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Ismail Sirdah discusses what every photographer should know when on an overseas event

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Photo Credit: Tomasz Zajda

B&H Photo reported about the trend of the destination wedding. People have realized that getting married overseas can often be cheaper than getting married in the U.S. Also, one can just stay and have their honeymoon after the ceremony. This trend presents unique opportunities for skilled travel photographers, such as Ismail Sirdah. There are, though, things any photographer needs to know before they embark on an overseas photo shoot.

Know Some Great, Cheaper Locations

B&H Photo suggests that one, less expensive destination is having the event at a recently purchased and renovated European chateau. Ismail Sirdah wrote a book on some of the best, lesser known overseas event locations for a great photo shoot.

Know the Weather and the Political Situation

We are in a very unique time in our world’s history. There are conflicts and political unrest in countries that we would not have predicted there would be only a decade or so ago, such as in France and Hong Kong. You cannot assume anything about the weather, nor can you about political events. One good source of information about the latter is the U.S. State Department’s Travel Advisories. Also, Business Insider created a great article about the 29 countries on the “Reconsider” or “Do Not Travel” State Department Lists as of June of 2019.

It is important to have travel protection insurance that will get you home in the event of political upheaval or an accident. Also, you need to be sure your equipment is insured as well. The last thing you need is to get stuck overseas.

Have Alternate Plans in Place

Since you are somewhere that is not your local area, you need to have a back-up plan if things go awry with your destination for the shoot. Also, as you would locally, arrive early and begin getting meter readings on your light and an awareness of the space.

Know the Food and Water Situation

Fstoppers suggests that photographers should find out ahead about the conditions on the ground where you are working. Will you have trouble finding potable water? Will transportation be an issue? Is the food safe and plentiful? Are some sources of food problematic? You need to have all of these questions answered before you leave.

Communicate With the Principles Via Skype

When you are doing a destination shoot, you likely will not have access to the principles ahead of the shoot in person. Instead, B&H suggests you have them fill out a questionnaire in advance and then spend some time with them on Skype to get to know them and get everyone on the same page.

Find a Niche

Travel photography can become just a cliché if you just pick the same locations as everyone else and take the very same type of shots. Instead, pick lesser-known, but equally impressive locations, such as suggested by Sirdah. Lesser-known destinations can be the source of unique and creative shots that can set your photography apart from others.

Seek Opportunities to Double or Triple Dip

You may be on an overseas event for a client, but you are in a location that is likely surrounded with other opportunities for your business. Fstoppers suggests the following ideas for making more income while abroad:

  • Host a photo walk or workshop that helps amateurs find great locations and learn the craft
  • License other images you created on your adventure through an agency like Stocksy
  • Sell your prints and/or create a coffee table book of your trip
  • Create a blog entry, a PDF and/or gallery of your images from that location to induce other clients to book an overseas event

Have a Few Adventure-Shoot Locations Chosen

B&H stated that a new trend in destination photography is to take another day or two to do some shooting at really dramatic places, such as on mountaintops.

Destination photography is taking off, especially for wedding events. Photographers must be more flexible and do quite a bit more homework to pull them off safely.


Augusta Health Augusta Free Press Kris McMackin CPA
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