Let me share my experience with photo shooting in a foreign country. I was born and raised in Brazil – I currently live in Texas. I did not take any photography classes when I was living there. I didn’t even think about becoming a photographer. It all happened when I got here in Texas in 2014. I took online classes and to be honest, practicing was the best class. I did go back to Brazil and took all my equipments after living here for over 2 years. So I can say how it is to work as a photographer in a foreign country, in this case, Brazil was a foreign country to me. When I left nobody had a clue I would come back as a photographer, so going as one was a little strange so I could make comparisons between there and here.
I always have heard that photographers do not make enough money for living in Brazil, or that people don’t value photographers and do not want to pay what they are asked for. “But I just want a few pictures, why so expensive?” I heard this most of the time. I did around ten sessions in 7 months there. While in the US, I did three times more than that in a year and a half!
I feel that in my home country photography jobs aren’t as valued as it should. It is sad but it’s true. Here in US people value and appreciate more, they don’t complain about prices, either they say yes and do it, or no and don’t disrespect the photographer talking about how expensive they charge. While in here people tip. No tips in Brazil. I am sorry. Actually no tip at all for any service done down there. If you get a “gorjeta” – a word for tip, make sure they meant to give it to you and did not overpay you.
It is beautiful there. Indeed. I live 10 minutes from the beach, Most of the photoshoot were on the beach. Gorgeous. Enjoying the paradise while doing what you love. Priceless. There are parks but the clients sure would ask to do on the beach, did I say no?
Keep your equipments HIDEN. Get Uber, carpool, etc. but do not ride on a bus with it. It is sad to say it, but there may be someone watching you and will follow you to rob your stuff. I rode on a bus with my cameras and lenses to photograph a birthday party. My ride fail to take me and I had the responsibility to go. I had to hide everything! Fancy camera backpack? No. I dont really remember where I put it in, but was not in my backpack where I carry my equipments. AND, after I left the party I put the memory card inside my bra and took off home late night on a bus – 40 minutes ride, praying like I never prayed before. I am not shamed of saying that, unfortunately Brazil is a country where does NOT matter where you are – the fanciest neighborhood – is still dangerous – okay, kind of, but I would not take the risk. Overall, I love my country, but there are a lot of things that need to be fixed about crimes and violence. Thank God I made through with my equipments while in there. I do get a little scared here in the US, too because there is thug everywhere, so I make sure to always look around and be careful while photoshooting.
Comparing Brazil to USA, photography jobs are more valued here. People pay and don’t complain too much about the price and, there are more jobs opportunities in that field here. There are many seasons that people gather to do photos like Thanksgiving, Fall and Halloween, while in Brazil not so much, we don’t have thanksgiving holiday and like in my state our Fall season is not less than 75 degrees so no reason for cute photos with those pretty yellow and orange leaves.
Some photographers aren’t happy with the demand for jobs in their country. Especially now with mobile phones getting ahead with super cool cameras yet, a mobile camera will never be better than a professional camera. And, people will never be as creative and patient as a photographer.