Destination Cleveland wants your viewing of the 2024 total solar eclipse to be as memorable as possible. As one of the prime locations to view the event due to its location along the eclipse’s path of totality, the agency is giving away an overnight stay in downtown Cleveland on April 8, 2024, and all you have to do for a chance to win it is play an interactive game.
To enter to win, you first need to play Road Trip to Cleveland. Then, share your score on either Facebook or Twitter using the hashtag #SolarEclipseCLE before 11:59 pm on May 26, 2023. In addition to the hotel stay, which will accommodate up to four people, the winner will also receive tickets to two Cleveland attractions, a $50 gift card to a downtown Cleveland restaurant, and up to four pairs of solar eclipse glasses.
You must be at least 18 years old and a resident of the US in order to be eligible to win. The winner of the contest, who will be selected at random, will be notified on or around June 5. You don’t even need to get a particularly impressive score on the Road Trip to Cleveland game, you just need to play!
Grand Palladium Jamaica Resort & Spa in Montego Bay is nearing completion of extensive renovations worth $27.5 million. The project included the refurbishment of 537 suites and public spaces.
The newly 537 refurbished rooms of Grand Palladium Jamaica Resort & Spa include 48 suites across two new categories. These swim-up suites offer a private pool and terrace, equipped with seating and a wooden pergola. Each of the 537 suites has new furniture, while bathrooms now offer a hydromassage bathtub and shower. Some rooms have open bathrooms centered around the bathtub. Good to know: All rooms have energy-saving systems with sensors for light and air conditioning, and the swim-up pools are heated through an efficient system that uses heat pumps.
The renovation project included the Infinity Saloon Bar, which offers 180-degree views of the Caribbean Sea; it also hosts shows and live music. Its open-air terrace now has elegant awnings and lounge-style furniture with sofas and large armchairs, perfect for resting while sipping delicious cocktails. On the culinary end, the MoBay show-cooking restaurant open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, has increased its capacity to accommodate up to 286 diners. Divided into four areas by screens, the space now has two new food stations.
In the lobby, further enhancements of the English colonial style were made to the solid wood and furniture. The reception has been updated with white treillage lattices and mirrors that match with the bold black lamps installed in the area.
The updates follow the 2016 renovation at Grand Palladium Lady Hamilton Resort & Spa, located in the same resort and managed by the Palladium Hotel Group. Located in Montego Bay, Grand Palladium Hotels & Resorts in Jamaica has 1,054 rooms of different categories and offers guests direct access to the beach, 11 restaurants and 15 themed bars, various entertainment options for all ages, the Zentropia Palladium Spa & Wellness Center, as well as extensive facilities, including one of the largest pools in the Caribbean.
A new year is always a great time to kick your photography plans into gear. If you haven’t done so already, here are 8 new year resolutions to consider
1 Take more photos
My number one advice for anyone wanting to improve their photography is to simply take more photos. It’s like anything, the more you practice something the better you will become. So whether you are a landscape photographer, travel photographer, wildlife photographer or even if you enjoy taking portraits, try to set time aside regularly to just focus on your photography. Or if you find it difficult to do so when you are home because of everyday life, why not book to go away for a few days to just concentrate on photography? You’ll be amazed at how much your work improves over time by simply taking more photos.
2 Do something with your photos
There is no doubt that the positives of digital photography (as opposed to film photography) far outweigh the negatives (excuse the pun). However, I think one of the big negatives of digital photography, is that for many photographers, their photos just end up sitting on their hard drives forever.
So, this year, why not plan to do “something” with your photos? You can of course look to sell them through Picfair. Or you can just get into the habit of posting regularly on social media. For those who have a bit more time on their hands, you can even create a photo book of your best photos. Not only do these kinds of things help promote you and your work, but it’s also great to just have your work out there rather than on a hard drive.
3 Learn something new
Photography is like any other hobby or profession, in that there are always elements that you can improve at. At the start of each year, I set myself a goal of learning something new that is related to my profession or business. For example, a few years ago I purchased a drone and learned how to use that for aerial photography. Another year, I taught myself all about SEO. Last year I learned how to create reels for social media.
Learning something new can be incredibly rewarding not to mention help improve your photography. For example, you may be someone who has never used a flash but want to or you may struggle with photographing in low light conditions. Or maybe you are not hugely confident in using editing software. So think about what you would like to learn and spend the next 12 months working toward learning or improving whatever that may be.
4 Set yourself a goal
As well as learning a new skill, another great New Year resolution is to set yourself a professional goal. In other words, something that you would like to achieve. This could be anything from shooting something you have always wanted to shoot, or for example, this might be an event, a place or even a type of photo that you have always wanted to capture.
Or your goal could be more business-driven like having a photo published in a magazine or newspaper. You could even set yourself a goal of winning a photography competition and spend time actually trying to capture photos that are going to have the best chance of winning. It’s OK if you don’t achieve your goal. This is about giving you something to focus on.
5 Look through your old photos
I’m sure like me, there have been times when you have looked through your old catalog of photos and found a few great photos that you missed when you were editing. In fact, there have been so many times when I have found photos from past shoots that have gone on to sell very well. So, if you have time, it is always worth having a look through your old collection of photos and possibly even re-editing some photos to see if you can find some hidden gems that you missed.
Remember that photos that are sitting on your hard drive will never sell. But if they are in your Picfair Store or out in the world, they might. You never know.
