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Become An Email Ninja — 6 Tips For Cutting Through the Noise

chasejarvis_how to becomeAnEmailNinja

Hey everybody, Kate here from Chase’s Production crew. Just like many of you, I use email as a daily communication tool in my job. A flood of incoming emails to address and a long list of outgoing messagesis usually on my daily list of “to dos”. Wrangling this beast of inbound and outbound communication is a necessary evil. As such, I have been working hard at becoming an Email Ninja.

I especially love this article from Tim Ferriss’ blog: 10 Steps to Become an Email Ninja. The art of being an Ninja is a great model — highly skilled, incredibly efficient, supremely effective and elusive as needed. These tips are excellent for helping manage the fire hose of INBOUND messages headed for your inbox. But it is not enough to stop there. Developing your ninja skills for the outbound messages – throwing “ninja stars” [emails] as I call them – will help you be more efficient in your work day. No matter what your profession.

As everyone becomes more and more savvy with regards to managing their inboxes and better at saying no, you must find ways to cut through the noise and get your message across and get them to say yes. It is harder and harder to cut through the chatter, so be disciplined. Simplify if you wish to be heard. Fight fire with fire…

6 Tips for Throwing Ninja Stars with Accuracy:

_use descriptive subject lines. Help the reader quickly identify the purpose of your email. And think ahead, think like a ninja: make it easy to search for your email later.

_what’s the purpose? If it is not totally clear from your subject line, make sure that you make your point and make it fast. Really busy people often decide if an email is important/relevant from the preview window.

_keep it short + concise: People do not have time to sort through a long email. It likely won’t happen. Respect their time and they will have more respect for you. Check out these tips. While this is presented as a way to save time as you triage your inbox, it is also a smart technique to challenge yourself to be concise.

_do you need action? Don’t bury your request. Make it clear what the reader of the email needs to do.

_help them help you. Other ninjas process quickly, so don’t make them work too hard to get you what you need. Do you need a meeting? Propose 3 possible times so they can just pick one and be done. Do you need a form signed? Attach the form. Are you sharing information? Format the email so that it is easy to read and organized so they can find and reference the information they need.

_be nice, polite and grateful. This is just because you should. And you’ll be surprised how often this gets missed. It really goes a long, long way to spend the extra ten seconds to include some short + sweet social graces. Ps + Qs!

Remember – the email ninja is: highly skilled, incredibly efficient, supremely effective and elusive as needed. Oh, and polite.

____________
As a bonus, and since we all love ninjas, here’s a video of a photo shoot we did a few years back featuring…you guessed it: Email Ninjas.

Mind-Blowing Photos of the Solar System

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ChaseJarvis_Photos of Outerspace_Michael Benson

NASA / JPL-Caltech / Michael Benson / Kinetikon Pictures (c) All Rights Reserved

Felix Baumgartner’s skydive from space, inspired me to look at more mind-blowing photography from outside our atmosphere. The photography and work of Michael Benson caught my attention. He has created a spectacular view of the solar system. Truly never before seen photos. To make the images on display in his upcoming book, Planetfall, Benson first curated thousands of photographs from NASA and the European Space Agency. The majority of his selects came from unmanned spacecraft hurtling through space. Some are from rovers on Mars or crewmembers aboard the International Space Station.He then processed the raw files and stitched them together into jaw-dropping shots from the cosmos. Click through the image tabs above to see what I’m talking about.

Photos from unmanned probes are normally black-and-white, shot with a variety of filters. To add color, Benson typically overlays images originally filtered in red, green and blue to create a composite spectrum that replicates what the human eye might see. The process can take weeks, but once it’s completed Benson is left with something unique: an image that is as accurate to the view from a passing spacecraft as most of us will ever come.

Deliver with Style — 6 Tips for Delivering Files to Clients

chasejarvis_digitaldelivery

Hi folks, Megan here again, Producer at CJ Inc. We recently delivered a couple of big jobs to clients, and it got me thinking about file management, tracking + job wrap-up. As the producer, I’m responsible for creating + managing the post production schedule, sending files to clients for approval, then delivering final images once all files have been been given the thumbs up. I work closely with Chase and the digital artist to ensure that we’re delivering exactly what the client has asked for, which means cross-checking each image with both the creative brief AND the contract to ensure that our bases are covered.

