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Pricing Yourself as a Photographer

This has got to be my number one question that fills my inbox. And while I'd love to say that I personally have got this topic down pat and am confident in how to start this dialogue-I'm filled with a bit of anxiety. Not because I don't want to reveal this information-if fact I think it's a subject that desperately needs to be talked about. It's because I don't think there's a step-by-step guide that I can create that will work across the board for every single photographer. All I can offer are tips that I've picked up along the way that have worked for me. I think some of these tips are for sure universal, but every photoshoot you get hired to do will have a different budget. So there isn't a "You should charge $____ and don't take any more or less" type situation. Regardless, I hope this helps you guys or at least can unify the community more!

Ask Questions. Before I start hammering out to brands on how much a charge, I always try to ask as many questions about the shoot first. How long is the shoot? How many models? How many outfits? Inside or outside location? Do you have a hair/makeup artist? What's the theme or style of the shoot- do you have a mood board to go off of? How many edited photos do you need? This way I can get a feel for how produced the shoot is and what is required of me as the photographer. If it's inside, then I'll probably have to bring my lighting equipment. Or I might have to hire an assistant if we are shooting outside and I need a reflector. By knowing all of this information I can start to see how much I'll need to charge-because renting lighting equipment is expensive and I don't want to have to pay for an assistant if the shoot doesn't need one.

What you pitch isn't always what you get. Most of the time, when a client approaches you to shoot, they really want to work with YOU. So don't be scared that your rate is going to be too high for your client-because even if it is, usually they are open to negotiating in order to still secure you as their photographer. I always write in my emails something like, "Normally I quote $____ for this type of project, but I'm not sure what your budget is so let me know your thoughts." This way I'm showing them my rate but also leaving the door open for negotiation if it's outside of their budget. Don't get tangled up in the idea that other photographers always get paid what they pitch-from my experience it's always a negotiation battle.

I'm hungry. In the freelance world, you will find yourself either extremely busy or going long periods of time without getting booked. The 'dry months' as I've heard it be called, or as I like to say, the "I'm hungry" months 😬, will push your pricing boundaries. Some photographer peers of mine like to account for these slow months in the rate they get paid during the busy months. I definitely try to save money to keep me afloat-but I also have taken on some lower budget projects during the slow seasons.

Happy Medium. A friend once told me, "Half of your clients should say your rate is too high, and the other half should say that they can afford it." So by following that rule, I've been able to toggle my rate back and forth until I found that happy medium. Everyone saying they can afford your rate no problem-without any negotiating needed? Then raise it a bit. Everyone saying you are too freakin expensive? Then lower your rate a little.

Overbooked and overworked. I've had moments where my calendar schedule was swapped with back to back shoots. Sounded awesome at first because I was happy to get booked consistently and know that my rent was covered for that month--BUT now all my free time was spent editing. I had no time to update my website, reach out to new opportunities, or even respond to emails. So I had a moment of reflection: what if I raised my prices so that I got booked less often? That way my schedule wasn't overbooked, I made more money, and I didn't have to stay up late at night editing photos. This was a big realization for me. It's kind of like the 'supply and demand' theory. If you are becoming highly in demand for photoshoots, you raise your price in order to not be overbooked.The other option is just to say 'no' to work after a certain point. But if you're a workaholic like me and have a hard time saying 'no' to jobs, then you might want to consider raising your price if month after month you are overbooked. Just be careful not to raise it too high all at once because your returning clients might raise an eyeball and not hire you again.

Don't feel alone in all of this. Questions about money and how to price yourself ARE TOTALLY HARD!! It's also such a broad topic so if I didn't answer your questions, feel free to directly email me or send me a DM on Instagram. I hope this article was able to clear the air a little bit though and inspire you guys to keep moving forward! We are all in this together πŸ‘Š

Basic Shooting Techniques

These key points are what goes through my mind on every photoshoot. Although they are 'basic' rules, they still hold a lot of weight in all my photoshoots and outline the foundation for photography as a whole ✨

