7 Tips for Shooting Autumn Foliage

Summer’s gone and every photographer on Earth is looking forward to the amazing colors that autumn brings along with it. Summers are always busy; you’ve got weddings, holidays, trips and all sorts of events that involve subject and lots of light and heat. We’ve recently talked about how to take precaution to prevent your subject’s exhaustion, but what about the photographer’s exhaustion? At the beginning of this autumn, it’s time you took a little break and enjoyed nature; take your camera out and go on walks and photograph the lovely autumn foliage.

Autumn isn’t just about foliage and lovely colors, though, as it can prove to be quite a difficult season for a photographer: you’ve got less light, fog, shadows that will prove challenging, even to the more seasoned photographer. That’s why we decided to provide you with a few tips of shooting autumn foliage. Read on and take notes!

Do We Even Have to Mention that Location is Everything?

trees Tips for Shooting Autumn Foliage

If you want to get awesome photographs without much effort, then you need to go to where the magic happens in the falls. Places such as New England, Minnesota, Wisconsin, the Colorado Rockies and even New Hampshire are amazing in the fall. If you can’t afford to travel, or you simply do not have the time to do it, you can ask Google some question and it will deliver.

Exposure?

Our advice is to use Matrix metering for pretty much everything, but do make sure to check the histogram to see if highlights are being clipped. Another great tip regarding exposure is to push the ISO to keep the depth of field while maintaining a high shutter speed, in case there are too many clouds in the sky. The thing is that when you’re photographing landscapes you don’t want to open the aperture, because it’s going to take away from the depth of field.

Macro Works Great in the AutumnMilkweed Tips for Shooting Autumn Foliage

Autumn close-ups don’t necessarily need to be of foliage; think about how wonderful a close-up of a milkweed seed pod will look on film. It won’t look like an explosion of color, but it will still scream fall. Use the colors of the fall as an excuse to hit the woods and find great things that need photographing.

Water and Autumn Go Together Perfectly

Water simply becomes magical in the autumn, so focus on creeks, ponds, lakes, rivers or whatever puddle of water you’ve got around you and great results are to be expected. When choosing a fall location, take water in consideration, because it transforms any good location into a great one in the autumn. Try some long exposure when photographing and you’ll get texture that will make your photographs uniquely beautiful.

Long Lenses Capture Autumn’s Beauty

If you want to focus solely on autumn foliage photography, then our tip is to use a long-focus lens. Try an 85mm long lens and see if you are happy with the results. There would be no reason why you wouldn’t be.

Take Advantage of the Autumn Fog

fog Tips for Shooting Autumn Foliage

Fog and mist can be a photographer’s worst nightmare, but in the right circumstances (in the autumn, mostly), fog can make you achieve some spectacular results. Fog will soften colors and add mood and atmosphere, but it will take you a few shots until you get the hang of it.

Start Exploring

Fall is perfect for driving around and exploring the areas that have great potential. Grab a map and start searching for spots where you think the most color will be. Obviously, the more trees an area has, the more colors you will find there. You can even leave your camera behind the first time you do your exploring, so that you can simply scour the land for great spots and enjoy yourself. If you have the time, do your exploring in the afternoon, when the sun is softer.

Did you enjoy our tips for shooting autumn foliage? Would you like to share any more tips with us and our readers? Drop us a line in the comment section below. 

10 Things You Should Be Doing If You Want To Be A Destination Photographer

10 Things You Should Be Doing If You Want To Be A Destination Photographer

1. Use Destination Photography in your name

Skip the cutesy names or the bland and generic. If you know you want to be a destination photographer, say so in your name. It tells people exactly what you do, and it makes it memorable when you are networking online.

2. Describe yourself as a Destination Photographer

How do you talk about yourself when you post online or you network in your local community? Do you say “I’m a wedding photographer” or “I photography families”? Nope. If you truly want to be a destination photographer, say so. “I’m exclusively a destination photographer for some of the most spectacular weddings on the planet.” Yep, that’ll get their attention.

3. Use Destination Photographer in your keyword descriptions

A recent search for “destination photography” on Google says it all. These people want to rank high for “destination photographer” and they do – these are the top four.

Use Destination Photographer in your keyword descriptions

By using keywords built around destination photography, you get results.

4. Do what Destination Photographers do

A recent post on Huffington Post Weddings article says it all:

One of our favorite trends in destination weddings? When couples opt for the post-wedding “Trash the Dress” photo session.

Do what Destination Photographers do

If other destination photographers are doing something well, you can learn from their experiences and do it better. In this case, Huffington Post needed 12 trash the dress photos for its story – strive to make the next story.

5. Be where the people are

When a bride and groom to be decide they are holding their wedding away from their local community, they don’t research things in their local community. Which means if you are advertising in your local wedding guide – you’ll never meet a destination bride.