Here are some things to keep in mind prior to arriving on set.

_File size:
What are the images going to be used for? A billboard or in-store signage? A web banner or e-brochure? Usage is usually defined at the contract stage, so it should be well documented and understood prior to shoot day. This will perhaps inform which camera you opt to shoot with and image resolution.

_File format:
TIFFs? Layered PSDs? JPGs? RAWs?

_Orientation:
Is shot #4 a horizontal or vertical? Be sure to have the creative brief handy if there’s no Art Director on set to advise.

_Naming convention + folder structure:
Has your client provided you with a specific naming convention or preferred folder structure? This is especially common on retail and catalog jobs, where each shot usually coincides with a garment SKU.
[If not, you may want to decide upon an agreeable solution before you start shooting.]

_Delivery:
How many files are you providing? Are you able to upload to an FTP fairly quickly? Or will you need to send a hard drive to your client?
[If you are sending a hard drive, be sure to label it with your name + contact info so it’s easily identifiable.]

_Description of files + thumbnails:
Along with the hard drive, we like to include a memo (or cover letter, of sorts) outlining the project name, shoot description, deliverables + usage terms. All of the pertinent info relating to the files is concisely captured in 1 document for the client’s reference.

I also include a page (or more, depending on how many images are being delivered) of thumbnails, so the client knows what he or she is getting at a glance. A copy of each of these documents gets saved in the project folder on the server so if there’s ever any question about what was delivered and when, it’s easily trackable. File delivery is usually the last step of a job, with the exception of final billing, and can leave a lasting impression on your client. You really want to nail it.

Feel like I’ve missed something important? Have anything to add? Feel free to leave comments below.

+++++++++
(Disclaimer: I’m no Digital Asset Manager, so if you want additional info on any of the items above, check out the Complete Workflow and Backup for Photo + Video here.)

Pitch Your Creative Vision [chasejarvisLIVE rewatch]

Last week I hosted author and pitch guru Oren Klaff on chasejarvisLIVE. Wow. I knew it was going to be good – but we had no idea that there would be such a huge reaction to Oren and the information he shared from his book Pitch Anything. The community has been talking about it all week. So here it is again for your viewing and eternal viewing pleasure. Oren is not only the purveyor of more than $500 Million (yeah- read that twice) in successful pitches in a variety of industries – he also happens to be hilarious. Watch the episode to hear some of his epic quotes. He and his book – and a simple framework of how to make YOU and YOUR WORK become “the prize” — has helped me perhaps more than any other book on “selling” AND I think he can help you too.

Believing in your work is not an F-in tactic. -Oren Klaff

If you’ve been around my blog or this community for long, you’ll know that my focus is photography and directing, but most of all my guiding mantra is about living a more creative life – whether a photographer, filmmaker, designer, chef, painter, dancer, whatever. While we LOVE to focus on tapping into our “creative side” – take it from me, if you ever want to have a chance at earning a REAL LIVING with your creativity (or, hell, even making even a dime with your work) then being able to PITCH and SELL your work is essential. Don’t make me say that twice. The age-old idea of the starving artist is a sad, boring, and tired one. Better learn to talk about, position, pitch and sell what you make. This episode gives a road map to getting started.

Any of this resonate with you?

_ ever had anxiety about how to present your work to a client?
_are you confident with your skill as an artist – but discouraged by your ability to get paying work?
_have you ever seen a major campaign/exhibition and thought, “I can do better photos/film/copy than that?” …and wondered why you’re not getting the job?
_do you know that the demand for creatives going UP and is one of the fastest growing segments?

I already know your answer to those questions above. Check out the mission critical re-watch above for all the goods.

Special thanks to our cjLIVE show sponsors: HP, Broncolor, Manfrotto and B&H. We genuinely love what they do, make and sell.

Please show them you care and follow them on Twitter at: @hpprint, @HasselbladBron, @manfrotto_tweet, @BHPhotoVideo

Aspen Photo Shoot: chasejarvis RAW Behind-the-Scenes Video

Real heli’s and remote octo-copters. Flying cameras and world-class athletes. Lots of hard work and a great campaign for one legendary resort.

