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Paid to Travel the World

Lesson 39 from: Adventure Photography Pro

Alex Strohl

Paid to Travel the World

Lesson 39 from: Adventure Photography Pro

Alex Strohl

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Lesson Info

39. Paid to Travel the World

The big question: How do you get paid to travel the world? It does sound too good to be true, the idea that someone is going to hand you money to go on a trip but these people exist, they are called Tourism Boards. Learn how to pitch them step-by-step.


Class Trailer



Workshop Intro






Gear - My Camera Bags


Mastering Camera Settings


Blue Hour, A How-To


Photos That Move Us


Visual Storytelling 101


Endurance In A World Of Sprinting


Keeping Your Ideas Fresh


Building Your Story Arc


Shooting More: Action Plan


Conveying Emotions


In the Field


The Assignment: Himalaya Pre-Pro


In the Field: The Himalaya Defender Shoot


The Assignment: Canon Pre-Pro


In the Field: Canon USA Shoot




Keywords & Organizing Images


Commercial Grading


Masking & Radial Filters


Perspective Correction


HDR (Hand-Held)


Black & White Edits


Before & Afters


Moody Grading


IG Export Settings


Web Export Settings


Clone Stamping & Patch Tools


Grading in Lightroom


Hand-Held Panoramas


Radial Filters Pt 2


Delivering Files to Clients


Archiving & Organizing Images


My Favorite Software




Let's Talk Business


Building A Desirable Portfolio


How to Contact Clients


Prospecting: Finding Brands That Fit You


Getting Clients To See Our Value


Paid to Travel the World


The Art of Making Moodboards & Treatments


Keys To A Fulfilling Career


Three Things You Need To Know Before Pitching


Finding Your Value Proposition


Media Kit: A Walk Through


How I Built My Audience


Social Media Landscape


Module Recap


Bonus - Everything To Know About Filters


Do You Need Lens Filters?


Filters in The Field


Bonus - Find Your Path


Find Your Path


Bonus - How To Print Your Work


Why Print or Sell Photos


Preparing Photos for Print


Reviewing Major U.S Printers


Lesson Info

Paid to Travel the World

(gentle music) How do you get paid to travel the world? You know, it does sound too good to be true, the idea that someone is gonna hand you money, to go on a trip. But these people exist and they're called tourism boards. Let's go to the basics. Tourism boards, depending on the size, will organize several familiarization trips, they're called FAM trips or media trips every year. Their goal is to invite industry experts, travel writers, travel photographers, bloggers, anyone with some sort of influence, and have them experience the best that the country or region has to offer. In return for that experience, you know, the tourism board hopes the guest will then share the experience with their audience through an article, a blog post, a video, whatever their craft is, the tourism board wants this attendee to share it on that platform. This model has been working for decades, but the advent of travel influencers has complicated things, right? Because traditionally travel writers, they w...