They go to the resources that help them plan a destination event. Destination Weddings anyone?

6. Know what Destination Photography means to you

Yes, some people may search for destination photography. Yet many, many more know exactly where they are going and start searching from there. If you want to shoot in Mexico, you better include Mexico in the way you talk. Pick your locations and start talking about them. That’s how you get known in those areas.

7. Find Destination vendors

Photographers aren’t the only vendors that like to travel. Find a group that caters to the destination business and network with like-minded vendors and business owners. Try Destination Wedding and Honeymoon Specialists Association or the Association of Destination Wedding Professionals to get you started.

8. PR yourself

Every day newspapers, magazines and television shows have time/space to fill. They are always looking for fun and unique things to share with their audience. If you have a unique slant to your clientele and the way you do business, you’ll be at the forefront of gaining the attention of these sources. All you have to do is let them know what you are doing.

9. It’s not all about weddings

Lets say you really love a ski town. And your goal is to be in that location two months out of the year. Why not get involved with the local Chamber, or link up with the visitors center or in-town magazine? There are many ways you can get your name out to people that want to travel there in the future – you just have to look for the opportunities. Check out Steamboat Springs magazine for some ideas. What family wouldn’t love a unique portrait in a location that will always bring them happy memories?

10. Work with other vendors

The more you get to know people within an industry, the more opportunity will come up. If you love working corporate events, a hotel may be the perfect location to build a relationship with. If weddings are your thing, an event coordinator that travels the globe may be your best referral source. Instead of advertising exclusively in things that reach a potential customer (ie. a bride), don’t forget to spend just as much time reaching out to potential power partners. They can share unlimited opportunities over the coming years IF you find a way to connect and stay in their line of thinking from this point forward.

Remember, Destination Photographer doesn’t mean unlimited locations (though the opportunity is always there). Instead, Destination Photographer means you’re expanding your business potential outside of your local community. You can choose the locations. You can choose how and where to focus. The only thing left is connecting up with potential clients, which will be easy when you start thinking like a destination photographer.

How To Be A Destination Wedding Photographer In 2013

Think people are skimping on their wedding plans just because the economy has been down the past few years? Think again.

How To Be A Destination Wedding Photographer In 2013Statistics show wedding budgets are still at an all time high, with the average wedding costing around $27,000.

You might be saying “not in my backyard”. And that very well may be true. Because statistics also show that almost one in four couples today don’t get married in their own backyard … they plan a destination wedding.

So if you are trying to be a wedding photographer right there in your home town, and you aren’t having much luck, maybe you need to change the way you approach your clients … and your business.

Destination weddings are on the rise because of a variety of things:

  • People are busy, planning a destination wedding is a way to escape more than the daily grind.
  • Families come from all over the world, so it may as well be a fun vacation for everyone.
  • It’s a great way to keep the guest list in check, and invite only the people closest to you.
  • It’s a way to spend money on what’s truly important – spending time with your loved ones instead of feeding 200+ people.

 

Every bride will come up with her own reasons for planning something far from home. Yet in every case its probably to have a more perfect event with those closest to her.

And that’s where a destination wedding photographer can do well.

A bride and groom don’t plan a destination for the sole reason of keeping the budget down; instead they plan it to spend money on the people that matter most to them. Which means those closest to them will all be in one location – one GREAT location – looking their best and being their happiest. Which means it’s a perfect opportunity for the best portraits possible. Portraits they want and are willing to buy.

Good news for wedding photographers. But how do you go about building your business around destination wedding photography?

Think like a destination wedding photographer.

Yes, it is slightly different than thinking like a wedding photographer.

A wedding photographer thinks about the photographs, the weddings, the packages, and the final products. They write about weddings on their sites and post images from the latest weddings. They create packages for people in their local area.

Then as an after thought, they throw up a one line phrase at the bottom of the service page:

Available for destination weddings.

And they sit back and wait for it to happen.

Very rarely will it happen if this is your strategy.

Instead, a destination wedding photographer thinks about weddings AND where she is willing to photograph.

The concept of being a destination wedding photographer fills people with awe – “oh, what a great life, traveling around the world photographing the best parties in the world”. And the daydreams begin.

But that isn’t the reality of it all. Instead, being a great destination wedding photographer means you are also great at marketing. Its very difficult marketing to everyone around the world. Its hard to gather enough attention to make it work. Which is why it rarely does.

Instead, to be a successful destination wedding photographer, they know the only way to succeed is to focus in on where you want to go.

Maybe you live in the Midwest and are tired of the long winters. You yearn for the opportunity to spend several months of the year in a tropical location. By choosing one location and putting your focus there, you can grow your wedding business by  networking and marketing with the wedding venues popular within your chosen area.