Earlier this year in March you may have tuned into my live-updates while shooting the 2012-2013 campaign for Aspen/Snowmass resort. Amidst our 20 hour days we were able to kick out behind the scenes photos, some daily blog posts and a few other things highlighting our work (thanks to Aspen for being incredibly cool, most clients don’t let you do this…) But I also promised a behind-the-scenes vid… So here ’tis. 6 months after the actual shoot, but before anybody else gets to see it – we’re dropping it here today…timed with the launch of the campaign – and sharing several of the final ads before they land in magazines / billboards worldwide.

The focus for this work was to re-create and share the real Aspen experience, so we lived it. Shooting on location in the mountains comes with the usual crazy challenges. Cold weather, crazy wind, even colder hands and feet, scorching sun, altitude issues, running around above 12,000 feet… and in my case, a badly sunburned nose. While some of my BTS videos show that part of it, we wanted the focus of this video to be more on the ways we captured the photos, the people, the athletes, and the action. We skied, hiked, choppered, ate, drank and danced our way through this job – a helluva a lot work, but even more fun. Hope you enjoy.

Some nuts and bolts from the shoot not obvious from the BTS vid, but that you might be interested to know:
// I shot Nikon D3s + Canon 5d (remote from Octocopter) for stills and Nikon D7000 + Canon 7D for the Behind-the-scenes
// We strapped GoPros to my head, my leg, to an octo-copter, to myriad body parts on pro-rippers
// We used 2 real helicopters and 1 remote octo-copter
// Among the many shredders we worked with is legendary Chris Davenport. Literally one of the best pro skiers of all time. Chris has climbed and skied all 50+ 14,000 peaks in Colorado in one year and recently skied off Everest. Follow him here @steepskiing. Total badass. Consummate pro.
// We shot the entire campaign and video in 6 days
// We had a 6-person photo crew (2 producers, myself + 3 film/photo crew) + 25 others (agency, client, talent)
// We hiked + heli’ed to the top of Highland Bowl in pre-dawn hours and watched the sunrise above 12,000 feet.
// No animals were harmed in the production of this video – just a lot of brain cells

ChaseJarvis_aspen_2012 ad campaign

ChaseJarvis_aspen_2012 ad campaign2

And I can’t tell you enough how much I LOVE the music track behind this video. HUGE thanks to one of my favorite bands, The Glitch Mob for working with us to incorporate this song. In between playing amazing live music, getting brought onboard soundtracks for movies like TRON and Spiderman, they managed to squeeze us in. The video wouldn’t be the same without this music. Follow them here @TheGlitchMob and buy their albums here on iTunes.

Dispelling a Photography Myth [5 Travel-Free Ways to Find the Photo-Worthy]

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Not long ago I stumbled upon the work of GMB Akash, a photographer from Bangladesh who has accrued a respectable trophy case of international awards for his work. He’s won a handful of “firsts” for his people — first Bangladeshi to win the Young Reporters Award from the Scope Photo Festival in Paris and get selected for the World Press Photo Joop Swart Masterclass in the Netherlands, for example. Click through the image tabs above to see some of his finer work.

What struck me about Akash’s work (in addition to their quality) was that so much of it was shot in his own backyard.

It’s easy for photographers to buy into the fallacy that more exotic = better photos. Hell, I’m guilty of it at times. Roll back the calendar a couple weeks in this very blog and you’ll find me in South Africa shooting great white sharks , dreaming of helicopter safaris across the Sahara and our Executive Producer just wrapped up her 4-part series on travel tips earlier this week. There is something to be said for the mystery and wonder that comes from traveling for the first time to a distant land. It excites one’s imagination and opens your eyes to the photographic possibilities teeming in that locale.

But Akash reminds us that the photogenic exists everywhere, including the town or city you live in. His shots of life across Bangladesh drip with meaning and texture. The dark alleys, the sleeping pilgrims riding the tops of trains, the child laborers — all this and he never had to deal with airport security or hotel reservations.