Photography can be a lonely hobby or profession most of the time. You generally work by yourself and may not get the opportunity to bounce ideas off other people. Joining a local camera club is a great way to improve your photography by sharing your photos and getting feedback from fellow photographers. Camera clubs often also put on competitions which are again great for focusing you on something specific.
And there are of course often talks by professional photographers which can be very helpful in giving you tips and advice on a whole range of different topics.
7 Work on a personal project
think that even if you are a seasoned pro, it is always very useful to have a personal project on the go that you can work on. This can be a great way to escape the everyday mundane aspects of being a photographer and allow you to do something that you love or are passionate about. Or it could just be a photography technique that you want to experiment with like light painting or macro photography.
Try to think of a project that you are so passionate about that it won’t feel like work. But rather something that you can spend months working on without any hesitation.
8 Update/refresh your website
All of us photographers (me included) are guilty of neglecting our websites. It’s just one of those tasks that often fall at the bottom of the list. But your website is incredibly important as it showcases you to the world. So set aside a day or two to go through and update your website accordingly.
Make sure that you have added any new work that you have done or had published. Shout about your achievements, update your contact details, and most important of all, make sure that your website is optimized so that it doesn’t take ages to load. Trust me, as someone who regularly commissions photographers, nothing is more frustrating for an editor than having to wait for each page or image to load.
You may of course have your own new year’s resolutions, but the above will not only make you a better photographer but might also make you a more successful one too.
Kav is a full-time photographer and author of 400+ articles. He is also a judge on the Wanderlust Magazine Photography of the Year competition and leads small group photo tours around the world. View all articles
New offering expected to spur development opportunities globally
Marriott International, Inc., today announced its expansion into apartment-style accommodations with the launch of Apartments by Marriott BonvoyTM. The company is seizing upon growing consumer interest among families and friends seeking more space for stays, propelled by the blending of work and leisure travel, and the desire among younger travelers for wider accommodations options.
Marriott is building upon its 26 years of experience with Marriott Executive Apartments, its serviced-apartment brand in Asia, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America. With the introduction of Apartments by Marriott Bonvoy, the company expects it will enhance portfolio growth globally and bring the serviced-apartment concept to Marriott guests in the U.S. and Canada.
“Travelers planning vacations and long business trips today are seeking more choice in accommodations, and the introduction of Apartments by Marriott Bonvoy responds to those trends while offering developers a premium product backed by our trusted name and distribution platform,” said Stephanie Linnartz, President, Marriott International. “With Apartments by Marriott Bonvoy, guests will be able to shop a wider array of accommodation options within the Marriott Bonvoy portfolio, growing their loyalty to the portfolio and its range of brand offerings.”
Marriott plans to introduce Apartments by Marriott Bonvoy in the upper-upscale and luxury segments, distinguished from Marriott’s existing extended-stay brands, with distinctly designed products that reflect the local neighborhood for independent travelers seeking more space and residential amenities. Apartments by Marriott Bonvoy will feature a separate living room and bedroom, full kitchen, and in-unit washer and dryer, but will be differentiated from Marriott’s existing extended-stay brands by not providing certain traditional hotel services such as food and beverage, meeting spaces, and retail. Apartments by Marriott Bonvoy is anticipated to offer developers the flexibility to build new properties or convert existing properties, with a design approach similar to the company’s successful Autograph Collection and Tribute Portfolio lodging brands, which offer consumers independent, uniquely distinguished hotel experiences. Apartments by Marriott Bonvoy will be backed by Marriott’s powerful reservations engine and Marriott Bonvoy, the company’s award-winning travel program with 173 million members.
Among travel consumers and Marriott Bonvoy members, there is a growing desire for premium accommodations that provide home-like amenities as travelers combine work and leisure trips to reconnect with family and friends. According to Phocuswright’s research, three of the top five reasons for selecting an apartment-style rental are more room or space, access to a full kitchen and laundry, and a home-like feel.1
Prospective developers can learn more about Apartments by Marriott Bonvoy and all the company’s brands on Marriott’s development website. Offer and sale by prospectus only.
 Through the Roof: U.S. Short Term Rentals 2021, Phocuswright, January 2022
Note on Forward-Looking Statements This press release contains “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of United States federal securities laws, including statements related to planned new product offerings; demand trends for certain types of lodging products; growth plans and expectations for the new product offering; expectations regarding growth in customer loyalty; and similar statements concerning anticipated future events and expectations that are not historical facts. We caution you that these statements are not guarantees of future performance and are subject to numerous evolving risks and uncertainties that we may not be able to accurately predict or assess, including the risk factors that we identify in our U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filings, including our most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K or Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q. Any of these factors could cause actual results to differ materially from the expectations we express or imply in this press release. We make these forward-looking statements as of the date of this press release and undertake no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise.
About Marriott International Marriott International, Inc., (NASDAQ: MAR) is based in Bethesda, Maryland, USA, and encompasses a portfolio of nearly 8,200 properties under 30 leading brands spanning 138 countries and territories. Marriott operates and franchises hotels and licenses vacation ownership resorts all around the world. The company offers Marriott Bonvoy®, its highly awarded travel program. For more information, please visit our website at www.Marriott.com. In addition, connect with us on Facebook and @MarriottIntl on Twitter and Instagram.
