What is There to Know

There are remarkable occurrences retracing its steps in our minds all day everyday, but what is there to know? Why the repetition, why the continuation of sensations invasions when our hearts pray for breaks from the hates rays? 

 Photo taken 3.14.2018 in North Hollywood on the t2i

Photo taken 3.14.2018 in North Hollywood on the t2i

Today I walked. I could feel the spirit of life living through the  intricate movements of my body's sway down the isles and streets of North Hollywood. A notice Ive noticed is that people look at you weird when you are happy. They are uncomfortable with someone smiling at themselves and using their motion to move in magics maze. Oh I pity the human who cannot stand the look of joy. Who cannot tolerate freedom at its finest. Gosh do you have some many more lifetimes to go to learn something so simple as joy. Hmmm. 

Ways to Make Your Way Around the World

According to the dictionary, travel means “a journey, typically some length or abroad.” To me, travel means the journey of one's own self-exploration and evolution taking place in destinations other than one’s home. As a photographer, there are so many avenues I can use in order to create art, but the one that gives me my greatest joy is travel.

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The number one question people ask me is “how can you afford it?” Within a year I have visited 3 countries: Japan, Cuba, and Thailand. I want to share with you the ways in which I am able to travel the way that I do and why traveling is so important for my personal and professional development. Some of the steps I use to travel include asking questions regarding financial commitment and responsibility, what am I willing to endure, will I be going there alone, what does this country require of me, and am I planning this properly? This article will help get you comfortable with asking yourself those questions necessary to book that trip.

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Where do you want to go is the first question. If you just want to travel and are not fixated on specific destinations, I suggest you begin by googling places based on price. Most places have what is called a high or low season. High season means there is a lot of tourist activity and low season means the opposite. Is this destination cheap? If yes, book the flight now along with your first few days of accommodation. If no, how much will you need to save and how much can you put down? I have never put any money down for a trip. This is only accepted if you are using a travel agency and those of the like, which I do not. Personally, I book my flight first and wait awhile until I book my first accommodation. Airbnb has made this process so much easier and less stressful. However, everyone’s travel comfortability is different. Make sure you eventually find out what yours is.

There are many other things to take into consideration when traveling like vaccines, customs, and visas. This is a very important factor because in some places they are requirements. There’s nothing more horrible than booking a flight somewhere to then realize afterward that you’ll need to spend hundreds of dollars on visas and vaccines. I hate vaccines. I’ve never had any (I guess I did as a kid) until my trip to Thailand. I had to get typhoid, hep a/b, and malaria. Costs for vaccines vary depending on where you live.

  1. Find out if you need vaccines at all.

  2. Check with your primary doctor if they distribute the vaccine (some don’t.)

  3. What are the risks and side effects?

  4. There are lots of people who travel and never get vaccinated.

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Good thing my insurance covered these. I did, however, pay $35 for a travel consultation which consisted of the pharmacist giving me vaccines based on where and when I was traveling, info on the different diseases I could contract in these places and the best way to protect myself. I highly recommend paying the $35 for a consultation, especially if your insurance covers the cost of the vaccines. I went to Elements Pharmacy in Studio City in Los Angeles and I highly recommend them. If you don’t live in LA, find one closest to you. Just google “travel pharmacy” for your area.

Travel Pharmacy Clinics

1. Elements Pharmacy: Studio City (Los Angeles), CA

2. Passport Health USA: Philadelphia and other cities  (found through research)

Next are customs of the land and every country has their own laws that of course you have to abide by. For example, Thailand is a predominantly Buddhist society so something like indecent exposure can land you with a hefty fine or even jail time (Don’t believe me? Check out this article). Dubai, for example, is an almost entirely Muslim society so women are expected to behave and dress modestly. It is a part of the religious culture. I will say that I have not yet been to a country where strict customs were enforced on foreigners, but I have also not been to many places. I recommend doing research first and paying attention to the laws and customs of the land because what we deem as normal could be breaking the law somewhere else.

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Follow these very important steps when booking a trip somewhere. Of course things change and everyone is different, but these are the things that have helped me and will continue to help me. The first step in getting out there is taking the initiative and being dedicated to making it happen. To refresh your memory:

  1. Find a destination that is in its low season, but before you book it:

  2. Check if there are any other requirements like visas and vaccines.

  3. If all seems well in that realm, use Kayak or one of the other listed sources to find the cheapest flight. Don’t forget those green dots.

  4. You don’t need to book all of your accommodations just yet. The first few days/week will suffice. Almost anywhere you go there will be places for you to book while on the ground and at a better rate than online.

  5. I don’t do this, but for you, it may be best to create a budget and start researching the activities you want to partake in.

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As a visual media creative, my purpose for travel may be much different from yours, but the country and how to get there is the same. Traveling, for me, ignites a deep passion that involves learning, self-exploration, professional development and spiritual development. Your reason for traveling could be much different, however, I encourage everyone to use travel as a means of deep learning on all levels. Remember to just go for it and don't worry too much about the planning, as plans will always change. I am a solo traveler and spend a lot of time going with the flow. If this sounds like you, you’ll have a much easier time traveling. I hope this article has helped you in some way and if you have any particular questions please feel free to contact me.

