5 Tips. Shooting Commercial Photography Abroad

Shooting Commercial Photography Abroad. 5 Tips to Save the Day

5 Tips for Shooting Commercial Photography Abroad

Shooting Commercial Photography Abroad or Video Production internationally abroad is a great feeling. You’ve secured the assignment with your client and you can’t wait to let everybody know that know that your reputation is deemed worthy of  working over-seas.  The whole process of ‘Paid’ International Photography is something that many photographers never get to feel, but if you are about to Shoot Abroad for the first time, then the 5 Must Know Tips below, will help you to plan your assignment and prevent some of the pitfalls that come with Shooting Commercial Photography Abroad.

When it all goes wrong!

5 Tips for Shooting Commercial Photography Abroad

Why have we put this blog together? In September 2019, we undertook an assignment in Switzerland for a client which had all the haul marks of what can go wrong when Shooting Commercial Photography Abroad, before you even reach your destination. As a professional Photography who was fortunate enough to win Travel Photographer of the Year in 2013, we are experienced with Shooting Photography Abroad.  Nonetheless, unforeseen problems happen. To find out more about how we worked around our shoot to deliver for our client, please click the link HERE.

Number 1. Insurance

5 Tips for Shooting Commercial Photography Abroad

As a professional photographer, we’re sure (hope) that you will already have Insurance in place. After all, this is essential for any business. Equipment Insurance, Professional Indemnity, Public Liability and Employers Liability are all necessary to protect your business and equipment both at home and when Shooting Commercial Photography Abroad. The chances of losses and problems occurring are multiplied considerable when working abroad, so taking out the right policy with a reputable company is invaluable. You may be operating without insurance as a business, but commercial clients are likely to be reluctant to engage a professional photographer that doesn’t have insurance in place. Many policies will cover you for a limited timespan working overseas. Don’t undervalue your kit because if you do value it under it’s worth and it’s stolen, you will be very heavily out of pocket. Three well known Camera Insurance Companies that offer great products are;

Adukki – Specialist insurance that including equipment cover and liability insurances

Towergate – As of 2019, my own Insurance company of choice.  Towergate offer an All-risks cover for professional photographers and videographers. Towergate’s Camerasure insurance products are pitched primarily at freelance photographers and videographers, as well as those performing similar roles within multimedia institutions (If you’re travelling abroad for a shoot and can’t stash all your camera gear in your hand luggage, you’ll be pleased to know it also covers damage to kit stored in the aircraft hold. Cover also extends to potential legal liabilities to customers, employees and the general public, as one would expect of a pro policy.

PhotoGuard – Many policies will cover you for up to a certain amount of time overseas. If you’re exceeding this, make sure to let them know or else if something happens to your equipment, it’s bye-bye bank balance as you fork out for a new one.

Number 2. Checklists

5 Tips for Shooting Commercial Photography Abroad

 

This is a simple and invaluable Tip for Shooting Commercial Photography Abroad. How many time have you turned up at a job and realised that you’ve forgotten the really important cable that is specifically designed for a piece of equipment you own and it’s stopped you undertaking your assignment. You’ve perhaps arrived on a video shoot and your hard drive is full of 4K raw footage from your previous shoot and there’s no room on your Macbook. Perhaps you’ve not taken enough flash cards and you’ve forgotten to download the original images on the one 128GB card in your camera. These may sound ridiculous but I can assure you that these are problems that have plagued photographers for years and will continue to do so. Make a checklist that covers every single aspect of equipment from start to finish. Document your equipment and what needs to be checked before you pack your kit. Confirm the pre work is complete and use a separate column to ensure it’s packed. Packing your Macbook away and leaving the charger in the wall isn’t an option once you’re on the plane. Shooting Commercial Photography Abroad needs a logistical head and preparation.