1. Focus, focus, focus. Yeah, pretty obvious but I've actually had clients tell me horror stories where most of the images they received back were out of focus. And this isn't a simple-you're shooting too fast and you just made a blurry image, or you accidentally set the focus on the model's hand instead of her eyes. It's actually all about your F-Stop. If you're shooting below a 5.6 F-Stop, chances are some of the details in your photo will be out of focus. I've seen lots of beginner photographers get soooo excited about shooting at a 2.8 F-Stop or lower because it makes the background blurry. This can look cool and artsy if that's what you're going for-BUT if you are hired to shoot jewelry or clothing details, this ain't gonna cut it. Because you won't just blur out the background, your key product details will most likely be blurry too. So what I like to do is shoot at least at a 5.6 F-Stop (higher if I'm shooting jewelry)-so I have less room for error. πŸ˜„

2. White balance. It pains me deeply when people set their camera's white balance to 'auto'. That will give you the biggest headache when you start editing because every photo you've taken now has a different white balance setting. 😩 Most digital cameras give you some 'template' white balance options like-auto, outdoor, shady, cloudy, flash, etc. and even an option to manually adjust the kelvin setting. Personally I like to stay away from 'auto' and just use the 'outdoor' or 'shade' options. Another tip to try when you're shooting- is before photographing your subject, shoot something white with the same lighting/location (i.e. piece of paper or a color checker card). That way when you are editing, you have a white balance reference to go off of. In Lightroom it's super easy to batch white balance if you've prepared your shots this way. The closer you are to the perfect setting while shooting, the less likely you'll be pulling your hair out while editing.

3. Exposure. Ok I think this has got to be my number one key point. I see a lot of people over-exposing their images ALL THE TIME-and then thinking they can save it in post production. If you over or under expose your images, then there isn't any 'information' in the file to save and bring back to life. What I like to do is bring up my histogram while shooting and visually see how the camera is taking in the light from a technical point of view. That way I can see if my exposure needs to be changed. Here's an easy-to-read article about understanding your histogram-but you basically want your histogram to read just in the middle, not too far to the left (meaning it's under-exposed), or too far to the right (over-exposed). Our eyes are deceitful and won't be able to tell you this information, so take the time to actually look at the histogram to make sure the exposure is correct! Even if you're going for a 'blown' out look (or the opposite, super dark), you can always change that in post. Better to expose correctly and have room to play with the RAW files in post, than to expose incorrectly and have no file information to alter.

4. Using your Reflector. This is what I like to call the "Kiss of Light" for photography. Just a little extra something that will put that 'cherry on top' of your images. Adding a reflector to your shoot will only elevate things, so I always try to use one when I can. It will help get rid of under-eye shadows (or just shadows in general), add some extra light to a dimly lit environment, and allow you to get an even better exposure to your images. For example: If you're backlighting your subject, then in most cases your subject is now in shadow while the background is filled with bright light. If you reflect some light onto your model, then you are able to bring down your exposure-making the background and subject closer to equal exposure. Most reflectors also have a diffuser option, which can help you get a nice even light on your subject when it's super bright outside.

Also want to note-if you're shooting outdoors or in an environment where you can't control the lighting-then you'll have to check on these key points several times throughout shooting. The sunlight will change, or your client will want to switch things up and shoot in the shade, etc-so being able to understand your gear and how quickly you can switch your settings will make you look like a BOSS. Whenever I'm wanting to work on a new technique or get quicker, I'll set up a test shoot with a model to practice.

So there's your, not-so-basic, basic shooting techniques 😎 If you have further questions feel free to always send me an email at hello@champagnevictoria.com or send me a DM on Instagram @champagneunicorns πŸ¦„ Thanks for reading!

How To Travel For Free

Growing up, I had what they called, the 'travel bug': the strong desire to travel and jet-sett across the world. I had dreams of exploring ancient temples & Irish castles, eating fresh sushi in Japan, making new friends from under the Eiffel Tower, and living out my life with a passport full of stamps. But my mother was smart and always told me from day one: "If you want to travel, figure out a way to do it for free." --so I did.

Now this is all coming from the mindset of a photographer-based solely on my personal experience. I'm sure there are other ways to travel abroad for free if you're not a photographer or blogger-this is just how I figured it all out.