ill be paid by their publication to write the article, travel bloggers will make ad revenue from their blog, but travel influencers, it's not a beautiful word, but it is a word, they won't make a dime on any of the content they produce while they're on the trip, because they don't have any way to monetize their social feeds, right? Unless they're, you know, massive YouTubers who make assent revenue, but these guys are the exception not the rule. So your average Instagram photographer, who goes on a FAM trip and doesn't get paid by the client, is essentially making zero, right? But a travel writer that was working for, I don't know, New York Times will be paid by the publication to go on the trip and to write an article. Here's the good news: what the travel industry has been doing now is paying fees to these travel influencers, and the more experience they have... The more the experience and audience they have, the larger the fee. And they've been paid to come on such, you know, FAM trips. Essentially, they have created a breed of people, who get paid to travel the world. And oftentimes from my experience, it's just as much or bigger than commercial rates. Most of my favorite assignments have been with tourism boards, I love working on these projects because I get to, you know, experience a lot of cool stuff, meet new people and sort of be exposed to new cultures, and you know, so the icing on the cake is that I get total freedom to, you know, to create any work I want. The freedom thing is very important, you know, for any creators and the reason why tourism boards gives you so much freedom is because they're inviting you to make content for your audience, right? So as the guy who's built that audience, you as the person who's built that audience, you're supposed to be the one who knows best what that audience wants to see, right? And the clients understand that. So that's pretty much how you get paid to travel the world. So now we can end the episode here and wish you good luck but I wanna be as helpful as I can, right? So let's tackle some hard questions. As a creator, how do you pitch a tourism board? So it starts with research. Let's go through the essential facts. Who are the tourism boards that are spending now in the world? How are they spending? What type of tourism are they promoting? Does it match my style of photography, you know? Cause it's one thing that they're spending and they're hiring influencers, but does, you know, does what they do, their destination match your style of photography? What's your angle, you know? As a creator, what's the angle you wanna bring? What perceptions are you challenging? And lastly, very important for you to make good work is, you know, what geographical features attract you in that country? What's exciting to you in that country? Is it the mountains? Is it the vineyards? You name it? So once you've answered this pretty thorough list of questions, the next step is to craft a concept, you know, that matches the goals of the tourism board. You can go two ways about that, depending on how established you are: number one, you come up with a high level concept, for example, the country of Abu Dhabi spends on digital every year, right? And they invite creators like me on trips there. I've found that the majority of the trips they've been doing have been focused on high-end hotels, okay? After doing some location research, I found that there's a massive desert in Abu Dhabi, it's called the Empty Quarter, which looks amazing, and I'd like to spend a few days there living like a nomad. So just like, in a nutshell, you have your concept and the pitch, your concept is like, I wanna live in the desert for a while, and I wanna show what's that like to promote the desert. And the pitch is, all the stuff you've been doing is focused on high-end hotels, but nobody's showing, you know, what the Empty Quarter is, so this is my difference, and this is what I wanna bring to you. Now, if you're established in travel photography, you've done work for... Established meaning that you've done work for several tourism boards, or you have a following in the tens of thousands, you can try to go straight to the client with a short premise. You can reach out to them in the ways that I've outlined in the outreach episode and see if there's interest. If there is, then you can start building a treatment for them and you can show what, you know, you're really trying to do. The advantage of this approach is that you don't have to go massively deep into the project before even talking to the client, right? And that's always something I strive to avoid. So that is the first way you can talk to your tourism board with this pitch and sort of get them behind it, right? That way of doing things requires that you're a bit more established, and you have some experience doing that, and it's not everybody that has it. But if you're minimally established in the tourism industry, you've done some few jobs, you can definitely go through route number one. Now there's a second route, number two, we call it, and it's for those of you who don't have any track record working in the tourism industry. So how do you get paid to travel the world? Let's answer that. Your other option, because you're not established, or you don't a big audience is that you have to do all the work upfront. That is, such is life, right? If you don't have the credentials, you gonna have to put in way more work, and it's not totally fair but, I want you to get the best chances at, you know, going on a cool trip. So what you have to do is pretty much go through all the steps that I've just mentioned earlier, and then on top of that, you gotta also assume that you're on the right track, and you have to make a treatment before you even reach out to the client. I know it sucks because you have to be making assumptions of what the client wants to see, what they wanna promote, and it's not always the best scenario, but if you're really committed to making a trip happen, you're gonna have to put in this extra work. So when you send your treatment, and you've done all your research, you want the client to realize a few things when they see that pitch. They wanna see that: one, you've done your research, and your concept aligns with their goals, and this is very important, you gotta align with their goals, right? So you have to do research on their goals. Number two, is that you have the experience necessary to make this happen for them, right? Meaning, you've worked in some other shoots, some other capacity, it doesn't have to be the tourism industry, but some way to show them that you're worth trusting, and you're worth their time. Number three is that, sounds a bit silly, but you're nice to work with, nobody wants to work with an idiot, right? So you have to, in your treatment, in your way of communication with them, you have to show that you're nice to work with, and you gonna make their lives easy. Number four, your idea is presented in an original way, right? It shouldn't look dull visually, and I'm not talking about crazy snazzy graphic design, I'm just talking about a way that you've curated your photos and your treatment, like we've seen earlier, in a way that shows you have the right visual taste. You're not just doing the same old pitch, they see a lot of pitches these guys at, you