An Introduction by Richard "Bacchus" Cruit
I founded Caribbean Dream Photo Shoot in 2013 with regular trips to Puerto Rico with the desire to create unique destination photography trips by photographers, for photographers. We have since grown out of our name to include regular events in the Caribbean as well as the United States, Mexico & France. For 2018 we are looking to change our format a bit, most of our events will be by invitation only except for the Glam Jam events. To get an invitation you must have attended a previous trip and be in good standing or be referred by a trusted alumni of Caribbean Dream Photo Shoot.
We work with models from all over the USA and the world. Our models have come from USA, Canada, UK, Latvia, Lithuania, UK, Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Italy, France, Netherlands, Denmark, Spain, Belgium, Brazil, Mexico and the list keeps growing!
The trips are designed with one simple concept "to offer photographers amazing models at amazing locations". These trips are all about the photography, we do not have contests or challenges or large parties to distract from the main objective of getting terrific pictures. Of course we do have fun, wonderful meals, a few drinks together, and generally hang out when we are not shooting but the main objective is to take advantage of the opportunity to shoot at the locations and models we have. Just to be clear I think events that offer contests and challenges are great, they just are not what we do.
The experience as relaxed or fast paced as you want it to be, as organizers we like to step into the background and let the photographers do their thing but are always close by to lend a hand or offer advise if asked for). From when we all meet for happy hour drinks the night before shooting begins, to our final breakfast together, all the details have been planned out, from meals, locations and transportation to group shoots, schedules and shoot permits all you need to do is figure out who you are going to shoot next! I personally do not shoot during the event shoots but am there to facilitate the set-ups, shoot rotations and in general help in any way I can. I also have some co-hosts that help things run smoothly. I or a staff member are available at all times to assist you in whatever you may need from photography related questions to anything about scheduling models, accommodations, transportation, etc.
Ok, that said if you are the type of person who needs to plan out every detail a month ahead and freak out at changes of plans, these trips are not for you. If you are known to be a whiner, these trips are not for you. If you think your sh*t don't stink or think I, or anyone working with me, are your servants, these trips are not for you. But if you are a go-with-the-flow, relaxed human being, looking to have some fun shooting in great locations with great people, these are the trips for you and we want you to be part of it!
In closing I just want to say at our core I am a photographer organizing events for photographers, the way I would want it to be if I was a client. Oh, one last important distinction from other events is you will have the opportunity to shoot with every model attending. Every model.
I realize we are not the cheapest photography event but I really do believe we offer the best value for the experience.
Richard "Bacchus" Cruit
Our New Format
I have been doing these events for 5 years now and have decided to scale back and just do a few trips a year. My goal is to actually enjoy the trips as well and to that end I have found that usually it is one or two people who attend an event that ruin it the fun. To that end I have decided that I no longer am going to make the majority of the events by invitation only. The Glam Jam Mexico events, are separate from Caribbean Dream Photo Shoot and are open to models and photographers from the general public.
Getting an Invitation
If you have attended a previous Caribbean Dream Photo Shoot or know Richard, just send him a message or give him a call. If you know someone who has attended a previous event (model or photographer) you can have them vouch for you and lastly you can reach out and give us a call and tell us why you would like to join us on a trip.
The Locations and Lodging
Our goal, being photographers ourselves, is to find unique, inspiring locations to both as our home base but also on day trip excursions. We look for features that offer amazing opportunities for shooting. From castles and mega villas to boutique hotels used in major films we seek out places that are different than the standard destination events at generic villas or resorts. In most cases we have excursions to spectacular shoot locations off the beaten path. The group size are typically between 10 & 20 people models usually share rooms and photographers get their own private rooms. On occasion we have rooms at a discounted price for photographers wanting to share a room. In most cases lodging is included in the price of the event unless otherwise requested or an option for the event without lodging is offered.
All the models who attend have either shot with us or have been vetted and vouched for by trusted photographers and /or models. When we select models for our events our number one criteria is personality, we are looking for outgoing, engaging models next, of course, is the look of the model, we try to get a variety of looks, styles and comfort levels (from fashion to nudes). The models we select are professional models, most have a solid portfolios of publications and/or have a long history of working with exceptional photographers. Since models are being paid to shoot there is no requirement that you provide any images, edited or not. Don't get us wrong, the models love to get images but there is no pressure on your part.