So stop shopping Expedia for the cheapest flight to Nepal. Pick up your camera and walk outside. Your next great gallery may lie just around the corner of your front stoop.

Not sure where to begin? Here are 5 ways you can find inspiration without needing a passport.

1) Open your eyes. Too simple? Try too often. As in, too often we become blind to the surroundings we live in. Get off your phone, pick your head up and take it all in.

2) Take the road less traveled. We are creatures of habit, particularly when it comes to our commutes. But we photographers thrive on discovery. So next time you hop in the car to head to the grocery store, pick a path you’ve never taken before.

3) Be an expert on your town. Anne Michaels once said, “If you know one landscape well, you will look at all other landscapes differently.” Explore, explore, explore. And dig into the local library for some town history. At the very least you’ll probably come across some fascinating old photos of the town As It Once Was. Let those inspire you.

4) Climb down a few rungs. Akash’s subjects are those our society might try to sweep under the rug: the homeless, the poor, the huddled masses yearning to be free. Find those people in your town. Their portraits are stained with stories of conflict and hardship. Don’t forget to give something back to them, too.

5) Travel. What? Hypocrisy! But wait, it doesn’t have to be halfway across the globe. Get out on a little excursion (or a longer one), and then come back home. See things differently? You should. A writer once said, “Maybe you had to leave in order to miss a place; maybe you had to travel to figure out how beloved your starting point was.”

Selling Your Creative Vision [September 26th]

chasejarvisLIVE_pitchanything
UPDATE:the LIVE broadcast is TODAY. Check out the post below and be sure to tune into http://www.chasejarvis.com/live tomorrow — 11am SEA time (2pm NYC -19:00 London) — and enjoy the show. See you on air in a few…

If you’ve been around my blog or this community for long, you’ll know that my focus is photography and directing, but most of all my guiding mantra is about living a more creative life – whether a photographer, filmmaker, designer, chef, painter, dancer, whatever. While we LOVE to focus on tapping into our “creative side” – take it from me, if you ever want to have a chance at earning a REAL LIVING with your creativity (or, hell, even making even a dime with your work) then being able to PITCH and SELL your work is essential. Don’t make me say that twice. The age-old idea of the starving artist is a sad, boring, and tired one. Better learn to talk about, position, pitch and sell what you make.

As such, you’ll want to tune into my upcoming episode of chasejarvisLIVE where my guest will be Oren Klaff, author of Pitch Anything and purveyor of more than $500 Million (yeah- read that twice) in successful pitches in a variety of industries. He and his book – and a simple framework of how to make YOU and YOUR WORK become “the prize” — has helped me perhaps more than any other book on “selling” AND I think he can help you too. Put these details on your calendar and watch the video below:

WHO: You, Me, Oren Klaff, author of Pitch Anything + a worldwide gathering of creative people
WHAT: Interview, discussion + a worldwide Q&A
WHEN: Wednesday, September 26th, 11:00am Seattle time (2pm NYC time or 19:00 London)
WHERE: Tune into www.chasejarvis.com/live. It’s free — anyone can watch and we’ll be taking YOUR questions via Twitter, hashtag #cjLIVE

[Add to ical here, or google calendar here]

Chase Jarvis Live from Oren Klaff on Vimeo.

Any of this resonate with you?

_ ever had anxiety about how to present your work to a client?
_are you confident with your skill as an artist – but discouraged by your ability to get paying work?
_have you ever seen a major campaign/exhibition and thought, “I can do better photos/film/copy than that?” …and wondered why you’re not getting the job?
_do you know that the demand for creatives going UP and is one of the fastest growing segments?

I already know your answer to those questions above. So don’t miss this mission-critical episode of chasejarvis LIVE on September 26th at 11am Seattle time.

HELP PROMOTE THE SHOW, SCORE STUFF.
1. In order to pimp the show and help bring together another ginormous worldwide online audience, Oren will be giving away 2 signed copies of his book “Pitch Anything.” To enter to score one of these books, send out a creative and interesting tweet that contains the URL (or short URL) to THIS post + @pitchanything + hashtag #cjLIVE starting NOW and ending at the beginning of the show on Wednesday, September 26th. Enter as many times (tweets) as you want — tweet and retweet — we’ll be watching for the most creative shoutouts.