know, tourism boards, right? So you wanna make yours stand out through good design. If you're stuck with inspiration, you can go on sites like dribbble, or .net, and just start searching for like trending projects in graphic design, and you gonna get a lot of cool ideas of how to lay things out. But it's important that, you know, your ideas presented in an original way. And then the last step, I think we're at number (chuckles) five, you know, you want them to know that they can easily get in touch with you and that they should get in touch with you, right? So email, phone number, just tell them like, "Hey let's talk, I'll walk you through the deck," just make it easy for them. Since you've invested quite a few hours on this, right? You're pretty deep into it, you're better off to maximize your chances, using a creative way to contact the client. You can look at the outreach episode again on how to do that phone call, you send a letter, you send them a physical object you know, you're committed, you want this thing to happen, you cannot not do it, so give yourself all the chances. As an example, because I wanna give you everything I know in this workshop, here's a treatment that successfully convinced the Tourism Board of Slovenia to do a project with me last summer. The way it all worked out is that I had a past working relationship with Slovenia. I created it because I love that country, and I reached out to them long time ago and ended up doing a small project. It starts small and we grew into larger projects. Because I like to keep tabs of travel industry trends, I saw that they were opening a new hiking trail in Slovenia and it was called the Juliana Trail, okay? Like anybody who launches a new product, to me, a tourism board is not different than a commercial brand. They're launching a new product, right? So I'm like, "How can I help these guys, you know, "promote their new trail?" That's their goal, they're doing a new trail, they probably wanna get some eyes on it. So I build this deck that I'm gonna show you right now, to convince them to do the project, right? So I'm gonna show you what exactly convinced Slovenia to give us tens of thousands of dollars to go to Slovenia, make a film, make some photos and smash a project for them. Okay, so here we got just a photo that I shot, so here we got a photo from Slovenia that I had the luxury of shooting a summer or two ago. So I already have photos of Slovenia, which makes my treatments much easier, right. I don't have to go to the internet and find photos of Slovenia. So simple Slovenia, and then to join up cycling trail, so they know what I'm about to pitch them right from the get go. Cool photo of jewel drooling, just to establish the video mood, it's always nice. Boom! Smashing the concept right here. I'm not gonna read it all to you, but you can read it in parts if you wanna read, essentially you wanna come back to nature, right? And then we wanna convince them that we wanna show what it's like to hike the 300 kilo long Juliana Alps Trail, right? It wasn't called the Juliana back then I think yet. Then in addition to that, we'd create an image library licensed for STOs use, STO is Slovenia Tourism Office. So we gonna do two things they need, right? We gonna promote and show what it's like to do the Juliana Trail, and we gonna give them photos, cause they will need these photos to promote the trail, right? So they're getting two in one. Just a visual mood board app here, past photos because I had them, laying off a cool visual vibe, like nobody wants to look at something that's boring, right? So I'm making it this exciting, and here's the packages: one's called the Grintovec and one's called the Triglav. The Grintovec is a smaller mountain in Slovenia, the Triglav is the biggest mountain in Slovania. I just thought I'd make it funny and name the packages, yeah, the big one is the big mountain, and the small is the small mountain. You don't have to do this stuff, but if you have already a relationship with the client, they might think it's funny, I don't know. Like I said, it's proper presenting things in an original way, so I'm not gonna miss any chance to do that. So deliverables are here: Grintovec is three IG post, daily IG stories coverage, one YouTube film, some cut-downs for STO, so meaning they can get ads for them to use on retargeting on Facebook ads or they can give to the press and the Triglav, notice how much it's got pretty much everything doubled up, it's got double the select, double the post, it's got Facebook in the middle, cause why not? It's got an IG TV, which the other one doesn't have so, essentially when there's like more than two packages or even more than one package, I want to make the first package to be good, like a good way to do it, but if you have a bit more disposable income, that disposable things to spend on this project, which I don't know, I obviously want them to get the bigger one, right? It's kinda like when you buy an iPhone, you know when you go to the site, it's a hundred bucks more to double their storage. So most of us are gonna double our storage cause why not, right? And it doesn't cost anything to Apple to get double storage. Same here, so I'm presenting... it's all skewed in a way that you wanna get the package too, and the price doesn't double from package one to package two, it's a 35% price increase, so then he makes it an obvious deal, right? That's a simple negotiation techniques. And then some example work that we've done, and then see this line, like I was telling you earlier, external media publishers, optional features on the outbound, gear patrol and anchorage just like I was telling you earlier, you have to expand your reach as a creator, so I'm letting the brands, I'm letting the tourism board expand the reach of this if they want, for the outbound if you're pursuing on great, so if they wanna do that, I'll just put them in touch with my contact there, and they can take over. I might get a kickback, I might not get a kickback, doesn't matter. And then additional amplification, it is shown how many visitors the outbound has, how many gear patrol has, and end up on a cool photo of a glacier. Boom, so very simple, this didn't take more than an hour and a half of design, and it sold the client on the project so, to me, that's a win. So to wrap things up, if you wanna get paid to travel the world in 2020, start doing your research, keep tabs on websites like, I'll just link it in the PDF. Skiff, this is a place where I keep tabs of industry trends, travel industry trends. You have to plant seeds everywhere, you have to keep tabs on all these things because they'll come back at you, and you take all that research you do, don't get stuck too long on the research part, right? Research can be paralyzing, it's easy to get stuck and just keep researching until I don't know, cows turn blue or something like that. I think that's an expression. But I do 10% research and 90% action. I just need enough research to start pitching, and keeping tabs on, you know, the trends, and then building a beautiful PDF. This was done on InDesign, I could have done this on Keynote, you can also do this on and IICE. So if you put together a treatment, now you can for sure share it on the forum, I'll be up there to check it out.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

