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21 Behind-the-Scenes Photos from an Un-Belizeable Photo Assignment

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If you’ve been following along socially you’re in the know that I’m on a commercial assignment in Belize that targets the life and wonder of the world’s water, lakes, oceans, etc. [...You might remember this video of the SuperPod of dolphins from the South African leg of this campaign with long time friend Mike Horn...]

In short, I can’t say enough good stuff about Belize. It’s seemingly impossible to take a bad photo here…even without the high-falutin’ tools that we’ve been using –helicopters, boats, diving rigs, etc)… If you just had your phone, you could slay it here. Anyway – wanted to share some quick behind-the-scenes shots that let y’all in on a little of what we’ve had going. [#HumbleBrag?!]

Lots of love for Ambergis Caye + Placencia. Costs in Belize are reasonable – especially given the epic-ness of the visuals. Special props to the great resort down south… Robert’s Grove. En route back to the USA now – but keep your eyes peeled for a few definitive RAW and TECH videos that we made while down there, based on your requests for more o’ that stuff. Hit me with questions about Belize or our trip – happy to help inspire / enable as many people as possible to learn about this fresh spot.

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Robert's Grove, Placencia

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Lazy Caye - Erik and I filming a TECH about our GoPro set up - stay tuned!

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Fishing out of Placencia with Elroy

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The Blue Hole from above

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My good friend Danny and his wife Susan have been cruising the Caribbean with their two children for 15 months. Their 50-foot catamaran the S/V Blue Kai was a great model too. Almost as good as Danny in this photo. www.svbluekai.com

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Walking on water to get the shot at Roberts Grove, Placencia

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Jerard doing some underwater work for the shoot - not a bad office

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Jerard and Clifford got after this little Hobie Cat. In fact, they flipped it about 5 minutes after this shot. #WorkingHardPlayingHard

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When working in tropical climes I try to keep my crew hydrated - with margaritas.

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MoVI Camera Stabilizer from FreeFly Cinema Looking Good To Revolutionize Camera Stabilization

Last week we checked out the Supraflux Video Camera Stabilizer, a small stabilizer that has been lighting up kick-starter, already making over double their goal with almost a month left. Today we’ve got the other side of the spectrum with the MoVi from my very good friends Tabb and Hugh at Firefly Systems. I’ve used these guy for several years now as go-to help for aerial RC choppers and other fun toys… but in the past week they’ve dropped a much more hi-tech entry that’s already built a lot of worthy buzz as the next big thing in camera stabilization. I got the early tip, but was swamped so Tabb & co went way down stream (j/k Vincent ;) to work w my dear friend Vincent and take the MōVI for a test drive. Vince gave it his seal of approval, especially praising its short learning curve + ability to quickly make both simple and complex shots. My favorite part is the separation of the camera carrying from the camera pointing function. Don’t know what I mean? Check out their video… one guy handles the camera, the other guy steers the tilt / pan (ie what the camera sees). Genius! The video below will give you a solid idea of just how smooth the MōVI is, and might make you look at handhelds with a new respect.

Using a 3 axis gyroscope to stabilize the camera, the MōVI system is portable and lightweight (3.5 pounds), making Scorsese-like shots a breeze. You can also manipulate the camera motion remotely by a second operator via joystick. Unfortunately the only real negative so far might be a deal-breaker; it’s currently priced at $15,000. Rumors have a $7,500 option coming soon, which is a little more manageable. The good news is, with technology like this breaking, you can bet a more consumer friendly option is on its way. Even more below for more of the MōVI in action.

Win $15,000 From Burn Magazine. Emerging Photographers Apply By May 5th.

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Photo: Matt Lutton/ Pristina, Kosovo


Need a little more change in the pocket (or a lot)? If you’re doing top-notch work, you may be in luck because Burn magazine is giving away $15,000 in grants for three photographers. Called the “Emerging Photographer Fund”, the grants will be awarded in three allotments; one photographer will win $10,000, and two others will get $2,500 a piece.

Initiated by legendary photographer David Alan Harvey in 2008 and awarded by the Magnum Foundation, the site describes the grants as “Designed to support continuation of a photographer’s personal project…[whose]…body of work may be of either a journalistic mission or purely personal artistic imperative. We just want to support committed authored photography of any ilk.”

A maximum of 25 photos may be submitted for a non-refundable submission fee of $25.

Entry deadline is May 5, 2013 at 6pm (EST), and winners will be announced in June 2013. Get on it.

Check out the exact rules and contest description HERE
Or to apply directly for the EPF grant for 2013, click HERE.

Photographing with Remote Helis & World Class Athletes in Crazy Locations — Behind-the-Scenes in Aspen

Using the Force


Remember last year’s Aspen campaign? Well, we’re back at it again this year with even better conditions. We’ve been up before dawn and burning the midnight oil. Out the door right now – but stay tuned via social channels to follow along. In the meantime here’s a gallery of behind-the-scenes photos. Enjoy.

