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.
3. Expect a change in climate
Will you and your camera equipment perform at the same level in your new location? Being here in Denver, we’re use to being a mile high above sea level, and very dry conditions. Heading to a tropical location means heading down to sea level, and experiencing up to 100 percent humidity. Prepare for that change ahead of time, and bring clothes and tools to help you stay efficient throughout the day.
4. Look for ways to incorporate the destination location into the photographs
What traditions are native to the destination you will be shooting in? What landmarks or special areas exist around where the shoot is taking place? This location was chosen for a reason. Use it to make your images more memorable.
5. Know the laws
Different countries have different laws when it comes to photography. Do your research early so you can be prepared for every situation. Do they require special permits? Do they have rules against tripods or heavy lighting equipment? In many countries, multiple packs of equipment can also make you stand out, and put you more at risk for theft. In those cases, it may be best to stick with one small bad, two camera bodies, and your favorite lenses.
6. Know the language
It can be difficult navigating a new country with different laws and policies. It can be almost impossible to do the same when you can’t speak the language. Depending on your shoot, it may be worth the extra price to hire an assistant that speaks the language. If they are from the local area, they can provide you with assistance on everything from choosing intimate settings, to navigating the legal requirements.
7. Get the proper insurance
Before you step outside of your local business area, find out if you are fully covered with your business and health insurance. Ending up in the hospital from a fall or car accident can add up quickly in a different country. Likewise if you are directing a shoot and someone falls and is injured, you could be liable for the expenses. Talk with your insurance companies before you leave, and get the assurance to make your whole trip easier.