Number 3. Airlines

How you travel and what you take when Shooting Commercial Photography Abroad can have a great impact on your overheads and can even make the difference between a client choosing you for an assignment, over using a photographer based in their own country. For examples, Hold Baggage can cost hundreds of pounds for an extra case, particularly on smaller aircraft. Therefore, planning the MUST TAKE equipment against the WOULD LIKE TO TAKE. When packing your kit, ensure your hand luggage bag meets the required sizing and that your case weight is not over. Budget airlines particularly, have the most ridiculous sizing limits for hand luggage to the point where we often wrap our camera and strategically place into an Ortleib Airflex Daypack, which is a waterproof very small backpack  but it fits pretty much all cabin luggage requirements. Airlines will take great pleasure in charging extortionate fees for overweight cases and when you’re at the check-in desk without the option to throw away any items from your case, you will have little choice but to stump up the cash. If our assignments are for a short duration, it’s often work incorporating your camera bag inside your suitcase with a tripod (remove the head and pack this separately) alongside your clothing back.

Where possible, we keep at least one camera, lens, Macbook, chargers, hard drive and flash cards in our cary on luggage. Certain airlines are really strict on allowing camera batteries and this was a factor in own problems encountered during a recent international assignment.

Number 4: Plan Your Contingencies

5 Tips for Shooting Commercial Photography Abroad

When Shooting Commercial Photography Abroad, planning is a must but as hard as you try it’s impossible to account for every eventuality. If you have serious issues, kit malfunctions or your Checklists haven’t been properly completed and you’ve forgotten to take a necessary piece of equipment, it’s good to know your options for sourcing replacements or renting equipment. The deeper you venture into third world countries, the less likely you are to find replacements. If you’re shooting in a major city, then compiling a list of  the best rental stores and well placed camera and electrical retailers can save you a lot of headaches and lost time on location.

 

Number 5: Allow Time For Everything and Be Prepared 

Allowing sufficient time when Shooting Commercial Photography Abroad is so important. Remember to be realistic and think that if it’s your first time in a strange country, you may very well have language and communication barriers, territory will be unfamiliar and you need to take into account, local logistical problems including traffic jams, inconsistent public transport, getting lost and a different pace in life. Always allow yourself some extra time. Don’t confuse Shooting Commercial Photography Abroad with having a jolly and expecting to be out shooting tourism images like you’re on holiday. If that’s your view on working abroad, it may not be for you. Being away on an assignment can sometimes be a tricky one, particularly if it’s not something we do that often. Your priority as a professional Photographer is completing the assignment for your client, earning a living and delivering high quality images with a view to getting repeat business and building your reputation as an International business. Shooting Commercial Photography Abroad doesn’t allow for re shoots a couple of weeks later if you run out of time so your timescales need be realistic and achievable. It’s not uncommon to visit a country, shoot your assignment and never actually get to enjoy the place yourself. Depending on the turnaround time, it’s not uncommon to spend evenings editing until the early hours of the morning before grabbing a few hours sleep and starting all over again. You should perform to the best of your ability and hopefully, scheduling in some down time should allow for at least a few hours travel photography and local culture while you;re away. If things do change on the ground just remember it’s better to do a few things well than everything poorly!

 

 

Street Photographers – 5 Tips to Street Photography

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5 Tips for Street Photographers – Just five to be getting on with but the following blog isn’t the be all and end all. It’s like everything photography… Subjective. It’s a few tips that work for me when and it’s either going to be very useful.. Or.. Don’t bother to read it and CLICK RIGHT HERE to see some more seriously interesting work!
In 2010 I took to the streets of New York for the first time. I saw a homeless person sleeping upright on a bench in Central Park opposite The Plaza Hotel.. To this very day I could not identify if they were male or female. The composition was phenomenal without even looking through the lens. It was sub Zero.. Chillingly cold and 4 weeks before Christmas. A styrofoam cup of coffee was on the floor, their coat resembled a gigantic sleeping bag, but the thing which made the image, was the Abercrombie & Fitch Carrier Bag. The collision of poverty and pure consumer vanity stuck in my throat so much. It was literally two worlds that would never conjoin in society. It was an image that forever changed the way I viewed street photography.
If you’re about to start out in this wonderful genre, then 5 Tips for Street Photographers is all you are going top need to push you in the right direction. There are some basic concepts that every street photographer needs to know.. What camera do I need? , What settings should I use? What should I look at shooting? How do I deal with the public? Hopefully, 5 Tips for Street Photography – The Epic Guide will help!