Media Contact John Wolf Vice President, Global Communications and Public Affairs Marriott International John.Wolf@Marriott.com
After living in lockdown for the best part of two years, the idea of packing a bag and moving to the other side of the world is very tempting – especially as the cost of living crisis bites.
If you’re able to work from anywhere in the world, you should consider doing so from sunny Brazil: the country has a thriving digital nomad community and plenty of things to see and do when you’re not working.
“Think of anything and you’ll find it in Brazil”, says Rafael Luisi, Assessor of Embratur’s Presidency, the Brazilian Tourism Board.
“If you talk about culture, we have it. We have the best gastronomy, and it’s very different from the south to the north. If you talk about ecotourism and nature, we have that too. When you think about Brazil, you think about sun and beach tourism. It’s much more than that.”
How can I become a digital nomad in Brazil?
The country’s digital nomad visa is called Temporary Visa VITEM XIV, and people can apply for it at any Brazilian consulate.
The visa costs €97 ($100 USD) on average, though it can vary, and lasts for one year, but can be extended for a second. During that time, you can leave the country and come back.
Among the most important requirements is proof of employment or a relationship with a company based outside of Brazil and a minimum income of €1,455 ($1,500 USD) per month, or a bank balance of €17,460 ($18,000 USD).
Is it expensive to live in Brazil?
Brazil isn’t the cheapest country in the world, or in South America. But the cost of living in Brazil is much lower than in European countries.
According to the website Expatistan, food is 101 per cent more expensive in France than in Brazil, while housing is 131 per cent more expensive and transportation 41 per cent more costly. Overall, the cost of living is 67 per cent more expensive in France than in Brazil.
In Germany, the cost of living is 74 per cent more expensive. While in Italy, it’s 46 per cent more expensive. In the UK, it’s 99 per cent more expensive.
Between November and March, during the Brazilian summer, is usually the best time to go, though it’s also the time when most tourists travel to the country.
The weather is usually sunny and warm, perfect for hitting the beach after work. And in case you want to catch the world-famous Rio de Janeiro Carnival, you can do so in February.
During the Brazilian winter, temperatures are still quite warm compared to European standards, at an average of about 18 degrees Celsius.
Where should I stay in Brazil?
Brazil is a massive country, double the size of Europe. Every area is different, so deciding where to go might depend on your specific tastes and interests. But these four things are important to every digital nomad: cost of living, fast Wi-Fi, community, and nightlife.
For all these things, these are the best places to move to.
The first digital nomad village in South America is going to be built in Brazil, in the small northeastern beach town of Pipa.
The village will be created by the Lisbon-based start-up NomadX, who have named the project ‘Nomad Village Brazil’. The village will offer a range of accommodation options and facilities for digital nomads (including a swimming pool), and will open this November, with an initial run until 30 April 2023.
“You have the beach just in front of you, with the water temperature at 24 degrees Celsius”, says Luisi, adding that the village is in a great location for visiting other states in Brazil.
White sandy beaches, dramatic-looking mountains, and a buzzing nightlife: Florianopolis, an island in the south of Brazil, has everything a digital nomad could dream of.
This is probably why the city, considered a paradise on earth, is a favourite destination for digital nomads in Brazil. There’s a thriving digital nomad community here, and plenty of co-working spaces to meet like-minded people.
The small fishing village of Jericoacora, or Jeri, has grown in recent years, becoming a magnet for digital nomads looking to work while surrounded by the stunning natural beauty of this secluded beach town.
Encircled by stunning white sand dunes and crystal clear blue waters, Jeri is located in the middle of a preservation zone and it’s known to be a haven for kite and windsurfers
Belo Horizonte is a big city, but not as busyas Rio or Brasilia.
Living here would be less of a tropical dream and more of the perfect balance between work and fun, rest and productivity.
The city has a vibrant nightlife, with plenty of bar hopping and networking opportunities. On the negative side, working from a cafe isn’t really something people in Belo Horizonte do, so you might struggle to find a place to work outside of your apartment.
The charm of Brazil’s capital is often overlooked, but the city has a lot to offer. Brasilia’s construction was heavily influenced by the writing of Dom Bosco, an Italian monk who dreamed of a utopian capital city in the ‘New World’. Shaped like an aeroplane, the city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, home to many impressive buildings, parks and unique architecture.
The city is very safe and every embassy is based here, so if you only speak English, you’ll be just fine.
Rio de Janeiro
Once in Brazil, Rio is a must-visit. The city is just so representative of Brazil, and it’s the first place people think of when they imagine Brazil.
If you need to build up your confidence to move deeper into the more secluded spots in Brazil, Rio, with its several co-working spaces, cafes and the international community, is a great place to start.
If you want to be at the centre of life in Brazil, go no further than São Paulo.
The metropolis is the country’s economic powerhouse, and you’ll find plenty of start-ups, multinational companies and digital nomads
With so much to do, it’s almost impossible to be bored here, plus São Paulo probably has the fastest internet in the entire country.
Do you enjoy taking photos but find yourself buried in unprocessed images? This article is for you! I’m going to give you my top 10 photo editing tips for speeding up your workflow.
I do most of my post-processing in Adobe Lightroom. But the basic principles apply regardless of the editing software you use.
The goal is to get from import to export efficiently. Don’t lose your photographic mojo or let your favourite photography gather digital dust.
10. Fix Your Images In-Camera to Save Time
Often, you will take a photo knowing that you’ll have to fix something later in post-processing.