1. Have something of value. You don't need to have thousands of followers online, you just need something of value to offer hotels, airline, brands etc. I am a photographer/blogger, so I hold value in offering photography services and promotional partnerships. Having a large Instagram following isn't the only way of landing partnerships with companies. In the very beginning of my career, I barely had any followers online-so I offered brands photography and traveled with influencers to make up for the marketing portion of our collaborations. You just need something to offer brands when you propose a collaboration. Which leads me to....

2. Setting up collaborations. That's right it's pitch email time. What I like to do is make a list of the expenses that I need covered. Which is usually: flight, hotel, ground transportation, food, and fun activities. Then I research all of the companies that would benefit from our partnership and send them a pitch email. You're basically offering an exchange of goods: "I will offer you ____ (photos, influence, video, etc) in exchange for _____ (flight tickets, hotels, food, etc)". I will get deeper into writing pitch emails in a later blog post-but just know that YOU HAVE TO ACTIVELY REACH OUT TO COMPANIES. Just by saying online, "Hey I'm traveling to Paris, who wants to collab?", isn't going to make companies flock to you. I spend weeks emailing companies in the hopes to land one free night's stay. But if you can make it work then you've just saved hundreds-if not thousands of dollars- on your traveling expenses. So! Email those hotels, airlines, car rental companies-whoever you think would benefit from a collaboration together.

3. Bring your work abroad. Ok, so you might not get a chance to cover all your expenses while abroad-that doesn't mean you can't make money while abroad to offset those costs. Personally, as a photographer, I am able to organize photoshoots with brands while abroad, and that pays for a lot of my expenses. If you're a blogger you could offer promotional posts/blog about another company's product while traveling. Just make sure you have time to do these projects and think they are worth it. The worst thing you could do is come back home to tell a brand you didn't have time to see through their partnership.

4. Pre-plan so your costs are low. Traveling can be soooo expensive!! I will go to the extend of googling: "cheapest days to fly", or "best websites for low-airfares", or even mapping out how far of a drive my hotel is from that super cute Instagram famous backdrop--JUST TO SAVE MONEY ON GAS!! I buy my flight tickets in advance, book my hotels as soon as possible, and even create a day-by-day itinerary. I will create a list of all of the places I want to visit-research how far away they are from each other- and then make an literary that helps me save time and gas money. (I've been using this site called Travefy to help me organize my itineraries. It allows you to break down your days by the hour and you can download a PDF version to save & print!) I've even scoured TripAdvisor reviews to find out if the park I want to visit charges for parking. All of these costs add up, but if you're prepared enough you'll be able to worry less about money and more about enjoying your time 😁

5. Make trades with friends. The first two trips I did to Europe were made completely by my amazing friends who let me crash their couches. I was lucky enough to have friends in beautiful places around the world-but even if you don't know anyone who lives in London or Paris-or wherever-there are websites that can help you! One popular website that I know of is Couch Surfing. It's a site that lets you crash on peoples couches for free or even host someone from another country! Also-don't just think about your contacts, think about maybe your mom's college friend who just recently moved to Spain! Or maybe your cousin's BBF is studying abroad in Germany! The point is-use your resources and don't be scared to ask for help! People are usually more than willing to help. There is always a way-you just got to do a little digging.

Now that you know all my secrets- go forth and travel!! πŸ™Œ I hope this blog post was helpful-if you have any questions or comments please feel free to email me or DM me on Instagram @champagneunicorns πŸ¦„ Happy travels!!

Luggage sponsored by Paravel.

Luggage sponsored by Paravel.

How To Shoot Non-Professional Models

During the beginning of my career, I only shot with friends and family. Which meant I didn't have 'professional' models in front of my camera. Even the most beautiful model can take a terrible photo if they have never modeled before-its all about confidence and having a straight-A photographer behind the lens. That's why it's important to learn how to give direction and know how to pose any kind of model.