All images showcased in this blog have been shot by Lee Blanchflower of Blanc Creative. Lee Blanchflower is an established Commercial Photographer and won the SWPP Travel Photographer of the Year Award 2013.

5 Tips for Street Photographers.

What is street photography?

Simply put, street photography is the art of photographing the world around us as it unfolds during everyday life. Candid street photography has opened up a whole new world to photographers and the voyeurs who trawl the pages of social media online. Very little is private anymore as street photography captures society at every conceivable level, from the poorest, to the richest, from the fashionable to the third world and everything in between. Documenting everyday life and society gives photographers an infinite subject matter only dictated by evolution. Every day throws a different perspective to the same places, through the eyes of different people and different photographers. It’s what makes photography the subjective choice of creatives. If you find yourself drawn to shooting photos in public and those filling the space around it.

5 Tips for Street Photographers.
5 Tips for Street Photographers.
Marrakech Street Photography
5 Tips for Street Photographers.

Tip 1 – Don’t go overboard on kit.

The great saving grace about street photography is that nobody gives a damn about what type of camera you have.  One of the first money saving options is definitely don’t go shelling out on expensive bits of kit if you don’t own it already. You really don’t need a specific camera to shoot with. You can shoot street photography on any camera. We’d all love to go out with a Leica-M-Edition-60 but even as a professional photographer I find it hard to justify £12000 on a single camera. You have to sell a lot photographs to cover this sort of outlay. In-fact, I personally know street photographers who will shoot with smartphones and hipstamatic because they consider it more of a challenge. Generally, smaller cameras tend to be preferable simply because DSLR’s can be bulky and make you look like a professional, thus drawing attention to the photographer. Something like the Olympus Pen with a pancake lens is a great piece of kit, however, I shoot religiously with a 5D MKIII, because it’s a tool I use five days a week.

5 Tips for Street PhotographersIt’s what I’m comfortable with and that makes for a lot pf sense when shooting. Make it easy and use a camera that you’re familiar with or will feel comfortable to have in your hands. One of the most important elements in the rule in street photography is keep your camera with you at all times. The amount of times I’ve been out and thought ‘Shit’ I wish I had my camera right now! The best moments on the street ‘WILL ALWAYS’ happen when you haven’t got your camera. Mark my words! They are very true!

Tip 2  – On the streets

You’ve chosen your camera, your lens and you’re ready to go for it. What’s out there on the streets. Do I shoot people, landmarks, objects? Now what do you look for when you’re out on the streets? Tip2 of5 Tips for Street Photography is: Shoot whatever you think looks Epic. Starting out with street photography, many photographers really just don’t know what they should be taking photographs of! You will develop a feel for your subject really quickly, but when I’m out shooting Street, I focus mainly on people. I personally shoot the poor, the homeless, the people who have hard lives. The expressions on their faces or their surroundings tell the story for you much of the time. For me, emotional connection of the subject to the surroundings helps to tell the story.  One of the biggest problems that new street photographers have to content with is approaching people they wish to photograph.

London Street Photography

Marrakech Street Photography
Marrakech Street Photography
5 Tips for Street Photographers
Street Photography Norwich – Anglia Square

Due to the idea that street photography is a focus on the humanity around us, this can be difficult, particularly when dealing with the street of culturally different countries. Start small. Work in your home areas where you are familiar with the surroundings and what you think or know you can get away with shooting. We’d all love to shoot the money shots, in hostile, dark, moody surroundings, but safety has to be a priority and a good portion of learning to overcome your fear is understanding how people think. If you’re polite with people and maybe explain your reasoning for the shots, you’re more than likely going to get a half decent reception. Just use common sense and don’t go waving a big Dslr with a 500mm zoom lens out in areas where you know crime is high or that is out of your comfort zone. Research where you are going to shoot and know where to avoid.