2. And…this is HUGE. If you want to score a private consultation with Oren tune in during the show and we’ll tell you how to enter – gotta watch to nail this one…

LASTLY, JOIN US.
If you want to be part of the live, in-studio audience, send an email to production@chasejarvis.com with “Pitch Anything” in the subject line. Winners will receive a confirmation email with attendance instructions. Bonus points for tweeting about the show and sending folks here.

Special thanks to our cjLIVE show sponsors: HP, Broncolor, Manfrotto and B&H. We genuinely love what they do, make and sell.

Please follow them on Twitter at: @hpprint, @HasselbladBron, @manfrotto_tweet, @BHPhotoVideo

Contest Rules

Traveling for Photo and Video Shoots — 8 Mission Critical Tips for being on the Road [Part 4 of 4]

Chasejarvis_Ballet_travel tips

So you’re going on the road to shoot photos/videos for fun or for a client? Kate here again, Executive Producer over here at Team Chase. This is part 4 of 4: You’ve made it! So now what? Let’s dance!

Part 4: 8 Mission Critical Tips for Being on the Road

1. Kick Jet Lag’s Ass. If you are traveling a long way, start sleeping at the right times for your destination during your flight. If you can land late afternoon or evening, that will help you stay up until bedtime. If you land early, getting some fresh air and exercise during the day really helps. There are over the counter, naturopathic remedies that help with the adjustment or your doctor may prescribe something.

2 $$$$$$. Make sure to have some cash with you in the LOCAL currency and know how, where and when to get more. Know the exchange rate. Keep in mind that your credit card company may charge a transaction fee for each and every international charge – there are cards that do not charge international fees that may be worth it for your trip. Plan ahead if you will need to pay contractors.

3.Be smart + be aware. Tourists and people with gear can be targets for crime. Travel low profile.  Avoid opening up all of your gear in public. Take official taxis. Don’t carry too much cash on you. Don’t leave your bags unattended. 

4. Contacts. Keep phone numbers of local contacts and important numbers with you.

5. Keep your receipts and make more notes than usual. When you return, your credit card statement will list your charges in your home currency and may be in a different language. This can be very difficult to reconcile with your statement later – trust me!!! There are websites that allow you to compute historical exchange rates that can help with this process as well. On our last trip, I used this site: www.oanda.com/currency/converter

6. Valuables. Lock essentials in the security boxes in your hotel.

7. Be a good ambassador. Remember that when you are traveling, you are a representative of your country and a guest in the country where you are visitor. Be kind and respectful, hire locally, buy a souvenir from a local artist, give back whenever you have the opportunity and make attempts to speak the local language (even a few words like please and thank you go a long way).

8. HAVE FUN! Sometimes travel can be tiring and even stressful, but what an amazing opportunity… Don’t forget to enjoy yourself.

Baie dankie and happy trails, Kate
___
Check out the last three posts in this series:
10 Mission Critical Tips for Booking Photo and Video Travel – getting there
12 Mission Critical Tips for Pre-Production – tips BEFORE traveling
12 Tips for Travel Packing – tips on what to take

Writing Makes Photographers More Creative — 5 Easy Tips

051026_ChaseJarvis_einstein_writing_vlrgwidec

Getting personal and a little scientific here…

Once our basic three needs are met (and often even when they’re not), there exists within the human species a hard-wired desire to pursue happiness. For me, happiness has always been inextricably linked with creativity, the two enjoying a direct relationship. The happier I am, the more creative I am. Or more metaphysically speaking, the happier I am, the more open I am to inspiration and creativity. As if joy, laughter and contentedness can fine-tune the antennae that allow inspiration to be channeled from the Creative Source.

There are myriad studies and books that link journaling to happiness. Turns out journaling is a powerful tool that not only unsticks the blocked Creator but also increases happiness. Turns out it’s not just for junior high girls.

Like Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way” which pours on and on about wonders of journaling, I make regular “artist’s dates” (read the book or infer as you will), and keep “morning pages,” where I write, first thing, every day. The practice, Cameron insists, is not just for the writer. Any “artist” — be you painter, screenwriter or photographer — will benefit from getting the “juices flowing.” I can attest to this. When I’m on it, I’m ON it creatively.