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Photo: Scott Rinckenberger

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Photo: Andrew Price

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Photo: Andrew Price

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Photo: Andrew Price

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Chris Davenport shows Scotty his backyard

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Photo: Andrew Price

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Photo: Andrew Price

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Photo: Scott Rinckenberger

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Photo: Jerard

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Photo: Jerard

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Safety first: Davenport digs a pit to check snow stability

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Chris Davenport - Professional at crushing it for the camera.

Holy Sheep – LED Artwork of Sheep Herding [Suspect]

In a virtual world full of fans, circles, followers and friends, today we celebrate the world’s greatest follower: the sheep. Consider: A clever group of Welsh hill farmers dress their flock of unsuspecting sheep up in LED lights and — with the help of some seriously talented/obedient/well-trained border collies — create moving art on a hillside and film it from a distance. Check it out:

Matt Smith, the co-founder of the ad agency The Viral Factory who shot the video for Samsung, interviewed for a Telegraph article not long after the video blew up. He admits to some post-production trickery, but those are real sheep, real dogs and the real Welsh national sheep herding champion Gerry Lewis guiding actual sheep around into position. [The Mona Lisa bit was their wink-wink, nudge-nudge moment, apparently.]

Kudos to Smith.

For a closer look at a master sheep herder at work, check out this video of Brendan Ferris of the Kells Sheep Centre.

How To Prepare for Your Commercial Photo or Video Shoot — 10 Things Clients Expect In Your Production Notebook


One golden rule to a great photoshoot is to start with great production. A smooth production puts everyone and everything in the right place for the shoot to succeed long before the shutter button gets pressed. That said, I have some of the best producers in the biz on staff. And here, Megan outlines one essential to every commercial production – the production notebook. Use this info to help make your next production run smooth like butta’… Take it away, Meg.
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Hello peeps, Megan here, producer for Chase. We’re gearing up for a several big international jobs, so as I’m booking travel and working with a local producer on locations + permits, I’m also putting the Production Book together. This is critical information that all professional production houses put together and it’s something clients and agencies expect from you on any large-scale shoot. Think of it as a one-stop shop for all pertinent details. It can be distributed to all parties via email prior to the shoot, and a printed copy should accompany you to set. Not only does it help make you look super professional, it just might be the most practical thing you carry (aside from your camera, of course).

You don’t need special software; start with a Word or Pages doc. Just keep an eye on formatting. It should be clean, easy to read and align with your brand. Once it’s complete, save a template you can always use to generate this doc for your next shoot, then output a PDF for the production crew and send it out!

Here’s a basic list of things to include (as applicable):

1. cover sheet: a nicely laid out page that identifies the client, the production company and/or the photographer
_client + photographer logos
_name of job

2. contact info: detail the names, titles, phone numbers + email address of all associated parties
_client
_agency
_crew

3. shot list / creative: detailed shot list and/or photo references
_wardrobe/prop specs
_art direction

4. travel itineraries: who’s going where and when?
_flights
_confirmation numbers

5. accommodations: where is everyone staying? 
_address
_contact
_check in/out dates
_directions to/from airport
_meeting room location + details

6. location info: every shoot happens somewhere, whether it’s at your studio or the Mojave desert
_address
_contact info (i.e. site rep)
_map
_directions
_photos
_certificates of insurance for each
_releases
_permit info
_copy of permits
_contact info for city or governing agency (i.e. FilmLA)

7. talent: actors, models, friends, guy you scouted on the subway
_contact info
_agency info
_call times
_locations
_photos
_releases

8. vendors: a list of any and all 3rd party resources involved in the shoot
_visa/Carnet confirmations
_caterers
_shipping
_equipment rentals
_ground transpo

9. shooting schedule: what does each day look like?
_call times
_wrap times
_travel to/from locations
_HMU + wardrobe prep
_lunch + breaks
_shot breakdown

10. production calendar: all pertinent deadlines should be identified here
_pre-production hot items (i.e. location + talent selection due dates, permit approval process, etc.)
_shooting window
_post-production requirements (i.e. number of rounds to client, amount of time allotted for feedback, proofing, due date of final images, etc.)

There you have it! Start with these categories as a template, and add or subtract as needed. May seem kind of tedious as you’re doing it, but I promise you, it’s so worth it. Until next time! Stay tuned for some behind-the-scenes goodness from our shoots, trips, and travels! -Megan the Producer

SPIKE – the Robotic Phantom Camera – Shoots Better Than You

Across the pond from me in Germany there is some stunning work getting kicked out of a little boutique firm called The Marmalade that you should know about.

I’m drawn to more than just the final result…I love HOW they’re acheiving it too… Behind the scenes thinking and such below. Have a great Monday.