But if you can fix it now in-camera, you don’t have to fix it later. With a quick spin of a dial, you can change the exposure. Zoom in for a tighter crop. Straighten that horizon line. It’s better than fussing with straightening it later in post-processing. Especially if you have to adjust 100 horizon lines individually.
You can make adjustments later. But why wait until tomorrow for something that you can do today?
Save on post-processing time by slowing down in the field and looking at the scene. You’ll probably need to take fewer shots to get the one you want.
The closer the in-camera image is to your final image, the less post-processing you have to do.
9. Use Import & Export Tools
Set up your editing software to do things automatically. Lightroom’s import and export tools are a great place to start.
On import, you can add global keywords and metadata like titles and copyright information. Keywording is a pain, but you can’t find your images unless you keyword. By taking a few seconds to apply keywords on import, you will save a lot of time later.
You can even add a develop preset which applies your favourite settings to the imports. You can tweak settings later, but lay the foundation of your post-processing edits on import.
When you’ve finished working, you also have export tools. You can rename images and apply output sharpening. Lightroom makes the changes automatically. You don’t have to think about it.
8. Have a System to Find Your Images Faster
I’ve wasted a lot of time looking for images. If I only had a few, I could probably remember where I put them. But after 1,000 (or 100,000), I need a system for storing images.
Put files in a place where you can find them later. It doesn’t matter what your system is, it’s having the system that’s important. An example of this might be Photographs>Wedding>2018.07.15 – Scott & Wendy.
Speeding up your workflow isn’t just about faster post-processing. It’s about having images at your fingertips when you need them.
7. Edit Only the Best Images
Photographers who fly through post-processing aren’t spending time on each and every photo. They only work on the best of the best.
This means having an effective culling strategy. Culling means deleting photos that didn’t work and targeting ones that did.
Rank your favourites with hearts, colors, flags, or stars. I go through my images quickly to make an initial selection. Then I do it again, narrowing down my favourites. My top shots get more stars. You don’t have to use my system but have a system.
I’m only going to post-process my favourites. I’ve been burned too often. I’ve post-processed an image only to find better light or composition on the next image.
To make this process faster, use a tool like Photo Mechanic. This is a program designed specifically to speed up the culling process.
Post-processing only the best of the best will greatly speed up your workflow.
6. Eliminate Keystrokes
Photo adjustments can be highly repetitious. Use any keyboard shortcuts offered by your post-processing program.
If you are able to do with one keystroke that would normally take two, you’ve saved yourself time and energy. It might not seem like a lot but think of all those thousands of photos in your catalogue. A one-second keystroke becomes a lot when multiplied by a 1000 or 100,000.
For instance, use Lightroom’s Auto-Advance function. To activate this, place a checkmark next to Photo>Auto-Advance. When you add a flag or star during culling, Lightroom automatically advances to the next image. This saves you hundreds of keystrokes each time you cull images.
There are many Lightroom shortcuts. “X” for reject. “D” to switch to the Develop Module. “V” to convert to black and white. Here’s a complete list of Lightroom shortcuts.
5. Use Presets and Auto For Quick Adjustments
It’s quicker to tweak adjustments than apply them from scratch. Start post-processing by using auto options or presets.
The auto-icon usually looks like a magic wand. The software analyzes your image and makes changes. You can check to see what settings Lightroom recommends by clicking the auto button in the Basic panel. If you don’t like the results, you can always undo the changes.
I like a lot of the settings Lightroom suggests, but others I tweak. I tend to like a lot more contrast than Lightroom suggests.
Presets or filters apply a look to your photography with one click. You can download filters or make your own. In Lightroom, you can save favourite settings as a preset. To do this, click the “+” next to the Presets panel in the Develop module. Select Create Preset.
In Photoshop, I save a series of commands as an action.
Saving settings as a preset means that I can apply these with one click.
4. Use Batch-Editing
You may often photograph a series of photos in the same scene or with the same subject. They will have similar lighting and camera settings. There’s no need to post-process each image separately. Instead, batch edit.
Batch editing means post-processing more than one photo at a time.
There are a couple of ways you can do this in Lightroom. You can copy and paste the settings or use the Sync button.
Start by editing one photo.
To copy your settings, select the image you’ve edited and go to Edit>Copy (Ctrl or ⌘C). A dialogue box will appear asking which settings you want to copy. You can check all or individual settings. Then select an unedited image and paste the settings Edit>Paste (Ctrl or ⌘V).
To sync settings, select all similar photos starting with the photo you’ve edited. Click the Sync button in the Develop module. That’s it! Your settings will be applied to all of the photos. It doesn’t matter if you selected two or two hundred.
3. Streamline Your Editing Process
Once you start editing images, have a system. It doesn’t matter what that system looks like – just that you do the same adjustments in the same order.
Some photographers go straight down the Develop Module panel in Lightroom. They fix the Basic settings first, then move down the list. Skip over the settings that don’t apply to your photographic style.
My first change is composition. I crop the image. There’s nothing worse than removing dust spots, straightening lines, and adding a vignette – only to then crop out my hard work. After cropping, I move onto contrast, highlights, shadows, color, and details.
Decide on the settings that you care about most and make changes in the same order. If you often have to go back to readjust a setting, change the order. For instance, adding dehaze often darkens the image. This means I have to readjust exposure. The more you can automate your editing, the faster you will be.
