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Business Traveler Interview: Nanette Reid

This is part of a new series here at WhyGo Business Travel featuring brief interviews with people who travel for work, asking them about what they do and some of their favorite travel tips. This way, if you’re looking for a career that will require travel, you’ll get to read about people doing some of the jobs you might consider – and you’ll also learn a few great travel tips from the travel pros!

This week, we’re talking with Nanette Reid, an architectural and interior photographer. Nanette is Australian and is currently based in Bangkok.

What do you do?
I’m an architectural and interior photographer. We work with architects, designers, hotels, resorts, magazines etc producing imagery to match each individual’s specific requirements.

What kind of travel do you get to do for work? Do you get to choose where you go?
Currently, I travel a great deal throughout Asia/SE Asia, and previously it has been worldwide – Asia, Australasia, UK, USA, Europe, China, Japan.

Do you add any extra “fun” days on to work trips? Why or why not?
On the odd occasion I have been able to add some of these into work trips, but only if the flights coincide with this. Usually, it’s on the next plane out to shoot at the next location. But building this in does help you recharge the batteries after many days of shooting, often 18hr days, and a day off is well earned.

How often do you get to travel for work?
2 out of 3 shoots are travel related.

Did you choose your job at least in part because you love to travel? Would you make the same job choice again, knowing what you know now?
Not at all. The travel component is an added bonus! If I had known when I had started out that travel would be such an integral part of our assignments, I’d have still chosen this career!

What are some of your favorite travel tips that you’ve picked up?

  • Pack light – solid colours are always a good choice and one good jacket. You can dress up a pair of jeans with a jacket, and wear them on assignment as well.
  • Always have a stocked wet pack in the suitcase – you never know when you need to travel and hunting for this at the very last minute is painful. I restock it when I get back – if that toothpaste tube is 3/4 empty, it gets replaced!
  • Do some research about the place you’re visiting – even if you don’t get the chance to venture out, knowing details about the country/city/area you are visiting always impresses the client, and gives you something to break the ice with others you are introduced to.

What one travel tip would you, as a business traveler, pass along to someone who doesn’t travel as often?
Carry-on – pack a change of underwear and a clean shirt, along with a toothbrush & toothpaste! I got caught in the Heathrow 2007 security breach and our luggage (from Dublin) was not unloaded. Having to fly to Cairo the following day without any equipment or personal items was not a pleasant experience. It was 5 days before I actually had my luggage returned, however a colleague waited 2 months! Luckily another colleague had to source wardrobe for the shoot, and he made the time to purchase us all underwear; the hotel we were shooting allowed for us to have rush laundry every night, however if we’d been shooting elsewhere, it would have required us to shop the day after we arrived.

What advice do you have for someone who’s interested in doing what you do?
Be prepared for an awful lot of hard yards. If you don’t have a thick skin or tenacity to hang in there, being a self employed photographer is probably not an ideal career for you. It takes time to build relationships with clients and get your foot in the door to have a shot at estimating for an assignment. Plus you need to be a “jack-of-all-trades”: marketing, invoicing, estimating, travel agent, producer, general problem solver etc – all of these are part of the job. I shoot maybe 30% of the time; the other 70% is spent following leads, attending meetings, general paperwork, accounts etc. But it’s well worth the hard slog, when you get to see the Pyramids and sail on the Nile, whilst enjoying the sunset, for an assignment with a 5-star hotel group.

Find out more about Nanette by checking out her website

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