Maybe you're shooting a wedding and the bride isn't very comfortable taking photos, or maybe you need to expand your portfolio and your brother is shy but totally down to help you out. Or maybe you just got hired to shoot a lifestyle campaign for a boutique-but they hired their super cute e-comm gal as the model, and she is incredibly stiff once the shoot starts rolling...It's happened to me-it's happened to a lot of us, but don't worry, I'm here to help you out :)

1. Make them feel comfortable. Be present, sincere, and vocal about helping them get the best photo of them shot. Throw in some ice breakers, sometimes small-talk helps! Ask them how their week has been, don't just rush into shooting. Actually take ten minutes to chat about how they are doing. Know that this is a human-being and not a face to just be ordered around for your photoshoot. I like to act super goofy so the model feels like they can be completely themselves-wild and free, however weird, they can't be any crazier than me because I've already cracked all the dad jokes within the first 10 minutes of meeting each other 😬

2. Give plenty of direction. I don't know if you've ever been on the other side of the camera-but its extremely scary!!! I always hate it when a photographer doesn't give me any feedback! Am I looking the right way? Is my hair looking weird? What do I do with my hands?! 🀷 Don't be that guy. Let your model know that you got this. You're here to make them look good. Tell them to move to the left or right-let them know their blouse needs to be adjusted. When you show them exactly what you want-they feel more confident and trust you. I also show my models the photographs that we've taken as we shoot-this always boosts their confidence. Don't be scared to let them review the photos-they might get even more confident if you do!

3. Compliment your model. This leads from the last point, but it's so important! Giving your model positive feedback will only boost their confidence and make for an even better photograph. When your model doesn't feel beautiful or happy, it registers on screen. That's why it's so important to let them know they are doing an amazing job. However--know the line between being a creepy photographer who is low-key hitting on your model and someone who is giving helpful positive compliments. Say things like: "Thats a great pose-keep doing that!", "Amazing, I love this!", or my favorite, "YASS QUEEN!!"

4. Know your camera angles. This part is all on you. You need to learn all the flattering angles and how your gear works. Understand that sometimes a wide angle lens can warp your model's face but other times make your short model look runway height. It's all about how you angle the camera and distance yourself from the subject. This may take some practice and time, but it's vital homework if you want to better yourself as a photographer.

5. Have fun! No your mom isn't present and wishing you to 'have fun' at work-but understand that even adults need to enjoy themselves. The moment you loose your cool on set, is the moment you've just built a reputation as a 'lame' photographer in the business. And who wants that? Plus-this should be fun for you!! I shouldn't have to tell you to have fun-but this is life, and sometimes we get super stressed out about a shoot and forget to enjoy the present moment. Put on some music, let yourselves have a food/water break, get to know your model, and dance a little 😜

Was this post helpful? Do you have a shoot coming up that you're nervous about?? Please hit me up via email or Instagram and let me know!! I want to help! @champagneunicorns πŸ¦„

Top 5 Places in Bali to Photograph

Bali is breathtakingly beautiful-how can it not? You got waterfalls, rice terraces, monkey forests, and enough humidity & rain to keep that luscious tropical landscape ever-growing.

We had only four days to shoot in Bali and I only had about three weeks to prep everything before we left. I needed to find reliable and quick answers ASAP. Luckily (I hope) you won't be like me and plan everything last minute. But in case you are like me, here are my top 5 favorite places we shot in Bali to help you narrow down your search:

1. Handara Gold Resort I'm sure you've seen these photos before-someone perfectly centered in the middle of a large ancient temple-like-gate surrounded by low hanging clouds and jungle landscapes. Funny enough-this isn't a temple or some historical monument. Its the gate to a golf course gone completely Instagram famous. And yeah, maybe it's stupid to give fame to a golf course-but it's pretty epic looking and the closest 'gate' to Ubud. It's about an hour and a half minute drive north from Ubud's city center depending on traffic. If you want a more legit location (but much farther drive)-check out this similar gate.

2. Saraswati Temple: This place is so magical and peaceful-its a temple with a water garden and lotus pond. It's located in the city center of Ubud-walking distance to most hotels. The biggest advice I can give you-is shoot before all the tourists get there. I loved shooting here because you had so many different backdrops. I placed my model first walking along the entrance with lotus ponds on either side of her, then sitting directly in front of the temple, against some of the intricate stone carvings...the list goes on. So many options!!

3. Tegalalang Rice Terraces Layers of terraces as far as you can see create this overwhelming sense of beauty and dedicated hard work in the fields. There's nothing quite like this place! We didn't get the chance to explore the whole area because it was so large-but if you do, be sure to wear hiking shoes when you visit because the rice fields are wet and muddy. The steps are pretty steep too so be careful! What I liked most about this place was how the structure of the hill allowed us to have a constant halo/backlighting effect the whole time we shot in the morning. Once the light became too harsh, we just went down a couple stairs and BOOM-backlit again.