2. Edit on the Go
I have found myself sitting on a plane, train, or bus home from a session, itching to start post-production. Put that time to work.
Set up a mobile post-processing workspace on a laptop or mobile device. This won’t necessarily replace your primary workspace, but you can get started editing. By the time you’re home, you can have your images imported into Lightroom, added keywords, and started culling.
1. Be Decisive
When I think about the things that slow down my workflow, I have to admit that most of the time it’s me.
There are a thousand ways to edit a digital image. I am at my most efficient in post-processing when I’m decisive. I waste time when I vacillate between possibilities. There’s no harm in trying a few different ways of post-processing an image. But then I need to make a choice.
It’s easier if I only have two choices in front of me. This photo or that? This white balance or that?
There is no right way of post-processing an image. It only matters that you like it.
There you go. My top ten photo editing tips to speed up your workflow. This article is more about streamlining how you deal with your images than on how to edit photos. Spending more time at the beginning of the process will stop time being wasted later on.
I use these tips when it comes to my work, and it took a while for the process to become streamlined. Find your own way and share your tips in the comments below.
Jenn Mishra is a fine art travel and landscape photographer based in the St. Louis metro area. Jenn is an active photographic educator and has been invited to speak at conferences such as Out of Chicago. Her photos have been featured in a number of solo exhibitions. Her studio is Wits End Photography. You can see more of Jenn’s photo at http://www.jennifermishra.com or visit her Instagram @jennatwitsendMore By Jenn Mishra >
It might seem counterintuitive but focusing on a specific corner of the market — whether that be multi-generational travel, cruising or European vacations —is key. Doing so can turn your travel agency into a powerhouse, enabling your business to attract more clients, while showcasing you as an expert in a specific area. You’ll also spend less time researching trips as you continue to build your knowledge about your specific target audience and their needs.
This philosophy is one that Sharon Little, Owner of Bespoke Travel Group, always believed. She knew that, at some point, she would become known for a niche of her own. After all, she had always worked in one, initially in sports travel in the United Kingdom, and then in romance travel thereafter. But an even more specific corner of the market became clear in 2011 on a trip to Jamaica.
“I noticed at every property I visited, there were several weddings each day,” says Little. It turns out that Jamaica is one of the easiest places for Americans to get married legally, and the island offers several other perks for couples, including tropical vibes and close proximity to the East Coast and Midwest. Little also loved the island, so the decision she made was easy: her agency, Bespoke Travel Group (formerly known as Wedding and Honeymoon Travel Group), would focus on couples headed to Jamaica for weddings or honeymoons. “It was my niche within a niche,” Little jokes.
For three to four years, Little only booked these two types of trips, despite getting inquiries for other destinations. Working with top suppliers and vendors, she quickly achieved her goal and became the leading agency for weddings on the island. Although Bespoke Travel now offers trips to a variety of other islands and Mexico, Little is first and foremost an authority on Jamaican romance travel.
“If you’re good at what you do, and you have that knowledge, you become the authority for that niche and the go-to person,” said Little. “Not only were we getting referral business from our customers, but the partners that we worked with often recommended us to their clients, too.”
By zeroing in on a specific travel segment, Little’s reputation precedes her. Her job also requires far less research than if she were booking for a broader range of destinations, saving her valuable time on a day-to-day basis.
“We know what time the sun sets and what time the sun’s actually going down. We know how windy that location is. We know how long it’s going to take the bride to get from her room to the altar and we know what the walkway looks like. Essentially, we know every minute detail. To me, that’s a huge benefit I can offer clients,” Little says. “It also makes the job exponentially easier. Once you have your niche down, you basically know everything, or the majority of the knowledge that you need for every single inquiry.”
Another advantage of a specialization is that competition is reduced and the return on budgeting dollars — because they are focused — is higher. “I’d much rather be laser-focused on a smaller audience but convert them to clients at a much higher rate,” says Little.
How to find your own niche
This starts with discovering your passion. Little suggests asking yourself what you enjoy selling. Whether it is retreat trips for artists, deep-sea fishing excursions or heritage travel to Eastern Europe, it is crucial that you truly enjoy that type of travel and crafting those itineraries.
“If you’re a generalist right now, look at all the different types of travel you are booking,” Little suggests. “Maybe you love planning European itineraries or multi-generational families getting together and having a great experience. Regardless, it must be something you really love. If you aren’t excited about it, it’s not your niche.”
Next, research the market to understand if you can make a living on that slice of the pie. Is it big enough? Is it already saturated? In finding or developing your niche market, ensure it has accessible customers, room for growth, and no dominant competition.
Identifying and researching areas you are passionate about can be the fun part. Where most advisors get stuck is committing to their chosen niche. For a period, this likely means turning down work and getting through a hard transition period with a lower income stream. In Little’s case, she planned for a slow period of three to six months — the approximate amount of time it took her to change her message and let it filter down to her target customers. The success that followed is a testament to the idea that the foundation for a great business takes time and patience.
Little’s advice to weather the transition is to be prepared for short-term losses, partner with the best vendors and suppliers, and keep your eye on the long game. Now with 10 years of business behind her, she says the payoff is worth the initial hardships she had to overcome. Luckily for her, in just 12 to 18 months she was pulling in over a million dollars in revenue.
