving the wrong way getting taken prisoner and then eventually getting very lucky that we were that we were released so for packing, moving kind of quickly your butt for packing basically I use this idea of doubling up like you want to have a minimum of two of everything so at least two bodies perfect usually I traveled with three bodies and of course the iphone as as as another body on in terms of lenses I'm not taking two thirty fives or two fifties but what I do is take primes and then I'll take zooms that work in accordance with primes, right? So I'll take the thirty five of fifty of twenty four don't take a twenty four to seventy so if the fifty breaks I have a fifty on the zoom zoom breaks I have the prime if everything breaks probably you know use the iphone if you lose the iphone I think assignments over should really just go home but but these things are important so it's like it's like a basic kid so this is this is also a little bit more for conflicts as a gas mask and flak jacket and stuff but you see at the medical kit which we'll talk about the second cards all that basic stuff so can be super helpful so something else is incredibly important is of course his power were incredibly reliant on power anybody know like weird like ninety nine point nine percent of the time you can get power no matter what from okay so most people say the sun which is true but it's because it's a little bit more limiting but think about how many times have been a place where there's no car pretty unusual unless you're like walking you know you're like salgado and you're walking with the penguins in the middle of nowhere but more often than not you know there's going to be a vehicle around so you need to be able to to get power power from a vehicle very simple they make these great little inverters they plug into the lighter you can charge any charge your computer you can charge various things different sizes different voltages should really be part of your normal kit if you're in cuba and you're driving around in nineteen fifties remade cadillac probably there's no lighter thing so you can get the same thing that actually has too little hooks on it that you attached to the battery core battery when not on when it's just standing as a battery provides amazing, amazing source of constant power. So for example, during the invasion of afghanistan there was probably about thirty twenty thirty journalist living in a compound right on the front lines middle of nowhere no electricity was just pretty dismal but we needed to power r r our phones are cameras or computers and someone so we had the school of car batteries and we had the school of generators and the school of generators was able to power much faster and would laugh at the school of batteries I was part of the school of batteries and what I did was I bought a bunch of car batteries and we attached these little inverters and we would charge every day we would take the battery out of the car and charge up the battery again you know? So we'd have a constant set on dh charge and the guys that were using the um the generator's had like a surge protector and they thought that they would be fine because the generator would go up and down. About two days before the fall of of kabul the generator blew through the search protector and blew up two journalists a friend of mine the photographer and the writer blew up their computer and blew up there there cameras and there's no iphone at this point right so they had nothing they couldn't work they had to leave and they left and two days later the story was over this afghanistan was liberated or defeated tom were defeated because something basic about not paying attention uh to power they made a really bad choice so they were able to power up a little bit faster but they were taking a risk so it's important to understand like your power needs and every story will be different I understand that it might be times when you know you want to try and kick everything two double a batteries some can and I can have the ability to power the power their cameras with double a batteries and y nder others don't you using this you're going to be limited so understand like how are you going to power yourself in understanding that obviously before you leave is going to be incredibly helpful so that way you're able to take photographs uh like this from the soft in the fall of afghanistan then phones phones are obviously also really important communication is essential I think that um it's important when you're working here uh it's important obviously to have a good data plan understand how your phone works or you transmitting pictures with your phone and so on but especially when you're traveling overseas it's incredibly important tohave I think two phones you wanna have your home base phone where all your clients know how to call you right so it's not like turning off like I'm going off to do a story for three weeks I'm going to turn off my home phone and then nobody confined me you want to be reachable by your clients at the same time you want to have an unlocked phone that you can put a local sim card in so one you can make calls wherever you are and more importantly so people can reach you like I've seen journalist sale I'm on assignment. It doesn't matter care about long distance calls. I'm not going to get a local phone and then sit around wondering why their fixer or their contacts or anybody else that that they want to hear from is not calling them, and they're not calling them because who's going to call from from from paris too neat to new york when the guys like across the street, they want to call another french number so it's like you want to make it easy for people to be able to contact you, you want to make it easy for you been able to contact people that communication can be in carnaby incredibly important, especially if things are moving quickly if your fixture needs to get in touch with you and now you want to have, I should add to the app saying you want to have whatsapp because that's the most common texting not, I'm message not anything else. So know what people are using and adapt to what the people in your environment or using, not what you're used to using. So communication is so incredibly important, so often things fall apart without that, and if you're not talking to people and you don't know what's going on around you. And it can be something simple is like, oh yeah, we're going to be on top of a mountain it's sunrise and you don't get that message and that was your subject on your photograph that's a big problem uh satellite phones are becoming less and less necessary, especially in places like africa because wifi is becoming so so popular but still like find out like when you're getting somewhere if you're responsible for getting images out while you're there you need to understand and start off with lonely planet or their wifi cafe's is our wifi in the hotel you talked to the hotel if there's not and there's no and maybe there's no um lt lt service on the phone or whatever and you need to get pictures out they might need to get a sat phone there's a there's a system called the r began its about the size of this piece of paper a little bit thicker and it gives you you can rent it or buy it and it will give you broadband speed and they charge you by the megabytes about ten dollars a megabyte meaning you can send three to four pictures for about ten dollars can be incredibly incredibly useful but also is important to make sure that all this stuff works works so for instance, another sad story on my part I got I got one of these begins and they got it probably about two weeks before the earthquake in haiti as they go all test it later I put it aside earthquake happens I grab it, zoom off tahiti land in haiti and then have to try and figure out how to set this up. I set it up and spent all day working covering you very