Tips for Beating jet Lag

Tips for Beating Jet Lag When Traveling for International Shoots and Events

If you are traveling for a video shoot, photo shoot or interpreting event half way around the world, chances are that you will have a problem adjusting to the new time zone. Jet lag can be a real burden, especially when you are working on a project or attending an event that will require you to be at your creative best instead of sluggish, groggy and tired. If you don’t have several days or even a week to adjust to the new time zone in a foreign location then knowing how to manage jet lag can be the key to ensure you have a productive and efficient film shoot, photo shoot or interpreting event.

Mechanics of sleep

To understand how to combat jet lag, you must first know why you feel sleepy at distinct times of the day. Our bodies work on a 24-hour cycle called “circadian rhythms.” These rhythms are measured by the distinct rise and fall of body temperature, plasma levels of certain hormones and other biological conditions. All of these are influenced by our exposure to sunlight and help determine when we sleep and when we wake.

When you travel to different time zones your body’s natural “biological clock” becomes imbalanced.
Our circadian rhythms are slow to adjust and remain on their original biological schedule for several days. This results in our bodies telling us it is time to sleep, when it’s actually the middle of the afternoon, or it makes us want to stay awake when it is late at night.

Before, during and after you travel for your event or shoot a few simple behavioral adjustments can help minimize some of the side effects of jet lag.

Before Your Travel

  • Several days before traveling, try to gradually adjust your sleeping habits to the destination time zone.
  • Treat your body well before you fly. Exercise, sleep well, stay hydrated and stay sober. The worst thing you can do is get on a long-haul flight with a hangover.
  • Once you’re at the airport, avoid the escalators and moving sidewalks. Instead, walk and take the stairs on the way to your check-in area and gate connections.

During Your Flight

  • As soon as you board the flight, reset your watch for the new time zone.
  • Sleep (or stay awake) like you’re already there. If it’s daylight at your destination, try to avoid sleeping on the plane. If it’s nighttime at your destination when you’re on the plane, try to sleep. Use earplugs, eye shades, and turn on the air-conditioning valve (cooler temperatures may help you to fall asleep faster).
  • Drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration. Dehydration makes it more difficult for the body to adjust to the new rhythm. Stay away from any beverages with alcohol or caffeine.

Once You Arrive

  • Limit your sleep to no more than two hours immediately after arrival.
  • Remember that daylight can help reset your internal “clock.” Take a one-hour walk as soon as you get up in the morning.
  • Avoid excessive caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco.
  • Practice good sleep habits while away.
  • Bring along your own pillow and/or blanket. These may help you sleep more comfortably.
  • Check your room for potential sleep disturbances, including light shining through the drapes. Bring along a sleep mask to block out any light.
  • Request a room in the quietest section of the property and make sure that the room is away from any entrance areas or elevators. Use a fan or other “white noise” to cut down sounds of hotel neighbors or street traffic.
  • Check your room’s thermostat. Your sleep can be disrupted if the room is warmer than 75° F (24° C) or colder than 54° F (12° C).
  • Consider taking melatonin. Melatonin is the hormone your body naturally creates around the time you usually go to bed. You will want to take it within 30 minutes of the time you want to tell your body is your new “bedtime.” In other words, don’t take it when you might want to sleep, but isn’t the new bed time you are trying to have your body adjust to. Take it for four days after arriving at your new destination. Talk to your doctor before taking melatonin, to be sure it’s safe for you.

You may not be able to prevent jet lag from happening, but if you use these tips you can minimize its impact and make your video shoot, photo shoot or interpreting event a more productive and pleasurable experience!

Nigeria Photo Festival

Nigeria’s Largest Photo Festival: A New Look at Africa

When organizing the first ever photo festival in Nigeria, LagosPhoto Director Azu Nwagbogu, and others from the African Artists’ Foundation had one major objective in mind:  offer a platform where photographers could narrate fresh stories about their continent. Their mission was to empower photographers to remedy the negative images associated with the continent, as specifically highlighted by western media.