Get your message out there
Like so many elements of business today, social media is a key to keeping clients informed of any pivot your agency makes. Use these channels to communicate what your agency is learning and where it is going. “You’re just trying to get the word out there,” says Little. “’Hey, I’m doing this class today,’ or, ‘Hey, I’m in this destination today, and I’m learning about this.’ It’s about involving them in your learning process. In keeping them updated and letting them know what it is that you’re doing, you’re developing your education and keeping clients informed.”
When Little was starting out, social media wasn’t what it is today and she didn’t have a significant following. She turned to referrals, which is another classic tool to help grow a niche market. In the world of romance travel, it is likely that every bride getting married knows at least three other brides getting married within a couple of years. Little seized on that opportunity. “We would go to our brides with a referral program and ask them if they knew anyone getting married or getting engaged,” she explains. “We would ask them if they knew anyone or heard of anyone who’s looking for this type of service, to please keep us in mind. And, that has worked really, really well for us.”
The work of having an agency focused on a niche isn’t done after you have a regular roster of clients booking trips. Tending to your niche is just as important as committing to it. “It’s a partnership and a relationship that needs continuous nurturing,” says Little. “There’s high turnover in the hotels and the wedding teams, and properties constantly have new products, new packages and new customizations you need to know about.”
Focusing on a niche requires finding your passion, committing to your corner of the market and constantly nurturing its growth. “I don’t want to be a Jack of all trades, master of none,” Little says. “I want to be a big fish in a small pond. Because for me, sticking to a niche has absolutely worked.”
In searching for your own portion of paradise, remember that new niches are created all the time — think film tourism, trips for those who only travel with pets or adventure travel for women over 50. For Little, it was a perfect pairing of romance and an accommodating island in the West Indies. For you, the opportunities are endless.
Originally appeared in the spring 2022 issue of The Compass Magazine.
Business travel is back! As you may have read previously, I recently traveled to Mexico for the Romance Travel Forum. This was my first in-person event since March of 2020 and I must say it was so many feelings all jumbled up into one anxious mind and body! But maybe that is all for another buzz
Travel is beyond ramped back up! My business travel schedule has certainly hit the ground running at breakneck speed as well. My last few events have given me the opportunity to really spend some time talking to advisors about the main focuses in their business, the type of travel they feel confident
These five resorts have just come onto the scene. Put them on your list for your clients who are always looking for something new. 1. Live Aqua Beach Resort Punta Cana, Dominican Republic Opened: February 2021 You Can’t-Miss: Seven on-site restaurants featuring traditional and avant-garde local an
Need some inspiration? Or have you got a great photo location you want to share with other photographers? These apps and websites will do just the job
Finding amazing places to explore with your camera can be challenging particularly if you’re after something unusual. Thankfully there are plenty of apps that will help, from those offering simple inspiration and directions to others that will help you plan when to be there and at what time to get a specific kind of shot.
Here are some of the best location-scouting apps to help you find a great place to take your camera…
1 Atlas Obscura
Although it’s not specifically aimed at photographers, Atlas Obscura is hugely useful if you’re after something unusual.
“If you’re looking for something unusual, unexpected and, for the most part, largely ignored by my Instagrammers, Atlas Obscura is a must-have to check…”
Based on a website that’s been around for over a decade, its database of almost 25,000 unique places in the world depends on user-generated content and mostly comprises unusual and obscure travel destinations. We’re talking deserted buildings, weird architecture and things that appear to be out of place.
Some of them aren’t particularly photogenic – they’re only here because they have an interesting backstory – but a great deal of them are must-see, must-photograph places. If you’re looking for something unusual, unexpected and, for the most part, largely ignored by my Instagrammers, Atlas Obscura is a must-have to check before you go … anywhere.
Perhaps because it’s been around for a long time, the database behind the Atlas Obscura website helps the app seem both professional and polished. For example, for each location you not only get directions For Google Maps, but you also get a link to the official website, where appropriate. you can also add any location to a list, make edits to existing entries and even add your own photos. However, you can use the Atlas Obscura app without signing-up or logging in.
If you want to shoot a sunset, sunrise, or a rising or setting full moon then you simply must download the PhotoPIlls app. When you’re in position you can use its augmented reality mode to display on your smartphone exactly where on horizon the Sun and the Moon will be at a specific time. It means you can can get in an exact position at an exact time to photograph, say, the Moon rising between two buildings.
It works really well when you’re in position, but its ‘planner’ page – a map with the exact direction of the Sun and Moon, as well as the times of golden hours, blue hour and even the length of shadows – is excellent for helping you scout out a good location in advance.
As well as being great for getting your angles right for the Sun and the Moon, PhotoPills is also an excellent source of information about meteor showers. Although displays of so-called ‘shooting stars’ tend to be hyped up by the media, the brightness of the Moon can render some of them completely invisible. PhotoPills includes dates for all active meteor showers, but crucially also includes the phase and illumination percentage of the Moon.
MapAPic doesn’t offer you any inspiration or information on new photo locations. Instead it enables you to get as much out of places you’re currently in, you’ve recently been to or that you intend to visit soon. For example, if you’re in location or you’ve recently been somewhere and you’ve taken a photo that includes GPS data – likely from your smartphone or connected camera – then this app will create a new location, and then give you the option to add a photo.
However, the magic comes from its ‘sun insights’ page, which for very specific places will give you the exact times for astronomical night, dawn, the morning and evening golden hours, and the evening blue hour. You can also make notes about the location, back-up your favourite locations to Dropbox and share and print PDFs.
