The Art of The “Workcation”

Every time I travel I get asked, “Business, or pleasure?”

Often my answer is “Well… both.”

A puzzled look frequently follows.

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It took Ellen and I a few years to find the proper balance of a true workcation.  One that could satisfy both of our insatiable desires… the desire to be productive, and the desire to relax and recharge our proverbial batteries.

It’s not an easy balance for someone who loves what they do, and would be doing it whether he was getting paid or not.  That’s why every single trip I ever took when I was single was simply work.  But you see, that’s no fun for another person once they get added into the mix… maybe the first few times, but trust me, it gets old.  What might have started as fascination in the beginning, quickly turns to frustration, when your traveling partner seems to prefer working to relaxing and being in the moment with you.

And as most adaptations grow from necessity, so too did the invention and refinement of the workcation.

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Look, we’re not made of money here.  Work trips are our vacations… and vice versa.

So how do we find equilibrium?

Here are 5 important steps to striking the perfect balance between work and vacation, illustrated with images from our last Wyoming workcation…

1. Proper planning.

Nowadays, Ellen and I set aside specific days/ times on our trip to work.  With her starting a yoga business recently, she gets something out of it too… free marketing photos!  When there is a set, realistic schedule, both of us have very well managed expectations…. and those of you who are married or in long-term relationships know how important these are!

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2. Use what you have to your advantage.

I feel productive when I’m getting photos that I’m confident can sell.  That’s how I am able to justify all of the travel, if I’m not on a specific client’s dime.

So Ellen becomes my model… a lot.  As I’m sure you all have seen.

But it’s great because we can do the things we love to do together, like hiking, and I can spend a few minutes in between our quality vacation time, working, snapping sellable images.

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It’s also important to note that Ellen is particularly sweet and understanding that when extraordinary opportunities present themselves, work takes the front seat.

But don’t take advantage of your partner’s generosity.

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3. Know when to put work aside.  Be sensitive to your travel partners needs.  

As previously mentioned, my wife gives grace like a boss.  So it’s only fitting that I approach her with the same tender understanding.

It’s never fun to play second fiddle to work with a loved-one.  So know when it’s time to put the camera or laptop down and enjoy your partner.

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4. Enjoy your work so much, it is vacation!  

Be so passionate and enthusiastic about what you do, your travel buddy can’t help but want to be involved.

They may actually grow to love the process too.

But it must be genuine… manipulation will be sniffed out immediately!

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5.  Be realistic, schedule dedicated work time.

What Ellen and I found works the best, so I’m not too antsy to shoot the entire time we’re trying to relax and be “in the moment”, is really quite simple…

I schedule a week alone, to focus completely on work.  I either fly her in a week after I’ve arrived at a destination, or she flys out a week before I return.

That way, I always know that I have at least a full week of work under my belt already, or ahead of me.

And it allows me to relax.  Which makes the time more enjoyable for us both.

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It is rare that we take a proper “vacation”.  Part of it is financial, but another part is that we both really love what we do for a living.

So workcations are our norm.  And we like it that way.

They are tax deductible, and if you are careful, they are oh… so… enjoyable.

Here’s to 2015: a new year of workcations to nourish our souls and share with all of you!

— andrew


 
Take your photography to the next level… check out my NEW workshop dates:
 
Grand Teton Photographic Tour/ Workshops 2015
More Destination Photo Tours/ Workshops 2015
 
If you are interested in licensing any of the images/ video from this post, please visit my stock agency:
 
Tandem Stills + Motion // andrew r. slaton
 
If you are interested in purchasing prints from this post, please check my prints for sale, or email me directly for a custom request:
 
andrew r. slaton // photographer // prints
 
For assignment work requests, please email me: andrew@andrewslatonphoto.com
 
Thanks for visiting AndrewSlatonBlog.com!
 
all images and content © ARS Media, LLC 2015

WY // The Active Landscape

One thing I will most certainly be working on this year: active people within a landscape.

Though I have always considered myself a landscape shooter, I realized recently that in order to generate more sales in the nature/ outdoor photography arena, I need to begin incorporating people and activity into my landscapes.

And for me, the timing couldn’t be better.

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With the increasing assignments I have had the last few years, I have actually grown to enjoy photographing people… go figure.

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And I am ever more interested in the relationship people have to their surroundings.  How to visually convey a human’s relationship to a landscape, has become one of my favorite challenges of late.