[aside, I use Evernote for my journaling - allows me to pull my journals up anywhere, computer, ipad, iphone...]

But the other benefit of regular journaling, it turns out, is an elevated mood. University of Hertfordshire psychology professor Richard Wiseman wrote the research-backed “59 Seconds: Think a Little, Change a Lot” which boils down peer-reviewed scientific studies on happiness into an entertaining, simple reduction. Ultimately, journaling distils into five main types, the conjunction of which can have a profound impact on one’s happiness:

1) Expressive Writing. Put your feelings down on paper and watch your self-esteem grow and your smile widen.

2) Gratitude Journaling. There’s been plenty of this bandied around the web recently, and for good reason. Spend 15 minutes listing that which you are grateful for.

3) Describe your Perfect Self. Recall a time in your life when everything just…clicked. That amazing experience. A high point in your happiness history.

4) Affectionate Writing. Now this one is win-win: Write to a person you love or care about and tell them how much they mean to you and why.

5) Progressive Review. Make a record of all that is going well in your life. Note the progress you’ve made towards goals you have set. Don’t dwell on the obstacles — focus on the breakthroughs.

Sure, it’s becoming a challenge to fit into each day all the stuff we should do. Between the daily exercise, yoga, meditation and to-do listing it’s hard enough to find time for the 9-5 stuff that MUST get done. But the rewards of happiness — as opposed to the age-old mentaility of the tortured, brooding artis — are too substantial — and immediate — to be ignored.

If only blogging counted…but it doesn’t…. Skip that b/s email to a buddy and write for 10 minutes everyday next week.

Time-lapse Photography on the Quick & Dirty [tech]

_How many seconds of time-lapse video can be produced in two hours?
_How do you set up your camera for time lapse?
_What kind of gear do you need?
_What kind of results can you get with a $200 camera vs a $5,000 camera?

I sat at the top of Signal Hill in Capetown, South Africa a few weeks ago to shoot some timelapse for a video project I’m working on. In the process, I thought we’d bust out a video to demonstrate the possibilities. I explain in the video above. We shot a Nikon D3s, a Nikon D7000 and two GoProHero2′s to create four different angles. Enjoy!

Spilling the Beans on Twit Photo with Leo Laporte + Catherine Hall

In a jet-lagged haze working abroad last week one of those reminder alarms hit my computer desktop while I was buried in some email that said, “Twit Photo 1pm”. After a moment of confusion, I realized it was a leftover reminder from a year ago when I was interviewed by Leo Laporte and Catherine Hall as a part of their popular web photography show, Twit Photo. I meant to share it way back when, but I’m reminded today that I never did… So here’s the show.

Topics include:
-why starting is everything
-why quitting is important
-gear
-lighting, what NOT to light
-chasejarvis LIVE
_”making it” or not
-commercial photography vs. the world
-the “un-moment”
-directing/shooting video

…and other relevant stuff. #respect

—-

chase jarvis leo laport twit photo

Perspective: Dive, Climb, Crawl, Dig and Fly Your Way to a Better Photos + Video

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Jerard here from Chase’s crew. One of the things I’ve noticed working on the CJ Team over the years is the serious lengths Chase will go to for a specific perspective. Almost nothing is off-limits if it enables him to be in position to get the shot. You’ve heard it before, “get on the ground,” or “get above the crowd.” Essentially, look for the angle that others don’t. But sometimes it might take more than simply kneeling down or getting up on a chair. Sometimes, on Chase’s team, we the need to get more creative. Click through some of the tabs above to see the creative perspectives I caught of Erik and Chase shooting from this past week.

On the shoot we just had in Capetown, Chase shot from the following perspectives:
_a rubber dingy (in a questionably big swell)
_a speed boat
_the deck of 114-foot sailboat
_60-feet off the deck tied to the mast
_a helicopter
_4x4 transport in the African bush
_ underwater… in a shark-cage.