Statistics show that the top US wedding location for destination weddings include:

  • Florida – 18%
  • California – 13%
  • Nevada – 9%
  • North Carolina – 5%
  • South Carolina 4%

Statistics show that the top International locations for destination weddings include:

  • Caribbean – 39%
  • Mexico – 24%
  • Hawaii – 20%
  • Central/South America – 7%
  • Europe – 6%

Out of all those locations, where would you like to be?

Maybe you’ve always desired to go back to your roots. You would love to have a second home in the Tuscany hillside of Italy. Why not promote yourself back here in the states as the premier American wedding photographer for people wanting a destination wedding in Italy? They could rely on you for much more than great photography (although that’s what they’ll get). They can ask questions about marriage licenses, get tips on where to stay, ideas for intimate venues that they would never hear of – and have the advantage of working with someone who understands the language and lives and works out of the US too.

I use this as an example, but it can work in any way. If you live in Spain, why not become the premier Spanish destination wedding photographer who knows and understands the best locations in southern United States?

There is something comfortable about “using someone from home”. You have a distinct advantage because you can relate to your customers on a different level.

And it gives you a marketing advantage over all other photographers who are either residents of the location you are traveling to, or simply state “available for destinations” on their websites.

7 Tips To Keep In Mind As A Destination Photographer

The idea of traveling to exotic locations to shoot weddings, portraits or commercial work is what most photographers dream of. Where else can you get paid to see some amazing sites around the world?

But like everything, not only does it have its “ups”, it also has a few “downs” to consider.

Whether you’ve been traveling with your photography for years, or are just putting together your very first promotional campaign, keep these tips in mind.

1. Choose your locations carefully

While traveling around the globe is a relatively safe thing to do, keep in mind that some places are easier and safer to travel to than others. It’s hard to imagine a more beautiful place for a wedding than the beaches of the Caribbean. Yet choosing a place like Haiti or Dominican Republic can be more taxing than a place like St Croix. As you are making your plans, do your research first. Search the Internet for current stories, check with the State Department, and look at tourism sites for your chosen location. In just a few minutes you should be able to gain a pretty good feel for the area.

2. Research the area

Once your area has been selected, spend some time learning about the location and the time of year you’ll be visiting. Hawaii is beautiful – unless you get there during rainy season and you experience inches of rain every day. If you know the weather patterns ahead of time, you can quickly plan backups for the just in case. [Read more...]

Destination Portrait Photography Will Help Fill Your Calendar

What does it mean to be a destination portrait photographer?

For many photographers, the phrase “destination photographer” conjures up images of getaways to exotic locations. If you’re landlocked in the middle of a snowstorm, a warm sunny beach sounds amazing.

But being a destination photographer doesn’t mean you as a photographer have to travel to a new location to photograph. It can also mean you stay where you are – a highly traveled to destination spot – and you photograph the tourists coming to you.

Living here in Colorado, there’s plenty of opportunity. With some of the best ski resorts in the world, 10 national parks, 13 national forests, 42 state parks, and resorts ranging from camping grounds to four star hotels, we have a little of everything. And with close to 25 million making Colorado their destination every year, there is a lot of room for opportunity.

Destination Portrait Photography

So what is your area like? How many tourists visit your location every year? Even if you live in a small town, chances are you have a destination location somewhere around you – giving you opportunity to photograph and find a whole new niche.
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One Great Idea – Meet Karma Hill

At the beginning of the year, I ran across a website that made me say WOW. I’ve been a destination wedding photographer since the mid 90’s. And I’ve written and promoted ideas to help you understand destination a little bit more, and how you can apply it to your business AND make a healthy living at it to.

That’s why I loved it when I found someone who is actually doing it.

Meet Karma Hill

Karma runs Good Karma Photography Inc in Maui, Hawaii, and fills her days with portraits and weddings. But she doesn’t promote herself as a photographer to local clientele – look at her website and you’ll see she focuses on the tourists, and markets her business as a vacation photographer.

Good Karma Photography

So if you are spending thousands of dollars to leave your snowy home in January, and head to Hawaii to take in some sun and fun, you probably have spending money in your pocket. Why not get a family portrait on the beach?

The more I researched, the more excited I became. Not only is Karma having such success with her portrait business, she started a sister site to cover the full spectrum of portrait clients. A client can come to her for a memorable beach vacation portrait and spend whatever is in their budget.

Not only is she having a ton of success with her photography business, she’s also started off into a new direction – helping photographers understand how to become destination photographers too. Her newest release is an ebook, Destination Photography Business: How To Tap In To The Multi-Billion Dollar Travel Industry.

Every state in the U.S. has millions of visitors annually, and has billions of dollars in spending. And this isn’t unique to the U.S. People love to travel; that isn’t going to change. So why not combine what you love – photography – with what people love to do – travel – and create a business that easily brings in Six Figures per year.