A Note From Alex

Ratings and Reviews


Not What I Was Expecting Let me just start by saying that the workshop was very good. There were lots of things that I learned and many insights I took away. Perhaps the greatest bit of wisdom imparted to me was not anything Alex said but how he approached every subject he talked about. I felt that he was talking to me as a friend, very personal and open book. This was both a blessing and a curse as the course tends to meander around and is not as structured as others I've taken. Alex's passion for the highest quality, and craftsmanship in every aspect of his business, is very evident. From the premiums he charges, to the attention to detail in client deliveries. This is where my review is going to give some hopefully constructive criticisms. For someone so focused on a premium experience I was a surprised to find the course a bit sloppily assembled, and the videography and editing lackluster. This is coming from a videographer and someone with a lot of experience in online training. A few short examples to illustrate my point include: repeating segments of the edit (in some instances the exact same segment), poor framing. Colors changing between cuts, and my biggest pet peeve, not leaving photo examples on for long enough to see them. These are all small things, but they add up, and along with the topics meandering, left me a bit disappointed. I'm curious who you would say this class is aimed towards. Amateurs, mid-level, or experts? The assumption of who you are addressing changes throughout the course. I feel like with a bit of work from an instructional designer, and some editing cleanup, you could help hone this course to be one of the best out there. I feel like I need to do a more in depth review than will fit here, to actually explain this well. Let me know if that would be helpful to you. One other note: When I signed up for a workshop on Adventure Photography, I honestly thought it would be more field focused. The field examples were all shoots for products, and not shoots documenting an adventure. I guess I had just hoped to learn that side of the storytelling process more. Getting into the nitty gritty of being wet, cold, and dirty, and still shooting bangers. The section on filters (going out and building the snow cave) was more what I thought this course was going to be. Anyhow, with all that said, I still found it valuable and worthwhile. To summarize, the course feels a bit unpolished and in some ways unfinished though there is still great value. I've taken Jimmy Chin's Masterclass on adventure photography and it felt very structured and highly polished. I purchased "Adventure Pro" on the "finish in a month" discount. I would have felt ripped off if I had paid full price with the course in its current state. Thanks for reading and I hope my criticisms come as helpful. As I've already mentioned I'd be happy to further elaborate.

Topher Hammond

One of the best photography investments I'm only 1/4 of the way through Alex's course and I feel like I already have a loose plan on how I can move forward in my own career as a photographer. I felt like my work was lacking a specific feeling. The way that Alex articulated ideas on how to convey emotion in your imagery and building that overarching story arc for your own life narrative were super helpful to focus on how to make my work better. Super looking forward to the rest of this course. Thanks Alex and team!

Sergi Mas de xaxars Rosell

Great Workshop I learned quite a lot with this workshop. Because I'm in the industry for 5 years now, there were a few things I already knew. On the other hand, Alex showed me different and more effective ways to improve my business. I like the way he gives the lessons, always in a personal and close way. This is the knowledge I wish I had when I started. Totally worth it!

Student Work