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The icing on the cake:  there is a HUGE market growing for this kind of imagery, so it can be quite lucrative.  As a professional artist, I’m always looking for ways to continue doing what I love AND making the kind of living I want.

So, on this visit to Wyoming, Elle and I practiced a little active landscape shooting.  We realized a few things too.

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To keep the images fresh, realistic, and sellable, the gear and clothing have to be new and/ or current.  We realized that we need a few upgrades for the next trip :)

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We also realized we should shoot what we know.  Elle is a yogi, so we focused a lot on yoga poses in gorgeous locals.

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The key for me will be to keep shooting and keep adding people and activities to my landscapes… it’s a mental shift, but I really enjoyed pushing myself in Wyoming.

 

— andrew


 
Take your photography to the next level… check out my NEW workshop dates:
 
Grand Teton Photographic Tour/ Workshops 2015
More Destination Photo Tours/ Workshops 2015
 
If you are interested in licensing any of the images/ video from this post, please visit my stock agency:
 
Tandem Stills + Motion // andrew r. slaton
 
If you are interested in purchasing prints from this post, please check my prints for sale, or email me directly for a custom request:
 
andrew r. slaton // photographer // prints
 
For assignment work requests, please email me: andrew@andrewslatonphoto.com
 
Thanks for visiting AndrewSlatonBlog.com!
 
all images and content © ARS Media, LLC 2014

 

Shameless Wife Promotion

Let me take a moment to brag on my better half…

Being the wife of a photographer, Elle has the “privilege” (these are air quotes and denote sarcasm) of being my model when doing test shoots.  But she also gets free commercial photography when she decides to start a business of her own :)

So when she created Ellen Slaton Yoga last year, I knew we were going to have fun, impromptu shoots together.

I’m so proud of her dedication, hard work, and love for yoga and building her business.

And her talent for writing, and the down-to-earth, personal style is really shining through with her blog, Highway Sounds.

So I just wanted to share a few portraits from our short shoot the other day…

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It should be no surprise to me, her husband.  But I have to say, that she keeps impressing me more and more every day.

— andrew


 
Come learn light with me… check out my new workshop dates:
 
Grand Teton Photographic Tour/ Workshops 2014
More Destination Photo Tours/ Workshops 2014
 
If you are interested in licensing any of the images/ video from this post, please visit my stock agency:
 
Tandem Stills + Motion // andrew r. slaton
 
If you are interested in purchasing prints from this post, please check my prints for sale, or email me directly for a custom request:
 
andrew r. slaton // photographer // prints
 
For assignment work requests, please email me: andrew@andrewslatonphoto.com
 
Thanks for visiting AndrewSlatonBlog.com!
 
all images and content © ARS Media, LLC 2014

 

Big Bend // R+R

stars over the chisos basin in big bend national park, texas

You can’t travel all the way to Marathon, TX for work and not at least spend a night or two under the stars in Big Bend.

So after our interior shoot for the Gage Hotel, we did just that.  And I barely even picked up my cameras.  I know, hard to believe… but it’s true.

A lone coyote wanders the desert in Big Bend National Park, Texas

We did see a coyote wandering the lonely draws and bluffs in the iconic desert landscape… so of course I had to snap one…

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And then we did a quick Ellen Slaton | yoga commercial shoot for my wife’s new venture.

She recently finished teacher training here in Dallas and is now a certified yoga instructor!

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Her heart is to “love others through the practice of yoga and perhaps share a bit of the peace I find when I can escape to my mat, chill out my brain, listen to the Lord, & find strength…”

Thankfully, we found a little peace in the desert that weekend after a long week of working hard.  It’s important sometimes for me to set my camera down and use my own God-given senses.  It doesn’t happen often enough… but now I’m making a conscious effort.

— andrew

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If you are interested in learning more about photography, taking your art to a new level please check out my new workshop dates:
 
Big Bend Photographic Tour/ Workshops 2014
More Destination Photo Tours/ Workshops 2014
 
If you are interested in licensing any of the images/ video from this post, please visit my stock agency:
 
Tandem Stills + Motion // andrew r. slaton
 
If you are interested in purchasing prints from this post, please check my prints for sale, or email me directly for a custom request:
 
andrew r. slaton // photographer // printsFor assignment work requests, please email me: andrew@andrewslatonphoto.comThanks for visiting AndrewSlatonBlog.com!
 
all images and content © ARS Media, LLC 2014