CASTING CALL — Need LARGE Family for Commercial Photo Shoot Next Week. Good $$$

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Hi friends! Quick favor to ask here – would LOVE your help if you’re interested or know a family who meets the requirements below. I’ve turned to you guys before for stuff like this and it’s been fun and good for us all. As such, this could be a really fun experience and provide some really solid money for the holidays… In short, we’re looking for a large 20 – 30 person, multi-generational family for a commercial shoot NEXT WEEK in/around NYC. Please read below for details and follow ALL instructions if you’re able to help.

I am looking for a REAL family to be photographed for an upcoming commercial photoshoot – approximately 20-30 people on December 2nd (3rd in a huge pinch) in the NYC area. This will be a large group portrait with everyone looking at the camera used for advertising purposes. The pay is commensurate with experience, and is in the neighborhood of $20,000 for the family.

TO QUALIFY YOUR FAMILY MUST:
1) Include at least 3 generations of a REAL family – uncles, aunts, cousins, grandparents, siblings, kids, even great-grandparents.
2) Have at least 20-30+ people
3) Live in the NYC / tristate area (no transportation paid)
4) Have guaranteed availability Sunday Dec. 2 (preferred) or Monday Dec 3 (in a pinch)
5) Lastly, a preference… ‘the more people you have –ie the higher end of the range we mentioned — the more likely you will be chosen’

okay then if you’re still with me….

IF YOU DO QUALIFY and are SERIOUSLY INTERESTED, please send an email to [production@chasejarvis.com] with the following…
1) a simple note of confirmation in writing that you meet the above criteria
2) photos of the nuclear family, and as many family members or extended family members as possible.
3) a list of your relatives names, their relationship to you, their age and their contact information.
4) If possible we would also love to see a brief video of your family. This can be taken with your phone. People can say hi to the camera, can talk about the last family gathering, tell funny stories or just interact with others. We’re looking to see some personality and the relationships between family members.

If you send in an email with all of the above information as requested YOU WILL GET AN EMAIL BACK from us saying we’ve received your submission. We will then forward your info to our NYC casting agent who will take it from there. You will be contacted by us or our agent if we need anything from you. No follow up emails means that we found our match, so being speedy helps!

***serious queries only please. If you aren’t selected, it was nothing personal. Our preferences are for the above list, size, quality and speed of response

***Side note and a plus. We are currently scouting for houses to use as a location but if you have a home that could hold a family gathering of this size please include photos for consideration. If we choose your home then you will be paid an additional location fee.

Huge thanks for the short notice help. I hope you or someone you know can help us and get paid well for it. I am very grateful for any effort!

EXTRAS Needed for Photoshoot — Monday Nov 5th in Seattle

Hi friends! Quick favor to ask here – would LOVE your help if you’re interested. I need 10 extras to be in the background of an photoshoot TOMORROW – that’s MONDAY NOVEMBER 5TH in SEATTLE, from 1-5pm.

The criteria… You must be:

_ a nice person who enjoys visiting with others
_ 100% guaranteed available in Seattle on MONDAY NOV 5 (that’s tomorrow!) from 1-5pm perhaps a little longer
_ 21 years old or older with valid ID
_ a US citizen
_ able to get yourself to a particular location/address in Seattle on time
_ able to dress the “look”. casual. extras are for background at a cafe/coffee shop, so whatever you’d wear to hang, chill, study, work, meet friends at a coffee shop. you will get no further instructions on this.
_ willing and able to sign a model release
_ mellow. sadly there will be no time for Q&A / education / hangout time… I will be working, so won’t be able to answer any questions about what I’m doing, why, etc. You’ll be working too, on a specific task – being an extra and following instructions…like working on a laptop or drinking coffee or reading. Hard stuff like that.
_ also, we will not be able to provide any shots for you, for your portfolio, etc. you’ll actually probably be out of focus in the background. If you want to be selected, you’ll be doing it for the fun, the money, or the experience, etc.

The pay is $100. If you meet the above criteria and want to be considered, here’s the process that you must follow to the letter…

1. Send an email now to [production at chasejarvis.com] with the following info:
2. Include a simple note of confirmation in writing that you meet all the above criteria
3. Include ad headshot or ANY photo of you like you look now (not in 1997…). Do NOT send some crazy fancy shot of yourself. Just send a snap of yourself – iphone, laptop, facebook profile shot, etc. Simple. We’re especially NOT looking for supermodels. We want everyday peeps.
4. IF YOU ARE SELECTED (primarily based on response time ) YOU WILL GET AN EMAIL BACK TONIGHT by 8pm PST with confirmation and further instructions. No return email means we are all set.
5. If you aren’t selected, don’t sweat it. This is meant to be fun – we’ll try again another time.

Huge thanks for the short notice help. I am very grateful!

[and one last important thing...only if you meet 100% of the above criteria should you proceed, there are no exceptions, sorry. As in ZERO exceptions. If you fib to our producers, you'll be wasting everyone's time and I'll tell your mom. And my mom for that matter...]

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

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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.

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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.

Deliver with Style — 6 Tips for Delivering Files to Clients

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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.)

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

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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.

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

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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
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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

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