If you’ve ever experienced the magic of our lookbook imagery, you can thank Grace Markham for it. Up until recently she was our resident photographer, and now she’s jet setting around the world (yes, we’re jelly) and has shot our latest two lookbooks in France and Spain.
She’s totally pro when it comes to running a team to make sure she gets the shot. So we asked her, how exactly do you ace those hectic shoots while traveling?
It is super easy to get carried away and pack everything piece of equipment you have (and wouldn’t this be wonderful if only baggage allowances didn’t exist) but let’s not forget, you have to actually carry it all too. I personally prefer to have my camera bag with me at all times therefore carry it as hand baggage, which always has a limit of 6-10kg. If it’s over, keep calm, don’t show the struggle in your face when lifting it into the overhead compartment (hehe)! Before every big trip, I carefully go through my camera bag, selecting the must haves. So, if you can minimise what you are taking, then do it.
My kit looks a little like this: two camera bodies, (always have a spare you never know what could happen), 3 lenses, memory cards, x3 batteries, flash unit, laptop, memory card reader and a small reflector that folds down. I recently purchase a decent camera bag for carry-on luggage, it’s an absolute must to protect against water, sand and those luggage loaders at the airport!
Shoot in the right mode + Backup
I always shoot in RAW image format, which is a necessity for the type of jobs I do, however if you’re just travelling for fun and don’t plan to highly edit your images, there’s no harm in shooting in JPEG, plus you can shoot way more as it doesn’t take up as much memory space.
When you’re out and about, always take plenty of memory cards, imagine running out of capacity just when you need it. Most importantly, get into the habit of downloading your images regularly, back up and back up again!
Research and scout your Location
Be organised, get to know the area and using the location to your advantage is vital, not just for taking photos but also for a smooth running and efficient shoot day. As soon as you arrive, head out for a walk around the area, get to know where the little things are, supermarket, taxi rank, tourist information, and understand the local dos and don’ts. For example, in Spain, you can’t really call to book taxis you have to flag them down.
Knowing the basics will help in many situations. If you need to get from A to B but you’re stuck searching for a taxi certainly isn’t fun and also eats into your shooting time but knowing a local taxi rank it just around the corner will save you time. Speak with the locals, if you are after a certain type of location, then ask. Know what you want to achieve and plan your shot list to help focus yourself on shoot day.
I don’t know about you but when I am in shooting mode, my mind is locked, focusing on lighting, model poses, angles, and all those finer details, but try and keep alert to your surroundings, stay conscious of your safety and your team’s safety. Pick pockets looking for opportunities do exist, so be observant in unfamiliar surroundings.
Get travel insurance, specific for your camera gear and for yourself, padlocks on cases and some come with a cable which is great when shooting and your attention is elsewhere.
If you get the chance, either in the evening or when you’re travelling between destinations, jot down some notes from the day, it is always good to have any keywords or descriptions of the places or people in your images, this is good for adding keywords to your images later on or even writing a blog post about your trip.
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