Brands and New Content

Most of my work is dedicated to travel. Well thats a lie because I am only traveling to destinations like Cuba 1-2 times a year. So what do I do with the rest of my time?

Although my passion and focus is travel/documentary, I love shooting lifestyle, fashion and editorial photography. Most of my work and clients consist of small businesses and influencers who just want good looking imagery to use for their websites and social media accounts. I mean don't we all want our brands and business to look good, professional and knowledgeable of whatever it is we're selling? 

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For the month of October I will be hosting a special on lifestyle and brand content. The two packages are: 

1 hour session 1 look 4 final edits for $150
2 hour session 2 looks 7 final edits for $250

I of course live in LA, but will be traveling to the New York, Philadelphia area late in October until the beginning of November. You can find out my availability for the east coast by emailing me directly at brirlopez@gmail.com. 

Below are a few examples of the content I produce for a few businesses that I work with on a consistent basis. 

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This is FIBI Pasadena. Its a real estate educational networking class that takes place once a month in Pasadena. I am responsible for not only producing the meeting, but also shooting the content. My job requires that I shoot the content that goes on Youtube and their membership site and their social media accounts. The membership site contains the full audio and video of each presentation, a recap video and an Instagram video. 

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This is City Ballet of Los Angeles. I work with Robyn and her school quite often primarily shooting content for promo including a calendar featuring this image that came out this year and commercials. Here are two commercials I produced for City Ballet of LA this year: 

City Ballet of Los Angeles | Yuka Fukuda | Modern Dance
City Ballet of Los Angeles

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This is Quincy's website. Ive only worked with Quincy, but there will surely be collaborations between us in the future. Quincy has a clothing brand he needed content for and these are just 3 of the images he chose from that shoot. You can see them fully at www.planetquincy.com

I want to thank you kindly for taking out the time to read this article. I am looking forward to working with some of you in the very near future. 

Support the Non Conformed

How many of you gain excitement or entertainment from the arts? How many of you plan your weekends around a current movie, exhibit or play you want to see? The non conformed people are the ones that provide this luxury to the masses. The people who choose another way to live are responsible for a good portion of the joy, motivation and adventure everyday people seek. If this is the case, what are you doing to support the non conformed? The sleepless artist spending days, weeks, months or even years to provide you with an image, movie, panting, or dance, can be labeled as the most important people in our lives. What about the small local business that provides your community with jobs, involvement and diversity? If you partake in sustaining those who are artists and entrepreneurs, thank you, but there are many who have not yet joined the club. 

Brianna Shooting in Cuba

This photo above was taken by my friend and fellow photographer Ryan Duclos. Ryan and I met each other in Santa Clara, Cuba in July of 2017. This is my second trip that Ive made abroad as a travel and documentary photographer. One of my greatest goals is to have the images I'm creating live in the homes, offices, sacred spaces, etc... of people around the world. I spend my own money and resources to travel to these places to create artwork. I am just an example of the many non conformist around the world. 

Brianna going to Malibu

How many of you buy artwork to hang in your home/apartment, work stations, studios, cubicles, etc...? The next question is where are you buying this artwork? Is it from Ikea, Ross, Burlington Coat Factory, Walmart? If you are a consumer of art and care about where and what type of art you consume, are you truly supporting the artist and entrepreneur by consuming art from the places listed above? If so can you think of a time you thought to yourself, "I wonder who the artist of this work is? Am I truly supporting the person that traveled around the world to bring this image to life? Who is truly benefiting from the money I spend on my choice of joy and entertainment?" 

Once these questions start to run circles in your head, you'll soon realize the importance of supporting the non conformed. Below are a few ways in which you can help make sure artists and entrepreneurs continue to be the reason for your joy, motivation and adventure. 

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1. Take out some time to research local artists and boutiques where you can support the non conformist.  There are people you know right now who are selling their photographs, paintings, candles, waist beads, party favors, candy tables, a finance class, etc.... You name it. 

2. If you don't know anyone personally, the internet is your friend. Go on FB, IG, Twitter and find what you're looking for from someone who is local or just an independent artist you'd like to support. Connect with them. There is power in supporting those you have a connection with. If there is no connection, create one. 

3. Go to street fairs and night markets and introduce yourself to some artists and vendors in attendance. If you are a collector of scarves, find the vendor(s) that sells scarves and find out more  about how it got started, who designs them, where are they made, etc.... In this instance you are putting a face to the brand making your drive to support that small business and artist more personal and engaging. 

4. Money. I know buying personal work can be expensive. My prints themselves can range from $60.00 to $300.00 and beyond.  The money you spend on a piece like this compared to one from Walmart is hugely different, but its the experience and support that makes it worth while. 

5. If you truly feel the work or service is out of range financially, aim at negotiating or bartering. That's the upside to working with entrepreneurs and artists. The profit goes to them and their life to continue creating. 

Start reaching out to those you know who are changing the world. Help them continue on a path of non conformity so the everyday person can have art, music, movies and shows to go to. These are the people making your joy, motivation and adventure a reality.

Care to share which ways you are supporting the non conformist? Let me know about it.