Mark Edward Harris

"Look at what you have thats an advantage over other people." If there was anything I walked away with that day, this was one of many. I met Mark Edward Harris while I was working for the Palm Springs Photo Festival at Photo Expo in New York in October 2017. As I was ease dropping on his conversation, the only words that I heard were travel, photographer and workshop. As soon as he was finished his conversation, I walked over and introduced myself. "Hi. I'm Brianna Lopez and I overheard you mention you're a travel photographer." 

I took this photo of Mark during his travel photography workshop in Los Angeles, CA. 

I took this photo of Mark during his travel photography workshop in Los Angeles, CA. 

We talked for a few minutes about travel and images and how travel and images have opened, altered and progressed what we are. Maybe I'm exaggerating, but thats what it felt like. Up until this point, which was before my 3 week trip to Thailand, I felt excited but indecisive. Unsure if I wanted to take this route, unsure of my images and what they really meant. What did they say about what I was seeing? Did they mean anything? 

I emailed Mark 5 days later, thanking him for his generosity with photo ideas for Thailand and making sure he was aware that I was very serious about travel and photography.  We agreed to meet up for coffee/tea when time permitted. With Marks 40 plus years, 97 countries and many amazing publications later, he has already given me an ample amount of encouragement and faith that a successful career in being a travel photographer is more than possible. 

After our first meeting in February, we remained in contact via email hoping to have lunch at the Farmers Market come the beginning of April. Although we didn't get around to meeting that week, I actually ended up attending Marks one day travel photography workshop the same weekend and same day I was to head to Las Vegas for NAB. Only the universe can set something up so perfectly and I am beyond grateful that I had the opportunity to learn some techniques very necessary for my growth as an image creator. 

To find out more about Mark please visit www.markedwardharris.com. 

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.