Huge excitement, tons of inspiration and it’s getting to seem real: we're flying to America soon. The date is set, our adventure is about to begin on 21st June. But no chilling out until then as I have to save up for the travel costs and on the other hand we have an endless to-do list to finish in the next 2 months to get everything ready for the trip.
Things to do before traveling to the US
If you're planning to see what on the other side of the ocean is, you'll need more than just a passport. To get to New York as a tourist, you'll need to go through a lot more administrative tasks than in the case of visiting any other country of the European Union. To enter the US the ESTA visa is a must-have, which involves filling out a lengthy questionnaire. For example you'll also have to confirm where you'll be staying when you get there. If you get the green light here, you'll be eligible to spend 90 days in the US.
Race against time
Besides the administration, organizing the photoshoots was a massive task too. We had to plan our 2-week stay in New York very precisely. Due to the long travel time and jet lag, we actually had roughly one and a half weeks to get productive and create some magic in America. Nobert already had some works booked with previous clients, some of which I was able to help with, but I also had in mind several projects of my own that I was keen to get started on.
How (not) to get models for international photoshooting
In order to prepare the execution of my projects, I quickly put together a landing page with nice photos, did all the copywriting, and even shot a video. As soon as it was done, I launched a Facebook campaign targeting Hungarians living in New York, assuming that they might be more open to work with a Hungarian photographer than foreigners. Days passed and we were running out of time, but still didn’t have any enquiries. Even though I knew that my model casting campaign was relatively last minute, I was beginning to panic that my plans won’t work out and the whole trip would be a disaster.
Plan B: save me TFP groups!
Seeing that the ads were not finding their audience, I started thinking of alternative solutions. That's when TFCD / TFP (Time for CD / Time for Print) groups came to my mind, where photographers, models, hairdressers and make-up artists can meet to do various creative projects to expand their portfolios. Everyone contributes free of charge with their talent, time and energy to establishing a professional photoshoot, so that all participants benefit from the collaboration.
Sneak peek of American culture
I took the opportunity to explore some of these Facebook groups related to New York, where I posted a call for models for street fashion photography. Browsing through the previous contents, I shortly noticed something that was quite different from similar Hungarian groups: there were almost no hateful or degrading comments. It hit me like a really pleasant surprise. And don't think that the group was only full of idealized beauties, quite the opposite happened! I literally experienced a diversity shock but in a good sense, there were models from super skinny to plus size, from divas to the most extreme fetishists, from white to black, and various members of the LGBTQ community. The comments under their pictures were full of encouragement, love and acceptance, thus an attitude that is unfortunately rather exceptional than common in Hungary.
The professional photography team is getting together
To my biggest surprise, the comment section below my own posts went viral as well. Out of the 3 groups I joined, nearly 100 people reached out to me to collaborate in different locations of New York. From there, the biggest challenge was selecting the models who would best fit my ideas and coordinating all the logistics. I might not be surprising you when saying that this part of the preparations didn't go as smoothly as I had imagined either. I had to constantly get used to redesigning everything, but I’ll go into details in the upcoming blogs, so stay tuned!
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