I’ve been chatting with Karma quite a bit since I found her site, and asked her a few questions.
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The Real Reason More Photographers Can’t Break Into The Destination Market

The forecast calls for two feet of snow. You’ve been stuck inside because of snow and cold for weeks with no end in sight. Instead of snow, wouldn’t sand and beaches be a refreshing change right about now?

Many photographers feel that way, and happily include one little sentence on their websites:

“Work in and around [insert your hometown here] or will travel to your destination.”

Then they sit back and wait for the phone to ring, making the offer of a lifetime to travel to the Caribbean, Hawaii, Fiji, Greece, – okay, you get the picture.

The trouble is that phone call never comes for most. It never comes because the last thing a bride ever goes on the hunt for is for a photographer that “will travel to your destination”.

destination weddings

Instead, if a bride is getting married in Antigua, she searches for a “wedding photographer in Antigua”.  If she’s getting married in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, she searches for a “wedding photographer in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.”

And so the two never meet.

Creating The Plan
Let’s say you are a wedding photographer in Minneapolis, Minnesota. In order to photograph weddings, you probably do a variety of things to advertise your business:

Destination Photographer – Does It Have To Be Weddings?

“I love the idea of traveling with my photography. I’ve done a few weddings, but I’m not excited about making them my specialty. Do I have to do weddings to be a destination photographer?”

destination photographerThe great thing about being in business for yourself is you create the rules. Anything is possible as long as you build to make it possible.

What is your idea of photography? How can you turn it into a business that allows you to travel?

Maybe you enjoy shooting in warm places in the heart of the winter. Why not become a fashion or product photographer? Catalogs are developed months in advance. They need someone to be shooting catalog spreads in places that show off their newest product line. So a company in Wisconsin may need swimsuit and spring fashion shoots on the beach in the Caribbean in January or February.

[Read more...]

What Does A Destination Photographer Really Mean?

So you want to be a destination photographer?

You add the phrase to your website, “weddings anywhere in the U.S.” or “will travel anywhere for weddings and events”.

You sit back and wait for someone to contact you. And the years roll by. Why? Why hasn’t anyone selected you for traveling to their event outside of your home location?

The common misnomer with the phrase “destination photographer” is that by simply adding destination to your website and your brochure, you instantly become a destination photographer. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Let’s say your a photographer from Denver, Colorado, USA. All over your site you talk about weddings and portraits taken in the Denver area. On your contact us page you list your address – in Denver. Your keywords have Denver, Colorado, USA.

Guess what? You’ve just been pegged as a Denver, Colorado, USA photographer.

Being a destination photographer doesn’t mean you will promote your photography for everywhere on planet earth. It means you’re willing to travel. But where to?

We photographed in the Denver area. We also started specializing in weddings in Arizona (Phoenix, Scottsdale, Sedona). So guess what we put on our website? Information about our weddings in those locations!

And when we photographed in San Francisco, yep, we created a whole bunch of information on that too.

You can’t attract clients to your destination photography  unless you know where you want to go.

Choose your destinations, and start turning your dreams into reality.

Traveling as a Destination Photographer

As a destination wedding photographer, you have a lot to think about. If you’re photographing a wedding 5 miles from your home, you can always have a family member bring you something if you forget it. But what about if you’re 2000 miles from home?

For many years, we traveled extensively with our wedding photography business. The first was the most difficult – what do you bring? We gradually had it down to a science, and created our own checklist that we covered every time we packed.

First, you need to have a great carryon photography suitcase that will keep all of your camera equipment safe. We always used the Porter Case hardside, which kept everything safe while you’re moving around. What’s nice about Porter Cases is they are specially made for photographers, and they section off their suitcase to keep everything safe. If you have a piece in every section, you can see with just a quick glance if anything is missing.

In today’s world, you also need a laptop and plenty of flash memory cards. With any luck, at least two of you will be traveling together, allowing you to bring two suitcases on board.

When it comes to tripods, monopods, light stands, umbrellas, etc, we would always pack those in a airportspecial hard sided luggage, and tell the airlines what you are traveling with. It’s a good idea to bring your contract with you to show where you’re going and what you’re doing. We also traveled with brochures/business cards to hand over to prove we were in business – something that’s more important now with travel security the way it is.

If you’re traveling to a large city, you may look for rental places where you can rent some of your equipment – your tripods, monopods, maybe even a lens or two. We rented quite frequently, and always had great luck. If you’re paying for extra luggage, it may be more cost effective to rent on your destination end.

And finally, learn about your flight patterns. We did a wedding in Lake Placid, New York one year that required us to fly on a very small plane into the Adirondack Regional Airport. The plane held 14 passengers – and no overhead luggage. Thank goodness they worked with us, and allowed us to place our camera bag in the on flight area reserved for flight attendants. Sometimes just talking with people and telling them your situation will get you where you need to go – with camera bag in hand!