MapAPic is a unique resource for photographers who intend to return to specific destinations. It gives you the exact times on any given date that you need to be in position to get a specific shot. However, given that this app is taking-in incredibly detailed information from all kinds of photographers it’s a shame you can’t browse others’ stored locations.
4 TripBucket Mobile
Recently re-named (it used to be called Roadside Attractions Guide), this app has the tag-line “dream it, plan it, do it, share it”, which neatly summarises what it’s all about. The main way to interrogate its contents is by allowing it to see your location, which it uses to show you large thumbnail photos of attractions and things to do nearby.
However, you can also zoom-in on a map, browse via category or see upcoming events. Scan down the list and it takes you farther from your location. Click on the thumbnail and you’ll see a brief description, a useful gallery of photos, driving directions using the usual smartphone navigation apps, and even the current weather. You can also add your own photos and share each location with others. Annoyingly you have to create an account to get access, but once you’re in it’s really easy to use.
A polished yet relatively simple app, TripBucket Mobile is essentially for travellers looking for inspiration and ideas when planning trips, so it should appeal mostly to travel photographers. It also has a fabulous section of about 100 virtual tours where you can choose a destination or theme – including Tokyo, Angkor Wat in Cambodia and the U.S. National Parks – and then see 360º photos of those top attractions. It’s useful for planning potential shots.
5 rGPS (Really Good Photo Spots)
What the aptly-named Really Good Photo Spots lacks in content it makes up for with in-depth detail. It’s a fairly simple database of interesting places, which you can interrogate by asking the app to look for spots around you using your phone’s location, or buy a manual search. You can also add your own spots and create trips, though the latter is a premium feature only.
What makes rGPS different to some of the more travel-centric apps is that not only is it focused purely on photography, but for each location, it also gives you the exact GPS coordinates. However, the app does have a fairly rudimentary feel about it, and each page features ads, albeit rather small.
You don’t get a friendly welcome on rGPS. First it asks for your email and a password to sign-up – with no Facebok or Apple/Google auto-signup possible – then immediately asks for £8.99 for a one-year, auto-renewing subscription. That gets you no ads and the ability to both create and save trips, as well as save locations for offline access. That could be useful if you’re away from mobile phone networks and WiFi.
Here’s an app that has a lot of potential, but so far lacks content. A crowdsourcing app that relies on photographers submitting their own photos and details of where they were taken, Photomapper presents a map of the world that you can zoom in on. As you do you see photos for various locations with a small blue number indicating how many shooting locations are included for that city, region or country. You then just click on the thumbnails to reveal small versions of all the photos submitted, with each one including information on the best time to go and details about entrance fees, if relevant.
You’ll need an account with Photomapper to start adding your own photos and tips, but you don’t need to sign-up or login to passively use Photomapper.
For each photo it’s possible to get the exact location of where the photo was taken. It opens using either Google Maps or, on an iPhone, Apple Maps, so you can navigate straight to it. You can also use either Mapbox or OpenStreetMap for the world map.
Jamie Carter is a journalist and author focusing on stargazing and astronomy, astrophotography, and travel for Forbes Science, BBC Sky At Night magazine, Sky & Telescope, Travel+Leisure, and The Telegraph.
In the age of social media, a clear understanding of your rights as a photographer is crucial to receiving the credit you deserve. But with so much information out there, you might find yourself asking:
What laws are in place to protect photographers like me?
What do I do if someone uses my photo without permission?
How long do photographers have ownership of their images?
Copyright law in the United States prohibits the unauthorized copying of a “work of authorship.” In 1988, the following amendment was added to address visual works including photography:
“Pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works” include two-dimensional and three-dimensional works of fine, graphic, and applied art, photographs, prints and art reproductions, maps, globes, charts, diagrams, models, and technical drawings, including architectural plans. Such works shall include works of artistic craftsmanship insofar as their form but not their mechanical or utilitarian aspects are concerned; the design of a useful article, as defined in this section, shall be considered a pictorial, graphic or sculptural work only if, and only to the extent that, such design incorporates pictorial, graphic, or sculptural features that can be identified separately from, and are capable of existing independently of, the utilitarian aspects of the article.”
Phew. That’s a mouthful of legalese! So what does it mean in English? Basically, copyright law says that when you take a photograph, you become the copyright owner of the image created. This means you hold exclusive rights to:
Reproduce the photograph
Display the image in a public space
Distribute the photo
Create derivatives of the image
Seems straightforward, no? But what’s considered a “derivative?”
A “new version” of a work that is already copyrighted falls under the term of a “derivative” work. Special re-edits of movies, art reproductions, and literary translations all qualify as derivatives. A film based on a book or play is another common example.
In the realm of photography, any time someone creates a photograph that is a copy or “substantially similar” to another copyrighted work, they are potentially infringing upon the original owner’s rights.
By comparing and evaluating a derivative work to the original, a court of law can determine if any copyright laws have been violated. In other words, a photographer who went to great lengths to recreate an original work’s composition, lighting, and other creative elements would be more likely to be found guilty of copyright infringement than a photographer who simply takes pictures of subjects that already exist in other photos (i.e., monuments, nature). This means many different photographers can take photos of, say, the Golden Gate Bridge without infringing on each other’s artistic rights.
