Luxury Travel and Other Photo Projects

Working on Luxury Travel (and Similar) Photography Projects

Luxury air travel photography by Alina Oswald.
Private Jet. Flying in style. Teterboro Airport. NJ. Photo © Alina Oswald.

As a photographer, I usually cover portraits and editorials. Sometimes I work with other artists, covering the photography or photo editing and retouching side of a much bigger and more complex project. Some other times I get to photograph engagements and weddings. And every once in a while, I get to cover other projects, mostly for small business owners.

A few of these projects really stand out. Some deal with causes dear to my heart. Others, well, others provide quite a classy take on life, lifestyle, and traveling in style. Hence, my unique experience photographing luxury travel, in particular luxury air travel photography projects. And when I say “unique” I really mean it, like, in the one and only time I ever set foot or even come close to a private airplane, that is.

The word “luxury” resonates with us in a certain, special way, and the visual content associated with it should do the same.

For a regular gal like myself, photographing or even being part of this kind of project makes for quite a surreal experience. But regardless of how extravagant or luxurious or aristocratic the subject(s) of your photography project might be or might appear to be, when you get down to actually doing business and getting the job done, same rules apply, as with any other kind of photography project.

The first step is to meet with the client and ask questions. Most importantly, listen to what the client has to say. Learn as much as possible about how the client sees the final product. Their vision might be similar to yours–at least, the client likes your style or the look that you create through your work, otherwise, they would not have contacted you in the first place–but make sure that when it comes to the project at hand, your visions are at least similar, if not the same.

Second, one of the first steps would be to get done with the paperwork part of the project. For that, inquire about the number of images, how and where they are to be used, and maybe for how long. Give an estimate. Once both parties come to an agreement, a contract or agreement still needs to be signed before work can begin. Make sure that you understand what’s in the contract before you sign.

Luxury Travel Photography by Alina Oswald. All Rights Reserved.
Luxury Air Travel. Inside a private jet. Photo by Alina Oswald.

Once the paperwork is done and taken care of, make a list, like an outline of sorts, and share it with your client and any other parties that might be involved in the project and you might have to work with (hair stylists, models, makeup artists, and the like). Prepare a shot list–a list of must-have shots you absolutely need to take during the photo shoot–and confirm it with the client. You might have to make adjustments to the shot list, per your client’s suggestions.

As I mentioned above, sometimes you might work completely on your own. Other times, you might work with a team of people. Make sure that everybody is on the same page regarding the final product, story, look, and so on.

Ask about your attire. Usually, as photographers, we wear black. But there’s a certain photographer black work attire for photographing weddings and a completely different one when climbing up a dormant volcano to photograph the sunrise. When photographing luxury…anything, the rule of thumb would be to wear something comfortable that also looks somewhat classy. Especially if the photo shoot is the first time you meet the client in person.

Needless to say, but do your homework before showing up for the photo shoot. If the subject is something you don’t photograph on a regular basis, do some prep work. Also, prepare your gear and have it ready for the shoot.

On the day of the photo shoot, be there on time. If you have to drive, give yourself a few extra minutes.

And don’t forget. The photo shoot day is your day. You are in charge, if not of the entire event, at least of a good junk of it.

Save a few minutes for small talk, at the beginning and also at the end of the photo shoot.

And then get to work. Your job is to tell the story, visually. So, tell the whole story. Remember, when shooting on location, most of the time, and especially with these kinds of projects, there’s no do-over.

Luxury aircraft Meng Xiang Tian Xia photoshoot
Luxury Air Travel. Private Jet Interior. Photo by Alina Oswald.

The nuts and bolts of it:

Start by setting the scene. Proceed to photographing the exterior and the interior, perhaps working with models and props, following the shots on that shot list. You might end up photographing more than planned and having additional ideas or a few creative and even unusual ideas. Give them a try, if time allows it, but make sure you have all the must-have shots secured, first.

By the way, when shooting a story that has to do with a private jet, the pilot might be around when you photograph. Take a few moments to chat with the pilot. Ask any questions you might have, trivial or not. Enjoy the conversation, and the experience, too. And also learn from it.

No matter what, have fun and enjoy your work. It is important!

As always, thanks for stopping by,

Alina Oswald

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