International photography- a few guidelines & tips- PART 2
....please read this in continuation with the PART-1 of the same...which you will find below this posting...
|Adam & Eve Hotel is a multiple award winning hotel in Turkey known for its unique design elements.|
Finances / Currency
Check how much currency you are allowed to carry outside India or bring in.
From India you can carry only around Rs 5000/- in cash. Unfortunately nobody really cares for Indian currency abroad, so don’t for a moment think your carrying a Lac of rupees would get you to buy anything worth while. You can now get prepaid Forex cards from certain banks, or a credit card and traveler’s checks are good. If you are in a hurry you can also convert your money into Dollars or Euros at the airport. This would be endorsed on your passport. Remember to do this before you reach the customs.
There are very strict laws to foreign currency whether carrying in or out of country. I think in cash you cannot carry more than USD 2000 on you. I am not very sure of the details, so would advise you to go online and get the right information. There is a government of India site that clearly indicates the rules and regulations regarding foreign currency.
There are plenty of options; you can check with your bank or accountant how to carry excess money. I have been with clients from India, who have taken credit cards / ATM card along to even places like Istanbul without checking if the Bank had a branch or tie ups and eventually moving to 20 dollar per night rooms from expensive Marriott just the next day. We had to put the shoot on hold for two days trying to organize money in a foreign country.
In fact unless it’s absolutely necessary, do not get in to the headache of organizing payments in foreign locations. Let the clients do it-since they are the businessmen and understand money deals better than you ever would. At least I never could!
|Adam & Eve Hotel-unique design hotel with very up market lifestyle guests.|
Passport to be in your custody at all times. That’s your only valid identity in a foreign location. Guard it with your life.
Scan your passport and other important travel documents and keep them on your email so in case of some mishap you can at least download it for referencing. Also try to keep with you the contact info of Indian embassy, which you can contact in any kind of emergency. Carry a few passport size photographs with you, in case you end up losing the passport and need to go for a new one in that country.
Tickets & TagsMake sure all your tags are in place or you might land up at Toronto with your bags offloaded at Brussels and you would have no way of tracking them. Especially if it’s a transit flight…if you have a long flights you can book your luggage directly to the final destination and you don’t need to keep checking in and out your luggage boarding different flights. Carry strictly your own bags and not of some newly made friends. You don’t know who is who or might be carrying what. I have seen best friends turn enemies for small things. End of the day when its trouble time-each one is for himself.
Coming back from a shoot once from Istanbul, my bag got switched with my assistant's who had crossed the green channel at Mumbai airport n I was asked to open the bag. I realized I was carrying his bag and couldn't open it. In next 5 min 20 custom officials surrounded me and made my life miserable thinking I had 'smuggled' my bag out. It took 2 hours to find my assistant who had luckily not left the airport or all my equipment would have been confiscated. It was a nightmare.
|Now that's some pool n great view ! With the right lenses you can capture some great images. Adam & Eve Hotel-Turkey|
Get all your insurances in place starting with medical -life insurance, over seas insurance, insurance for your equipment against theft, breakage, loss etc.
|Keep your eyes open n u would find unusual things to shoot !!!|
If you are bearing the cost of the production in a foreign location, its advisable to get a local insurance as well-with a little extra money you can be assured of covering the cost of a mishap on the shoot.
And if you are of the adventurous kind then make sure you have the right policies. It's actually kind of unnerving when you get out to do something with an element of danger in it and the organizers first make you sign a letter stating they are not responsible in case of a mishap leading even to death !!!
|I don't know how to swim but I couldn't resisting getting on a boat n go for The Great White Shark diving experience at South Africa and get this amazing shot of JAWS.|
Attitude towards locals and their local customs
Be polite. They may not understand the words you speak but every body understands and relates to a warm smile. Make sure you respect people for their beliefs and customs. However strange it might appear to your sensibilities.
Annoying the locals is in no way a great idea. You might find that face stunning at the local vegetable market and be quick to shoot a pic of hers, next moment you might have her husband holding your you by the neck. It would really be silly to get a black eye because your eyes traveled too much on to the forbidden curves. If you really are tempted to shoot then check with someone or your local guide whether you can. Never ever make fun or you might be cooked for dinner! If you traveled to gulf you cannot even hug a woman in public or kiss her- (though you can do that to another man!). Remember most countries are not as tolerable as ours when it comes to creating nuisance, and also stop treating the whole world as dustbin –throwing things around.
You could probably check out Lonely Planet website and read about the travel advisories.
|This sweet girl worked in the hotel i stayed n requested if I could shoot a few pics for her-n i gladly obliged. ( Cape Town)|
Keeping yourself safe
Do not flaunt your money or equipment. This is like inviting trouble for no reason. And almost never ever pick up a fight with a local person.
If you are of the adventurous kinds and used to taking up on your own anywhere, it’s advisable that someone close to you must always know of your destination so you could be reached in case of some emergency. May be you can leave your number with the hotel you are staying in or some other local friends. At least someone must know where you are headed.
If you feel you are abroad and should have some fun with fast chicks or may be visit a local dance bar and pick up a woman? Be careful-you can have that kind of fun anywhere in your life, don’t risk your work and reputation for some frivolous act! The sexy woman you thought was hitting on you from across the bar could be a part of some racket-and you could wake up alone in the bed with your equipment or your wallet gone. Might sound far-fetched and you might be the next James Bond on the planet, but it has happened to many people before.
Staying in groups is better than being on your own. I love shooting in Cape Town. I think its heaven on earth but nothing in this world can drag me out of my hotel alone in late evenings with my camera. It’s really unsafe.
|Shoot over-time for some fun n shopping- models at Soho Square -Sharm El-Sheikh|
- Make a back up plan for everything that you can think of, however far fetched it may sound or least probable it might appear to be.
- Don’t flaunt your money or equipment.
- Create back up for data
- Get relevant permissions
- Never fight a local. Respect their beliefs and customs.
- Passport to be in your custody at all times. Scans to be on your e- mail
- Carry a proper medical kit and get all relevant insurances.
- Credit card/ Forex rather than loose cash
- Embassy contact info
- Work with a credible reputed agency only
|Style matters ! Live like a queen n you own the world. Shot for G-Wild at Cape Town- South Africa|
I always print a checklist two days before I leave, making a note of even small things like a toothbrush and safety pins or a marker.
Once I am done with my home work- I am ready to move. I might have missed on a few things in this article but then there would sooner or later be a second part to this article because covering everything I have experienced in so many years looks a bit difficult in one article.
This might look like lot of work to do. But if you look closely its just putting these small acts in to your habit if you plan to travel frequently. The intention is not to scare you away but to prepare you for an eventuality. When we work in our natural surroundings or an environment we are comfortable in- we tend to become careless and take lot of things for granted. While you are traveling abroad-you are moving into another zone, where elements might function in a different manner. By keeping yourself alert and ready, you can perform better and enjoy more.
Go on and have fun, across the borders there is a beautiful world waiting to be explored by you.
The article is in no way conclusive but merely shares my personal views and experiences. Always check with relevant authorities for the latest updates on various issues. If you thought that's all you need to care about- well, there are always more surprises- remember it's always important to have a back up plan in place-for everything !!!
Copyright notice- the text and photographs in this article are copyrighted to the photographer and its respective clients and can not be published elsewhere in parts or as whole, without written consent from the photographer.