In addition to looking out for your own rights, you as a photographer need to be aware of ways you may unknowingly infringe upon another artist’s rights. The last thing you want to do is misuse another creative’s work!
Take for example Mercedes Benz’s 2018 ad campaign featuring the company’s new vehicle “barreling through Detroit’s boho Eastern Market district past commercial buildings painted with vibrant murals.” Cool concept, no doubt. But the artists who created those murals that contributed so much color and atmosphere to the campaign were never asked permission to use their work, let alone credited:
“While Mercedes sought municipal permission to make beautiful shots of its vehicles on public city streets, it did not seek the muralists’ permission to make and post images of their works on Instagram. Copyright infringement? Mercedes thought not. The muralists—James Lewis, Jeff Soto, Maxx Gramajo, and Daniel Bombardier—thought otherwise.”
It shows the importance of being aware of how others’ work appears in your photographs
It serves as an example of how your work may be misused
The exception to copyright law is when the reproduction of a photograph or visual work is deemed “fair use.” The next section digs deeper into this term.
Fair use is an exception when it comes to copyright law. Journalism, critiques, research, and teaching materials are examples of specific types of writing that allow the reproduction of copyright-protected works without the permission of the “author”.
For example, if you exhibit your photography in a gallery, an art publication generally does not need permission to reproduce your image if they’re using it as part of a critique. Or, conversely, a newspaper may publish photographs of works and use them as part of an article. Both of these are examples of copyrighted work being used under “fair use” guidelines.
When considering whether a reproduction of a work is fair use, the U.S. Copyright Act says “the factors to be considered shall include whether:
The use is of commercial nature or if it is for nonprofit education purposes
The copyrighted work is highly creative or if it is fact-based
Part of the entire original work was reproduced or just a part of it
The reproduction reduces the value of the original work or has no effect
One important thing to keep in mind is that social media marketing’s use of images very rarely falls under “fair use.” If your photographic work is being used without your permission, check out the resources from PPA below for help determining if you need to take further action.
Remember: If a company uses one of your images in their marketing—on social media or otherwise—without your approval, they are violating your rights as a creator. So, what do you do if you suspect your work of being used without your permission? PPA has resources to help you understand copyright law, and even a Copyright Infringement Tool to leave no question in your mind whether or not your rights as a creator have been violated.
Before I figured out how to change, every day of my life felt like I was losing bits and pieces of myself.
I had all these dreams, but I kept procrastinating.
I felt my future slipping through my fingers. And still, I couldn’t bring myself to do a damn thing about it — couldn’t save my own freaking life.
I felt pathetic.
But, eventually, I stopped. Just like that.
Step 1 — Decide to Change Your Life
Great advice, Ayo.
I’m sorry, but it’s the answer. It’s that simple.
I decided I was done being a loser, and then with a seemingly infinite number of baby steps, I’ve made it to the point where I am today.
You see people in the gym every single year who make it past the New Year’s resolution threshold and create a life-long habit.
Why? Because they decided to.
The distinction between wanting to do something and deciding to do it is so subtle, but it makes a world of difference.
How can you bring yourself to decide? Some of my favorite techniques are:
Future extrapolation — I always think about what my life will be like years from now if I don’t decide to do that thing I know I need to do. What will your future look like if you don’t decide to make that move you know, deep down, you need to make? Use that negativity to your advantage.
Get pissed — Inspiration is light and fluffy, but negativity cuts deep. So when I’m on the fence, feel scared, and find myself hesitating, I beat myself up until I do it. I don’t automatically make the tough decisions I need to make right away, just because I’m a self-help writer. Like I said, it’s hard to bring yourself to do the things you need to do. Sometimes, it takes a ton of repetition.
Positive Visualization — Positive visualization can and does work, but I put it last because you can easily fall into the trap of having a never-ending daydream about the person you can become. Be careful with this one, but yes, do take time to actively and vividly picture what a better life would look like. This only works when combined with the work, though.
Step 2 — Do the Work
Wow, what an amazing pep talk here Ayo! Do the work! Such sage advice!
As cliche as it sounds…one step at a time my friend.
What are you trying to do with your life?
What do you want to change?
Ok, first you decide. Then, you do the teeniest tiniest steps consecutively until you get momentum. That’s it. This little mini-empire I have started with writing one blog post.
If you want to get in shape, you have to go to the gym for the first time.
If you want to be a writer, you have to write one thing — could be 10 minutes worth of writing, but you have to do it.
If you want to start a business, you have to do whatever the teeniest tiniest step is…maybe googling “How to Start an Online Business” is step one. Then maybe you find a list of businesses you could start.
Then you find a guide on how to start that specific type of business. Maybe the guide has 17 steps to it. Do step 1 on day 1[….] step 17 on day 17. Break it down into the smallest chunks you need.
“How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.”
You kill procrastination by creating a system. Your system has rituals and practices you force yourself to do at first, but become second nature over time.
Reverse engineer your goals to what you need to do now. Create an environment that helps you get to work as soon as possible.
Put your gym clothes in the car so you don’t have to stop home to change after work. Leave your phone in another room while you work on your blog posts. Batch tasks. Throw your Xbox in the trash. Use tiny checklists and cross them off.
When you feel like hesitating, take a deep breath, and count down from five. Once you reach one, you have to start the task. I used to do this in the mornings when I needed to wake up early to write.
Eventually your systems create momentum and all of a sudden your entire life has changed.
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