Achieving your goals when on a location photoshoot

It doesn't matter if you are on assignment, photo workshop or a personal project. The goals are the same. To create the images you want to create in the given time, and on budget. These goals taken together are no easy task. Here is some of the process in making a photo trip successful

Subject Matter

What you will be photographing and why. Those are the questions you should be asking yourself. With those answers everything else, like budget, gear to bring, and timing follows. You need to have a clear vision of what you want to create before you get there. Otherwise it can be one spectacular waste of money and time. Here are two good examples that illustrate what I mean. One example illustrates how the images you want to create influences the direction of the trip and the other on how it affects the equipment needed for the trip.

Photo workshop client to a Cuba workshop.

Bob and Jack are avid photographers both artistically and professionally. Besides the love they have for photography and adventure they own art galleries that sell their photographs. Their goals was to create iconic images of Cuba that will be used for their respective galleries.  They particularly wanted to create photographs at night so we did a couple of night excursions on the streets of Old Havana so they could create the images they wanted.

On assignment in Sierra Leone

This was a purely photo documentary trip. Although I wanted to do video also. When I first started going over the list of gear I wanted to take I realized there was no way I was going to be able to do this by myself. So I had to think on how I wanted to use the video, the situations I would be photographing in and that started to drop gear off the list. By the time I was done. I had a gear set that fit in one backpack and was able to work by myself doing both stills and video.


I can't stress this enough. You need to spend time researching where you are going, their customs, and trip planning. The advantage of a photo workshop like Camera Voyages workshops is that has been taken care of. Although you should always have an idea of what the trip will cover and perhaps you may want to stray or do something in addition. Something that is encouraged on our workshops. As for when you are on your own do your research. You will be happy that you did. Here are some topics to consider on your research



  • Locations, where are they located
  • Local customs
  • money exchange
  • Banks
  • Transport
  • Drivers
  • Are you traveling with clients or others. How to coordinate
  • Fixers do you need one where do you find one.
  • These are just a few, there are more in the previous posts part 1 and part 2


One of the biggest issues is access. Good access is essential. Will you be able to enter a situation as a friend or as a newcomer? Coming in as a friend is much better in the sense that you can get to creating images right away rather than spend time looking for the right person to give you access. Also good access raises the chances that you will be able to create the images you want. In my experience I spend 80% of my time being able to be in the right time at the right place. 20% is actually photographing. So that 80% is vitally important. We understand that at Camera Voyages and we make sure that our clients are at the right place at the right time.




Traveling with clients or as a group.

I know it sounds simple but its not. You really want to get to know someone travel with them. The only advice I can give is empathy and patience. Everyone has their idiosyncrasies including yourself. My advice put yourself in the other persons shoes and it will help you understand what they are feeling. Perception is more real than reality. You may not agree with what they are feeling, but it would go a long way in keeping the peace. As for clients that can be tricky. Especially when its a young relationship. If you did your research and prepared well you won't run into problems that will make you look inexperienced or unprepared. In professional life trust is a big factor. The minute people think you don't know what you are doing. Your done! We approach our workshops the same way we approach assignments with clients traveling with us. Prepare, prepare, prepare some more, and never let them see you sweat. Words to live by!


Its so easy to just spend money. There are two ways to fix a problem, money and time. If you took the time to prepare you don't need to throw money at it when a problem pops up. contingency plans and doing your homework are key to staying on budget.


There is so much more that goes into traveling to do photography at a high level. I am just scratching the surface. At the end of the day if you put serious thought into what you are doing, ask questions, keep a positive attitude things will go your way, and you will be able to create some of the best images of your life. Also enjoy what you are doing and have passion for it. People around you will respond positively to it and reciprocate.

william vazquezComment