But you dont always have to be in a helicopter or on a 100-foot sailboat. The fact is, it could be as simple a borrowed rubber dingy or motorboat (thanks to our friend Carel Stander in Cape Town for our chase boat angle on this job) that gives you the desired perspective. If you’re willing to get dirty, climb up high, get in the water, the mud, the sand or snow…the resulting shots are bound to be more unique.

Traveling for Photo + Video Shoots [10 Mission Critical Tips for Booking Photo + Video Travel]

Photo: Erik Hecht

So you’re going on the road to shoot photos/videos for fun or for a client? Kate here again, Executive Producer over here at Team Chase. I’ve been thinking a lot about shooting (for work or play) on the road. Whether you are traveling 100 miles or 10,000 miles, whether on a budget or with a budget, here are some tips I’ve learned over the past 10 years producing photo shoots away from home. This is part 1 of a 4 part series on Traveling for Photo and Video Shoots: Booking your Travel.

10 tips for booking your photo/video travel.
Everything can seem important when you decide that you are headed out on a trip, but nothing is more important than making sure you can actually get to where you are need to go. These tips will get you headed in the right direction:

1. Confirm that all travel docs are valid. Whether you’re traveling abroad or just to the next state over, certain docs are likely required… ID, driver’s license, passport, carnet (passport for gear) or other required documents. Make sure yours are up to snuff.

2. Research your destination. You can dive deep later, but initially you need to find out the essentials: how to get there, requirements for entry, vaccinations, and special considerations. A great source of info for traveling abroad is the US Department of State Travel Site.

3. Decide who will travel and how will you get there. If you’re a one-man or one-woman show, the ‘who’ is easy. But, if you have a small team traveling with you, make the call on who will travel, when, and if these people are available during your prospective travel window. For the how – weighing the pros and cons with respect to cost and efficiency will help you determine the best way to get to your location.

4. Apply for visas. If a visa is required, START THIS ASAP!

  • Gather information. how long will it take, where do you apply, what is required?
  • Gather the assets needed. the application, passport photos, letter of invitation if needed, travelers’ information.
  • Apply. To apply on your own, work directly with the embassy or consulate. If budget allows, you can explore two options for support:

-expeditors such as www.cibt.com can take care of the process for you.
-local production company where you will be traveling can help you gather documents if they are needed. (I’ll discuss more in part 2 of this series)

5. Get vaccinations and medications. If either of these are required, take care of that early. Some times there can be a wait period before they are effective. The CDC has helpful information: http://1.usa.gov/mg0vvE

6. Gather travelers’ information. For all travelers, you will likely need the names of each passenger, exactly as it appear on their travel ID (driver’s license, passports), ID number, date of birth, gender and mileage account information.

7. Book flights/trains/cars. If you are traveling by either plane or train, you can save tons by booking early, BUT make sure you know the penalties for changes or cancellations before booking. You’ll need to balance your savings with possible fees.

8. Book accommodations. You can often save money by booking early and paying a large deposit at the time of booking… this goes for small hotels, vacation rental sites, and longer term housing. Just be careful because these places usually come with hefty cancellation and change fees. Whenever I feel like the dates are likely to shift, I book through large hotel chains that have very flexible cancellation/changes policies. Some — like the Hiltons, Hyatts, Marriotts, Westins– will allow changes without penalty as late as the day of your scheduled arrival.

9. Book ground transportation. Even if you are traveling by plane or train, you will need to think about getting to and from the airport or train station. A ride from a friend, taxi, subway, booked car… all work, just make sure you allow enough space for the gear you’ll need to bring.

10. Research your Insurance Coverage. Think about what you will be doing and ask questions if you have new elements. For both your business and medical insurance, work with your provider to find out what is NOT covered. There can be lots of exclusions, such as, limited liability coverage for international travel. You can up your coverage for the duration of the trip or buy additional insurance. www.imglobal.com provides a ton of additional medical coverage for a great price.

Once you’ve checked these items off your to do list, you’ll know WHERE you will be, WHEN you will be there and WHO will be with you… the basic skeleton. That’s when I always feel like I can relax a tiny bit. But stay tuned for the next post of this series, I’ll have some production specific tips (ie – for shooting and making the arrangements to get your shots) at your destination. Until then, safe travels! Kate

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