4. Sacred Monkey Forest Ok, warning you now-monkeys are not to be taken lightly. At one point these guys were pulling hair extensions out of Quigley's head and pulling at our skirts. DO NOT LOOK THEM IN THE EYES. Seriously, our guide said if you do, it means you are challenging them to a fight. Besides that, they are cute and make for the best photos! As far as lighting goes-you're going to have a difficult time because its spotty with the light coming through the trees or you're so deep in the jungle there is barely any light. If you're having a difficult time, I would say stay closer to the up-top terrace instead of going down into the jungle section.

5. Canggu Beach And last but not least-your most conveniently located spot for beach/sunset photos :) I had the BEST time capturing some fun/sexy photos of Quigley playing in the waves just at sunset. The colors of the sky were so beautifully pink and rosy-mixing with the sparkly reflections off the wave-total dream!! It's pretty close to Seminyak and not as crowed as the other main tourist beaches. And after you finish shooting your million dollar sunset shots, you can treat yourself to a drink at Old Man's!

Hope you find that list helpful! As always-I recommend trying to get to all of these locations before most tourists will get there. Also planning your literary out is super helpful-a lot of locations are close by each other so planing in advance will help you save time in driving back and forth across the country. I use Travefy, a website built to help organize your travel itineraries, when planning out my trips!

If you're traveling out to Bali-please hit me up if you have any questions! I'm always down to help in any way that I can-message me on Instagram at @champagneunicorns πŸ¦„ or send me an email at hello@champagnevictoria.com πŸ’Œ

Handara Gold Resort

Handara Gold Resort

How to get PAID as a Creative

Let's get one thing straight-everyone wants to know this stuff and no one is willing to share the information. I'm honestly a little bit nervous giving up this advice because it's taken me so long to accumulate the knowledge. But I'm so tired of this competitive culture surrounding photographers that something needs to change. We aren't helping or supporting each other and that's wack.

So here is goes-take this info, run with it, and share it with your other fellow photo comrades so we can keep growing and building a higher value for our work collectively:

1. FIND OUT WHAT YOU CAN OFFER. Are you a fashion photographer? Wedding photographer? Are you reallyyy good at taking photos of products or have a knack for getting that picture perfect flat lay shot? What ever it is-know what it is. Put yourself in a company's shoes: why would they want to work with you over anyone else?

2. DRAFT THAT PERFECT EMAIL. Ok, so now you got that 'thing' you're super passionate about πŸ’ Now it's time to tell people about it and get you off and running. Let's get crackin' on writing your first draft, second draft, third, fourth....tenth--whatever it takes. This is basically what they call in show biz your 'elevator pitch'. Tons of companies get hundreds-if not thousands-of emails everyday. You got like the first two sentences to get them to keep reading or else they hit that 'junk mail' button. I've been at this for years and I'm still constantly rewriting my pitch email. Alexis Teichmiller has an amazing brand template that's perfect for starting (check out her podcast too!!).

3. GET USED TO HEARING "NO". That's right. Get all your tears out now-cuz' it's going to be hard. If you can't take a thousand people ignoring your emails or outrightly saying "no", then go home Roger. There's a reason why not very many people can do this-because it's hard to hear 'no' without feeling like a failure. Just keep that tunnel vision, know your value, and trudge through those nay' sayers.

4. MAKE AMAZING WORK. Well, duh. You've got to have the dance moves to back up that talk. No company is going to want to work with you if don't deliver those amazing photos of coffee you so explicitly chalked yourself up for being a master of. If this is what you love, you got to be constantly moving and working at your craft. Watch tutorials, schedule test shoots with models, have friends proof-read your pitch email, etc. On the other hand: Don't feel like a failure if you're not on the cover of Vogue yet. Just set goals and keep showing up to class.