difficult situation and then spending hours and hours at night trying to get the stupid sat phone toe work and after four days of unbelievable frustration wasted time and also mentally being put off focus the guy the guy I was talking to said, oh yeah, it doesn't really work with your system's software, so I'm sorry about that this is kind of but like it was my fault because there had I just tested it when I got it in new york I would have known we were unable to adapt, so make sure like in all cases like you, you've got here that works and that you're taking but they're going to be times like in egypt like in haiti like if your wind up doing news and you have to get your work out there, you might be required to have our began and smaller phones called a pariah, which is basically doesn't not really great for transmitting, but is it work all around the world gives you a phone that works off off seven um so first aid kits talked about before about how important if you take risk or any of these other courses they will set you up with we're the first aid kit one that you should be carrying on your person you just throw it in your camera bag and then if you're traveling with a bigger group you got to get a bigger one for the car great example ben louie and I were in haiti a little while ago super quiet nothing going on with both doing future stories walking around taking pictures with our iphones and we're on the street car comes flying around actually then comes flying around the corner and I jump out of the way bent us and jump fast enough he gets hit by the van not once but twice hits the ground his his knee is all cut up well luckily we're close to the hotel I drag him over to the hotel and I say to bed where's your first aid kit let me let me start working on you I was like I didn't I didn't bring the first aid kit there's no war here why would I bring forsake it? So I reluctantly ben's a friend I then went got my first aid kit bandaged him up and we managed teo get him some further treatment at a doctors without borders clinic and get him out of the country but it's sort of like you just never know what's gonna happen especially with cars and you should have especially when you're traveling you should have a kid. You should have all this stuff which is this list is on the resource is guide and there should be more you should have this stuff that's there to protect you and again depending on where you're traveling, I travel with also with clean needles because I just want to make sure that in case I need a transfusion or anything else, that if I'm in a place that's that's questionable in terms of their medical uh uh hygiene that at least I know I cure my needles and I know that I'm going to be ok so you can ask your doctor for for a prescription for needles and explain why and they should they should give it to you and also be a letter to use if you wanted to hand check it on a plane so one of things we also do obviously photographers were traveling and constantly different types of extreme weather, extreme type of situations, extreme travel so often unity supply yourself with different things for different situations. Anybody want to guess what the most important thing is on this on these drawings? I would like to say you have scars the second most important thing for shoes shoes are incredibly important you have to really, really be conscious of of what you're wearing on your feet so you really really make sure what you have to pay to really pay attention to that the scarf is also super important because it could be used in multiple ways and you can tell this is me and my scarves and and scarves also could wind up having their own facebook page so this my scars facebook page which I did not start but luckily it did decide to befriend me a couple of years ago but it's important to understand that all of these different tools and and how and how you're going to use them that's really can be really, really, really important so dressing is is really important you have to really pay attention like where you're going, what you're doing and dress respectfully for the places that you're going through is la mc world obviously is super important but also it's important just generally is that the way you present yourself women obviously need to be super careful that they're not being this red in any way their cultural differences all these scenes can affect the way that you work also wearing super bright clothes and coming moving around especially if you're working in news areas not a super smart idea but you also wanted to sort of blend in and draw less attention to yourself so be really careful about the way that you dress food and water super important obviously you want to stay healthy and there are a lot of instances where especially in africa and asia were often and released where people a sign of hospitality often I invite you in tow have a meal with the family and sometimes you're like while that looks a little bit sketchy, I would be really careful like you have to find that line between not being rude as still protecting yourself because if you're there for six months and you get sick for a couple days that's fine, but if you're only somewhere for a few days you can't afford to get sick food poisoning you know he's not going to kill you most likely, but it is going to really hinder your ability to work, so you have to kind of find a way to work around that and you also have to find a way to make sure that you always at least have food that you can eat that can keep you going. So whatever kind of works for you, whether it's power bars or nuts or this or that make sure that your self contained so a few years ago I was doing a story about malaria travelling on the zambezi river here we are traveling down the river not doing very well we hit a waterfall where in angola in the middle of the jungle and we're stuck in the trip is over and we're like totally screwed and here here's us being totally screwed and by the second day we're like there's no way to get out of here we call on our sat phone to be rescued by the angle and air force not super encouraging, waiting for the angle and air force to come and get you, but we were towards the end of the trip and the food supplies ran out, so okay, I take out my my bag of power bars, I start eating them and everybody's looking at me like where's our power bars and I'm like where's your food, like nobody else had brought their own emergency supply of food, so I shared I shared obviously share the food and we eventually got rescued by the angle on air force, but the point is it's like you should always be even just traveling if you're driving from point a to point b like you don't know where the next restaurant is so on you want to have water you want have food and you want to have enough for everybody in in the in the vehicle uh same idea with gear you want to double up on toiletries and you want to have anything obviously that you need medically and you need for your daily survival with you on your body and probably have it twice don't expect what you get that you can go to duane reade, a rite aid, or walgreens, or whatever in america that you could do that. Even in a place like paris, things are very different. In other places. You don't have to rely on finding your doctor, having them call in a prescription or whatever. This has happened so many times, be prepared and be prepared for a double extension of whatever you've planned, that all the sort of emergencies, super cool stuff that can save you ziploc bags, three drivers, sharpies, etcetera. Whatever stuff works. So you have a small kid, of course, if you are going to on ly, check bags, don't bring a screwdriver because it's not going to make its way through. Make sure whatever you have in your checked bag, you can, but this stuff, all this can be super helpful, and probably glue should be on that list as as well.