The story behind the photography festival

Nwagbogu knew that Africa had a story to tell that was in contrast to the traditional documentary photography which portrayed it as a hopeless continent.  While traveling, he came across new perspectives and visuals that showed the true life in Africa. Nwagbogu believed that this side of the continent needed visibility and thus the festival came into being.

LagosPhoto Festival 2014

The festival, now in its 5th year, is a month long event running from October 25 – November 26m 2014 with all exhibits open to the public. The theme for LagosPhoto Festival 2014 is ‘Staging Reality: Documenting Fiction’. Contemporary photographers examine working in Africa that toe the line between photography and truth, incorporating conceptual practices and performative strategies that expand traditional photographic approaches and techniques.

Featured Photographers

To find out more about LagosPhoto Festival 2014 please visit:

Gathering Your Tech Gear to Film Abroad

Gathering Your Tech Gear to Film Abroad

When traveling abroad for international film productions and photoshoots, having a travel checklist is essential to ensure a smooth and trouble-free shoot. At the top of that checklist should be the necessary adapters and plugs you will need for any equipment you will be bringing from home. Mismatch in the power or charging gear can be a real headache and cost you time and money if you aren’t prepared. Check out our advice on what you need to know about carrying tech gear for international shoots.

Power standard discrepancies

While 110 volt is the power standard employed in North America, most other countries practice a 220- volt standard. You may need a different plug type and adapter when you travel abroad. Luckily, you should be able to find these power adapters in most countries in Europe or Asia. However, if you’re traveling to South/Central America or Africa, it would do you good to carry different power gear. You could try purchasing battery packs in the market that are designed for the latest DSR cameras, and use standard alkaline batteries. You could also carry a multimeter that can pinpoint the power in the batteries or plug. While we’re on the topic of multimeters, make sure yours can read up to 240 volts or higher. Detailed List on Voltage Requirements

Lighting gear

You might want to carry some lighting equipment on your trip, unless you will only be filming outdoors. It is technically not that difficult, as you can carry LED lights to do the job. Some of the new crop LEDs run completely on rechargeable packs or alkaline batteries. They are lightweight portable and provide quality lighting. Also the lighting kit that you currently own can be switched up to a voltage-level that matches the power standards of the country that you’re traveling to; make sure you ask your light kit manufacturer about the same.

Researching about the destination

If you’re carrying a considerable amount of video equipment on the trip, it is likely that you will be charged an additional fee at customs. Be sure to research on the location beforehand so you get a good understanding of its customs, travel restrictions and other information. Also, do your homework on the cultural issues and etiquette. You’ll be surprised that there are some destinations around the world where cameras, no matter how small they are, are not allowed. Knowing how the local customs function can give you a better chance at capturing some memorable shots.

To avoid customs duties when bringing large amounts of gear across borders, you might want to consider getting an ATA Carnet. For more information, learn more about how ATA Carnets work:

At the Global Media Desk we highly recommend that you use local crews whenever possible. Local crews have their own equipment with the correct voltage and without the hassle of customs. You also get an expert in area to help make it a fun and memorable shoot. Contact us for more information about local crews for your international video production or photoshoot.

Tipping Etiquette for International Productions

Tipping Etiquette for International Media Productions

Awareness about the tipping customs in foreign locales can come in handy, especially when you’re filming or shooting in locations around the world and don’t want to blow your budget on unnecessary expenses.

If you were filming a commercial in Australia, the last thing you want is to leave a generous tip for the taxi driver when it’s customary to just have them “keep the change.” And if you’re heading out to lunch at an elite city restaurant after your photoshoot in Tokyo, don’t even think about tipping because it is perceived as an insult in Japan. When your media project takes you to England you don’t want to forget to tip the hotel porter who brings your bags up £1 – £2. He or she will be expecting it.