Woohoo! There you go :) Hope this was helpful to you. Do you run your own photo business? Are you trying to build more clientele? Hit me up on the gram and let me know! @champagneunicorns πŸ¦„

Tips for Shooting Abroad

Ok, so you've made that leap of faith and actually find yourself in a foreign country and ready to take all the noteworthy photography you've been dreaming of. Months of waiting, saving, and busting yo' booty has finally paid off.

This is your moment. Camera in hand, butterflies in your belly....and TOURISTS EVERYWHERE. Like I mean everywhere-left, right, totally and completely in your every shot. Oh and you have no idea how to get back to your air bnb, and where the f*** can you get some wifi around here?!? Your phone is about to die, no one speaks english, and you're quickly realizing that everyone online who traveled here before you-well they totally withheld sharing this stressful portion of their trip abroad.

Well don't you worry my friend-I got you. Here's some tips on how to travel abroad to a foreign country as a photographer (or blogger):

1. DO YOUR RESEARCH. Like really though. Go on Google maps and Trip Advisor-figure out how far away your destination is from your hotel. Is there parking available? Do you have to pay to get into the national park? Do they charge for the bathroom? You're going to get hungry-are there cafes nearby that you could swing by on your way from the Eiffel tower to the Louvre? Sure you could wing it in most European countries-but most likely you wont have internet service to 'yelp' something, you're on a time crunch, or your destination is a lot harder to get to then you thought. The more you research in advance the more smooth your traveling experience will be-which means less stress πŸ™Œ

2. GET THERE EARLY. I honestly can't stress this enough if you're traveling abroad solely to capture photography/create content. Most tourists sleep in and get a late start to their mornings-because they are on vacation!! If you want that epic shot of Big Ben without all the selfie sticks in the background-get there as soon as the sun rises. Literally every time I travel abroad, I'm up at 5am, out the door by 6am, and on location by 7am (or earlier). No tourists in sight, I have the whole monument to myself, and oh yeah the place is filled with that beautiful sunrise lighting 🀀 You're welcome.

3. UNDERSTAND YOUR LIGHTING. Ok so let's be honest, maybe you can't always get to your location during that golden hour of sunrise/sunset lighting. You are traveling abroad, and well, shit happens. That doesn't mean you can't make amazing photography!! It just means you have to get creative with your camera settings and angles. Don't get scared of harsh lighting, you could make a really dynamic photo just by playing with shadows and getting artsy with your composition. Backlight your subject, find a shaded area, or go inside and play with artificial lighting. You have no excuses πŸ˜‰

4. DON'T FORGET. The most obvious things to bring-but I forget back up batteries, memory cards, and phone chargers alllllllll the time. Charge them while you sleep, set a reminder on your phone, bring extras, and back up your photos. I always bring two hard drives with me while I travel just in case some terrible freak accident happens to one of my drives-I still have all my precious photos saved on the second drive. Don't think it won't happen to you-because it will eventually. I've cried too many times over a crashed hard drive and if I can save you the tears, please BACK UP YO' PHOTOS.

So there you have it-some sound pieces of advice for creating content while abroad. Have you ever traveled abroad? Or ran into any of these situations? Hit me up on Instagram and let me know your experience! @champagneunicorns

Paris, France August 2016.

Paris, France August 2016.

Top 5 Photo Spots in Iceland

Here it is gang: my list of best places to get that perfect photo in Iceland. And all that extra advice that comes with traveling to a foreign country with gear. 😬

1. BLACK SAND BEACH. Favorite place to photograph portraits by far. Its a scene out of a movie: long stretch of sand as far as you can see, with this giant cliff over-looking the ocean. The side of the cliff has these amazing hexagon shaped stones-and hundreds of puffins sit on the top of the peak. I will recommend though getting there super early before the tourists because we had a hard time getting our shots in-between their selfie photos. LOL

2. KRYSUVIK-SELTUN GEOTHERMAL SPRINGS. The colors of this place make me feel like I'm on a Star Wars set. Not to mention the natural steam that rises out of the springs-perfect for shooting high fashion or moody portraits. I will warn you though-the sulfur makes it smell pretty terrible (but so worth dealing with to get that shot).

