Continuing a the recent string of amazing assignments for Budget Travel, last August I traveled to Yellowstone National Park for them. My assignment was to document the different types of family vacations one can experience at the Park. There are campers, day trippers, retirees, young families, etc. It was definitely pretty interesting to see all walks of life and talk to them about where they’re from and why they chose Yellowstone. See the magazine article online here.
A lot of people I talk to about these trips just look at me in amazement that I’m actually paid to go on these assignments. Yes, they sound amazing, but few people realize how much work they actually involve. Tons of logistical coordination, travel (with lots of gear!), early mornings, long and physical days, etc.
It’s always a conscious effort to try to remind yourself to slow down a bit and try to enjoy yourself while you’re on assignment. Even if you take a couple hours off, there’s a sense of guilt that you could be working harder for your client.
I have a couple strategies for staying excited about assignments and having fun on them. First, I hire assistants based on their personality and not necessarily on technical proficiency. If I have to spend 16 hours a day with someone, they better be awesome! Second, I always try to approach the assignment as if it was a personal shoot. I’m always on the look out for images that could end up in a show or have a longer lifespan than just a “hey, look at my tearsheets-” post on my blog. And finally, I always try to find something fun to do while I’m on location. This keeps me sane and feeling human, but can also yield a new location or unexpected photos for my client.
For this trip to Yellowstone, Laurel and I stayed strong with ice cream sandwiches and dips in the boiling river – both HIGHLY recommended!
These trips for BT have also allowed me to continue building my own portfolio. I’ll shoot images I know the magazine needs, but I’m always on the look out for things I’m interested in beyond the story.
Stay strong. Stay inspired. The world is kinda a beautiful place.