While it’s difficult to cover the tipping etiquette of all countries in a single post, here are some we think you’ll find useful when budgeting for your international film production, media project or photoshoot.

South America

Argentina doesn’t have a standard tip percentage; in fact, it’s okay even if you don’t tip. After suffering an economic depression – lasting from 1998 to 2002 – Argentinians are more careful about their money and don’t expect to be tipped or receive tips. It is however customary to part with the change on a small amount at a restaurant or hotel. In another South American country, Brazil, a 10% tip for taxis and dining is the norm so to speak, though some may also tip higher.

Middle East

In Dubai, a 10 per cent service charge is added to hotel, restaurant and bar bills. Tips may go to the waiter who served you or be divided among service staff. If you wish, you can show your appreciation with a couple of dirhams, each being equivalent to a quarter. Porters and valets are used to getting about 10 dirhams in tips while cab drivers expect to keep change on smaller amounts. In Qatar and Saudi Arabia, you can leave anywhere between a 10 and 20 per cent tip at restaurants, and reserve $10 per day for drivers and guides.


If your work takes you to Spain, keep in mind that tipping is not customary but appreciated. A 10% tip in restaurants is just about fine. The same goes for restaurants and cafes in Turkey, though you have to pay as soon as you’re served in pubs, snack bars and tea houses, and tips can be dropped into tip boxes beside the counter. In Romania, anywhere between 5 and 10 per cent will do, but there are many places that expect to receive tips in exchange for service rendered. These include bakeries, post offices, hairdressers and customs. France, England and Germany follow a 5-10 per cent tipping etiquette.

Knowing how to budget appropriately for your production or event location will save you money, stress and hassle. Keep these ‘tips’ in mind next time you take off to an exotic locale for your corporate event, fashion shoot or media production.

Canon Photomarathon Asia

2014 Canon Photomarathon Asia

Asia’s biggest photography contest – the 2014 Canon Photomarathon Asia – made its yearly debut in Hanoi, Vietnam on September 27, 2014. The event, essentially a photography competition, was initiated in 2003 by Canon Singapore and is a one-day day event meant to create an abiding interest and passion for all things photography. This year the contest spans over 7 different countries (Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, India, Thailand and Cambodia) and ends on November 29, 2014 in Bangkok, Thailand.

On the actual day of the contest, each participant is given three separate themes at different times to base their photographs on. They are given three hours to complete each thematic work and must return to the contest location with their pictures, and download them onto the server before getting their next assignment.

The 2014 Vietnam edition of the competition aimed to highlight the cultural and natural attractions of Vietnam. About 10,000 contestants participated in the event, making it a grand success. The list of jury members featured three internationally famous photographers, including Maika Elan, a famous Vietnamese photography artist.

Here are a few of the winning images:
Contest topic Tổ ấm gia đình
Prize Overall Grand Prize
Photographer TONG TRAN SON
Contest topic Tổ ấm gia đình
Prize Winner
Photographer CAO THIEN THIEU
Contest topic Cuộc sống trong ngõ hẻm
Prize Winner
Contest topic Vội vàng
Prize Winner

Full Gallery of Canon Photomarathon Vietnam 2014:



Singapore – 1st Nov 2014


Kuala Lumpur – 11 Oct 2014
Penang – 18 Oct 2014


Bangkok – 29 Nov 2014


Hanoi – 27 Sep 2014
Ho Chi Minh  – 4 Oct 2014


Brunei – 19 Oct 2014


Cambodia – 19 Oct 2014


Bangalore – 27 Sept 2014


Medan – 11 Oct 2014
Yogyakarta – 19 Oct 2014
Jakarta – 25 Oct 2014


More info on Canon Photomarathon Asia:

Videographer for Photoshoot in Marrakesh, Morocco

Staying on Budget with Your International Photo Shoot

Do you have a professional photo shoot coming up in a foreign country and need some tips? Taking up an international photo shoot project can be an exciting and enriching experience that can add immense weight to your credentials. However, the project can quickly turn on its head if costs spiral out of control, burning a large sized hole in your pockets. Staying on budget may not be easy especially when you are going to shoot in a location that you are not familiar with but it is definitely achievable. Take a look at some tips on how you can make a realistic budget that can be adhered to:

  • A photo shoot that is well planned and thoroughly thought out is one that is likely to stay well within your budget. At the planning stage, outline the number of days you will need to spend at the location, look at accommodations/ pricing/ discounts applicable for bulk bookings, and factor in a few ‘buffer’ days in case the weather forces you to put off the shoot. Brainstorm with your team and think of all the expenses and all the contingencies that could have a financial impact and factor all of them in. Once your plan is ready, you can make a realistic budget that is easy to stick to.
  • Talk to people in the know about the location and if you have colleagues who have recently completed photo shoots there, make sure you get their advice. They can give you some valuable inputs about the expected and unexpected costs they encountered during the shoot and also help you get a fair idea of the general pricing levels for various expense heads there. Here at the Global Media Desk we conduct shoots all the time all over the world. Feel free to drop us a line should you have questions!
  • Work with local crews who know the local terrain, language, and customs and won’t incur travel costs or need to ship their equipment to the shoot location. Local crews not only help keep your budget down but their insider knowledge of the area with help to avoid any potential problems that could cause your budget to skyrocket. Be sure to check on the crew’s language skills and review their past work before signing them on. We can definitely assist should you need options for local crews – that’s our specialty. Just let us know. We work with crews with at least 5 years of experience, and a proven track record of work with international clients.
  • Traveling to various locations for your shoot can become very expensive especially if you will be shooting at remote locations that do not get many visitors. Hiring transport locally for the length of your shoot may be a cost effective plan if you can get a driver who is familiar with all the routes and directions. Hiring a car and making your own way may result in mounting fuel expenses and time delays if you end up driving around trying to locate the place. Furthermore, if your budget allows for it sending a location scout to do the leg work in advance and find the perfect locations might be more cost effective than driving around once on the ground.
  • Some locations may require special permits from the local authorities and you will need to pay for these too. Though the charges may be nominal, these expenses can add up and tip your costs over the budget. Before you leave for the shoot, check if the locations you have in mind require any such permissions and, if so, how much you will need to pay. Factor this into your budget for the trip. Does your destination country have special visa requirements? You can check on such useful sites as or
  • If you will be bringing in a lot of equipment, or obviously-professional looking gear such as lights, etc., you may want to seriously consider getting an ATA Carnet ( This travel document will allow you to easily bring your gear in and out of any member country without running the risk of having to pay stiff customs penalties. It is always advisable to check with the local team what gear they have available on the ground and what you can just rent locally. That will help shave that extra baggage, and reduce luggage fees.

At the Global Media Desk we have helped hundreds of companies make their international photo shoot happen on schedule and within budget. We are here to help! Please contact us if you have any questions or need any advice on the best way to handle your photo shoot abroad.

Visa Requirements for Filming Abroad

Visa Requirements for International Shoots

When planning a shoot in a country where you don’t hold citizenship several important factors come into play. One critical item that must be taken care of before departure is to ensure that you have the required visas. Arriving in a country without the correct documentation could mean a denied entry and spell disaster for you shoot.

Some countries will issue a visa upon your arrival, but it is not a common procedure. Most visas must be obtained before leaving your home country and could take weeks to months to be issued. You will almost certainly need a visa if you plan to remain in a foreign country for a longer period (usually more than 90 days).

You are also responsible for ensuring that your passport contains empty visa pages. If the pages of your passport have become filled with visas or entry and exit stamps you will need to apply for a new passport before your travel.

You can look up specific visa requirements by citizenship here:

At the Global Media Desk we highly recommend that you use local crews whenever possible. With local crews you don’t have to worry about the hassle of visa requirements and you get an expert in area. It’s a win win for everyone!