3. BLUE LAGOON. So this isn't somewhere I would recommend planning a fully produced fashion shoot-however defs go check it out, get yourself an insta' photo, enjoy a facial and order a cocktail. Lockers are available, so you can store your expensive camera and phone safely while you enjoy the lagoon free from feeling like you constantly have to watch your stuff. There's also a lot of people who visit, so expect tourists in the background of your photo. Buy your ticket in advanced though, you won't get in if you just show up.

4. LAVA FIELDS. Basically lava fields are everywhere. The whole country is an island made from lava. Drive out from Rekyavik to the Golden Circle and you'll pass by plenty of pull out spots to take pictures. The cool thing about Iceland is that there really isn't fencing blocking you from just hiking into the wild from the main road. Just don't be dumb and litter or trample over the nature. Moss takes HUNDREDS of years to grow.

5. JOKULSARLON-GLACIER LAGOON. This was my 'silent heart' moment. Everything was quiet and I felt so small and in awe of the giant glaciers surrounding us. Not a lot of tourists travel out to the Glacier because it's almost 6 hours away from Rekjavik. So if you're up for the drive, I highly recommend visiting. It's an experience I'll always remember.

So, here's my extra credit I'm writing into this blog post: traveling with photography gear in Iceland. Be prepared for the headache. Weather in Iceland is UNPREDICTABLE. The running joke with the country is, "If you don't like the weather in Iceland, just wait 5 minutes". Seriously-don't even bother checking your weather app! All you can do is plan ahead and pack everything you might need, aka: waterproof gear. Spray that water repellant on yo' shoes, backpack, purse, jacket- whatever, it's going to rain. Wear layers, comfortable hiking shoes, gloves, scarf etc. Get your gear insured before you leave and spend the extra cash on a waterproof backpack and memory card case.

Are you traveling to Iceland soon? Drop me a DM on instagram if you have any travel/photo questions-I always love sharing my experience πŸ’• @champagneunicorns

BLACK SAND BEACH

BLACK SAND BEACH

LifeStyle Retreats

During our stay in Bali we were invited to stay at two beautiful luxury hotels with LifeStyle Retreats- The Amala & IZE Seminyak.

When we entered the Amala we were immediately blown away-bamboo lined all the walls and a quiet pool of trickling water led us straight to our villa. Our room had an outdoor area that consisted of a beautiful stone carved bathtub, jacuzzi spa, lounge chairs, and an outside shower/sink area for getting ready. Oh and did I mention the shower also doubled as a sauna? Yeah. We felt like queens. Inside was just as lovely-with all the amenities-TV, bathroom, wifi, desk, and the most coziest beds. And air conditioning so perfect after a long days travel and shooting in the heat. We felt totally pampered-breakfast outside surrounded by water and flowers-yoga in their studio-and a full body massage that put me in a deep trance.

After our stay at the Amala we headed into town to stay at the IZE. This hotel is located so perfectly close to all the markets/restaurants/shopping in Seminyak. I highly recommend staying here if you're in the area and are looking for more of a 'westerner' type feel to your hotel experience. The room was completely indoors, filled to perfection with cool air conditioning, and staff beyond friendly. They also have a fun rooftop bar and pool area that over looks the whole city area. Its the perfect spot if you're looking to enjoy yourself some shopping and R&R :)

The Amala

The Amala

Icelandic Air Hotels

I think I'm going to lay my cards on the table and just say that Iceland is my favorite place to visit in the world thus far. Our experience in Iceland was literal magic-but that doesn't go without a huge thank you to Icelandic Air Hotels, because otherwise we probably would have been sleeping outside in the cold inside a tent. Don't get me wrong-I LOVE camping and experiencing nature first hand-but this trip to Iceland was not completely a 'dirty boots' type adventure. We were shooting almost everyday and I had to keep my crew warm and happy with a fresh bed, shower, and coffee every day. Enter Icelandic Air, Reykjavik Marina.

Our hotel was set in Reykjavik-the capital of Iceland-overlooking the ocean and very close to all the downtown shopping/restaurants. The architecture and art of Iceland holds a very Scandinavian influence mixed with medieval roots-bold colored cement buildings mixing with grass roofs set in the farm lands. Reykjavik Marina had a mix of modern and contemporary accents in their design-very cozy, warm, and filled with fun art installations. Definetly worth a check out if you ever find yourself in Iceland-or least drop by for a fish n'chips in their restaurant :)