 

Tip 3 – Get Close

Lots of street photographers talk about the 35mm lens as being the best lens length because it mimics the focal plain of the human eye as close as possible. Let’s be honest, to me, it’s a load of tosh. More and more street imagery today seems to be taken from distance, but 5 Tips for Street Photographers  No: 3 is Get Up Close. It really is a wicked opportunity to shoot your subject. How you do it will depend on your own morals for encroaching on personal space and how comfortable you feel about getting into peoples faces. The ability or need to shoot subjects or areas that may be deemed disturbing, is something that you may develop with time and will solely depend on your own confidence. Don’t photograph subjects if it will upset you, because it will ultimately destroy your love of street photography. I always try and look for the story  One possible method for being discrete is to stand pretty close to someone and look above your subject, pretending to frame and shoot  a picture of something above them.  Lowering your camera, shoot as you come down, taking their their photo. People may think that you had no interest in them as a subject, however, this is not really an option in quiet streets unless you have a silent mode on your camera or if the subject is particularly active (High shutter speed ‘may’ work.) The second option is to wing it. Shoot on the fly with a ‘hit and run’ approach. This works well in areas where your camera is seriously unwelcome, such as non tourist areas of Marrakech where shooting was pretty dangerous and we were constantly harassed, threatened and subjected to abuse and attempts to literally extort money from you on the streets.

5 Tips for Street Photographers.
5 Tips for Street Photographers.
Street Photography Norwich - Anglia Square
Street Photography Norwich – Anglia Square

Tip 4- Framing

“Framing”. It is undoubtedly one of the key words for storytelling in street . To convey the message your audience, it’d really no good having distractive content that forms no part of the image you’re trying to get across. “Cropping” really can be one of your best friends for street photography but it’s worth noting that you really should be trying to nail your photos through the lens and not in photoshop. Bin the distractions and your story will unfold so much easier.

Street Photography London

Travel Photography - Street Photography Paris

Street Photography Norwich- The Death of Anglia Square
Street Photography Norwich- The Death of Anglia Square

Tip 5- It’s Not All About People

Our final 5 Tips for Street Photography for beginners is: It’s not all about the people. Street photography has some misconceptions that it’s all about people. ‘s often wrongly associated with being entirely about photographing people on the streets. Street photography is about people, or more specifically about human nature, but people don’t need to be present in the scene. There are an infinite amount of opportunities out there for epic street photos without people. You just have to look for them.

Marrakech Street Photography
Marrakech Street Photography

But let’s not dismiss street photography without people. Urban landscapes are as much about street photography as the people who live in them. Urban landscapes can be impactive for the viewer, can tell their own stories and make for awesome storylines. Take the example above. This was taken in a residential of Marrakech on Festival of the Sacrifices or Eid al-Adha in the aftermath of the sacrificial slaughter of sheep. The image is simplistic, void of people but retains a visually impactive message representing bloodshed and death. The image content is unsettling in its simplicity. Architecture can depict life without having to include people and this aspect of street photography makes the whole process easier for people who are embracing cautiously into the world of urban photography.

Street Photography Norwich
Marrakech Street Photography
Street Photography Norwich
Marrakech Street Photography
5 Tips for Street Photographers.
5 Tips for Street Photographers.

I hope that this very small insight into my own perspective of shooting the public and urban life unfolding. Keeping your camera with you is a must and with practice, increased time out on the streets, you will soon be into a place where you are comfortable and know your limitations. Your imagery should flourish in a very short time. Don’t forget that The more you shoot, the more your confidence will undoubtedly grow.. So just keep shooting, learn by your mistakes and most importantly, Enjoy!

List of street photographers

This is a list of notable street photographers. Street photography is photography conducted for art or enquiry that features unmediated chance encounters

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