There I am with my Think Tank case made for international travel, filled with my Nikon D800 (for filming high definition),my work horse D700, my lenses 24-70mm, 85mm, 70-200mm lenses, and a black backpack filled with my clothing and laptop, about to board the plane to Montreal. Since my vacation here in Montreal, I just wanted to return and make some connections for business. I’m happy to say I made some excellent connections along the way. I am so happy to be a dreamer who finds a way to make it a reality, and to see it worked out more than I imagined.
When traveling for business photography assignments, you must be very organized in order to successfully complete an assignment. For example you have to arrange the obvious, a place to stay, packing gear to bring on flight, renting of lighting equipment, and location to photograph your subjects, and so on.
Because of my vacation to Montreal this past August 2017, I was able to build friendships with the locals, and they loved me so much, they invited me to stay with them. Having friends in a foreign place to stay with is really helpful. However if you do not know anyone I would suggest Airbnb. I rented a beautiful place here in Montreal when I first came.
Traveling with Equipment on Flight
I use a traveling case called “Think Tank” for international travel and am always prepared to pay the added weight cost in order to bring it on flight. I must press that you must always stand your ground when traveling with all your heavy precious gear. Each airline has different policies regarding weight for carry on, but again stay polite, work within the confines of their rules, and be ready to move your gear around a bit for carry on. For instance I had to bring two cameras one as my main the other as backup, lenses, sender and receiver’s, memory cards, laptop, and clothes. I kept my clothes to minimum within a backpack and left enough room within that backpack so to fit my purse and any other equipment to make the weight less in the “Think Tank”. I also checked ahead of time on-line to speed the process. Many times I find people will give me a hard time with the weight even if I paid for the added weight. I always say “It’s my life and very expensive and I can not check it in. It will get thrown around and destroyed.” I just wait and in a matter of minutes they always return to say “Okay we will make an exception.”
It’s a bit nerve wrecking to travel with your gear, but trust me when I say stand your ground , it will go a long way. I have traveled all the way to Rhodes Greece with my “Think Tank” and I was able to take it on with me with a little fight and politeness.
I sat next to strangers along the way and had some interesting conversations about our travels. I find airports to also be a great way to connect with other like minded professionals. Each time I travel I find a treasure of connections otherwise never would of met. But let me focus on the photography for now.
Renting Equipment on location
Lighting is everything, it’s not about the equipment as much as it’s about the lighting you use, composition, and directing your subjects properly to tell the story. Everything that goes into creating the final image takes time to manifest, but let me press lighting is everything. Without good lighting you have nothing.
I am holding out for the smallest strobe in the world to be released by Profoto, and am on a waiting list in November 2017 to purchase a few, but for now I was eyeballing Profoto B1 lights. The B1 Light does not require an outlet, but rather it has its own battery with 200 photos output ability. I made sure to rent an extra battery so avoid interruption during my photo session and to avoid awkward waiting time.
Let me press to research places to rent equipment and their reputation. Photo Service has been in business for over 75 years and their reviews are superb. They are one of the largest photo stores in Montreal. Their pricing is very reasonable and their customer service was fantastic. Honestly I had to remove myself from the store because I could spend endless hours in photo heaven.
Photo Session with Model Agency in Montreal
Before my venture to Montreal with flight tickets in hand weeks prior, I researched agencies to work with. I’m taking beginner French at Rutgers and composed a letter in French and English when reaching out to these agencies. Personally I would like to find myself fluent in French and I find Montreal to be the best place to practice and absorb the language without any added pressure.
After several attempts to reach out a couple agencies responded to me. For some the time frame of my arrival was conflicting in scheduling but for Face 2 Face International Agency, they made an exception.
Face 2 Face International was founded by Daniel Alfie. For thirty years he developed a solid reputation in the the following areas, modeling, fashion photography, working closely with renowned photographers such as Peter Arseneault and Oliver Clarke, tv commercials, and casting.
Daniel’s extensive background stems from his studies at the Actor’s Studio and Conservatoire LaSalle, his international experience working in Mexico City as a model (TV Commercials & Vogue of Mexico). He also modeled for two well-known agencies in Montreal, Constance Brown and Audrey Morris. In addition to that Daniel also studied photography at Collège Marsan.
Daniel Alfie believes that an agency should “wear many shoes”, whether it be models for an important show, magazine fashion shoots or extras for movie production.
Photo Session with Local Performance Artist
I had the pleasure to also work with Angelique Duruisseau who is both a musician and actress. She is also represented by M2 Management. The arrangements of this session was by a good mutual friend of ours Jacques Bouchard. Jacques was amazing help throughout my venture. He helped me travel around the city, gather the gear I needed, and helped coordinate with Angelique to conduct this photo session with her. He believes in both Angelique and I. I am honestly so blessed to work with so many talented artists who share a mutual vision. I can’t wait to return to Montreal to create more.
Keep dreaming. Make contacts. Take a risk. Make art. Be organized. Believe in yourself.