Class Description

Capturing a story on film is a complex process. It demands an understanding of the issue at hand as well as the ability to condense, package, and pitch the story to a distributor. Successful photojournalists make a job of nailing down the details before a shoot and being prepared for anything.

In Your Photojournalism Survival Kit, Ron Haviv brings two decades of experience in building a photojournalism career on carefully laid groundwork. 

In this course, you’ll learn:

  • How to identify a captivating story and organize a plan for shooting it 
  • How to create a budget and a pitch letter
  • How to plan for any eventuality during the shoot, and cope with setbacks when they strike
Ron Haviv draws on his long career for anecdotes and suggestions for aspiring photographers. He’ll teach you that your assignment starts before you leave your house; planning, packing and preparing for even the best-laid plans to go awry is essential. You’ll learn tricks for assessing your preparedness, safety, and support while on assignment in the field.

Your Photojournalism Survival Kit is crucial for beginners, and for current photojournalists who may need to brush up on their checklists. Learn from Ron Haviv’s early-career mistakes, and lay the foundations of your own successful, impactful enterprise in visual storytelling.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Budget and Invoice Template

Medical Kit Supplies

Resource Guide

Resources Mentioned In Class

Workshop Print Sale

Pitch Letter Template

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

Related Classes


KAren OLlis

Thank you Ron and Creative Live for the thoughtful and expansive course. Even for a pro, the information was often enlightening and definitely inspirational. The best way to learn is from a seasoned professional who knows how to teach in an organized manner. Appreciate the support materials as well. Will be out shooting stories no doubt! All the best, Karen Ollis, Karen Ollis Photo

Connie Kennedy

Ron Haviv presents his generous insights and experience in a wonderfully paced and very clearly delivered manner. Combine him with the Creative Live platform and you have a magical educational experience. I'm so grateful to attend this course. I wish I had heard a presentation like this years back; it would have spared me some mistakes. If you're sitting on the fence buy this course. Tap into his wisdom. Enjoy.


I've been a following Ron Haviv for years. Love his expressions in delivering explanations. It's amazing to see and hear from the photographer behind the photos. Well structured course. Having Kenna's facilitation makes this workshop so worth watching. Thank you creativeLive for this great sensory experience!