Most of our trips have model sponsorship's. Photographers can choose a model from a list of available models and they shoot an hour a day with that model and also have priority scheduling with their sponsored models. The idea is for the event to have a photographer to model ratio of 1:1. Some of the events model sponsorship is optional and may be offered at an additional cost, in these cases a photographer who decides to sponsor gets an hour a day with their sponsored model, priority in scheduling their model, and priority in scheduling other models (they get to pre-book before the day of shooting others can only book day of shooting after a certain time).
Our events are designed to maximize shoot time. The typical day of shooting starts with a group shoot at a designated location either at the property we are staying at or out on one of our excursions. These shoots comprise of quick 5-15 minute one-on-one shoots with the models, by the end of the trip you should have shot every model at least once during the group shoots. These one-on-one shoots serve two objectives, the first is you get to shoot with every model and the second is that you get to see what kind of photographer/model chemistry you have. The rest of the day the photographers can book the models for paid private shoots. When we are at an excursion location we block off several hours for photographers to book private shoots or shoot with their sponsored model. The rates for the private shoots vary depending on the style and levels of nudity. Typically lunch is included (depending on the package purchased all meals may be included).
Building Your Portfolio
We select models who are real professional models as well as those we have identified as "up & coming" models and are, in our estimation, about to take off. The"up & coming" models by no means are amateurs, they have experience and have worked with well respected photographers. Working with professional models and the "up & coming" is important for photographers for several reasons the first is the quality of your images, working with an experienced, beautiful model instantly will take your work up a level just by virtue of the number of usable images you will get verses using an inexperienced model. Another important reason is that you can leverage their social media networks. By including these models in your online social media the public and prospective models will see you that you work with models they recognize and associate you with them. This is particularly helpful if you are trying to develop business in your home area.
Ok let's address the elephant in the room, we know our trips are not cheap compared to some of the pricing of other events. Of course we do try and offer a variety of options to suit a range of budgets. But there is a very good reason that our trips cost a bit more, we are looking for something more than a chain hotel resorts mobbed by tourists and restrictions or some generic house or even a suburban back yard with a pool. We are known for finding unique properties such as exceptional villas, castles or distinctive boutique hotels for lodging. These are places you will remember forever. Then there are the models... The models that attend are serious, professional models who come to shoot and produce great images with the photographers. You will have the opportunity to shoot all the models that you want to shoot with. You do not have to buy model releases from models you do not want to shoot (we do not even charge for model releases). They will not disappear to go party or show up (if at all) the next morning hungover. While other trips make the models pay for airfare and/or hotel and basically pitch the trip as a vacation we do not. The problem with their business model is that the models do not, and should not, feel obligated to shoot since they are paying and they also feel they should get to choose who they shoot with since they also paid for the trip. Again, this is fine if that is what you are looking for, but that is not us.
We are looking to create a fun environment with the central focus being on shooting for every trip we plan. As far as the photographs you take there is no expectation or pressure that you will deliver images, if you have experienced this in the past you know what we mean. Of course the models are thrilled when you do provide them but unlike other events that require photographers to edit a certain amount of images by a certain time we do not. We also provide all transportation for event excursions and depending on the event or the package you purchase it also includes all meals (and we like to eat well). The bottom line is that we bring together amazing models at amazing locations and do not cut corners, fall short on expectations or under-deliver and we price our events accordingly. We want to create the ultimate dream shoot experience.
White Label and Custom Trips
If you are interested in doing your own event or trip we can leverage our experience to find you locations, lodging, models, transportation and all the logistics that you would require. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
If you are a model interested in being part of our events please send 5-10 images of yourself, a paragraph or two about yourself and modeling experience, links to any social media or portfolio websites and your measurements, ethnicity, styles and levels (Fashion, Swimwear, Lingerie, Implied, Nude) to email@example.com. For our typical event models need to be sponsored by an attending photographer, this sponsorship covers your travel to the location, lodging (shared rooms with other models), meals and ground transportation to shoot locations. Sponsored models also shoot one hour per day with their sponsor. Models are also required to do 1-4 hours per day in event designated shoots (workshop or an assigned shoot with a photographer) all other times are free for the models to book private shoots. Typical rates are $50-$75 for fashion, bikini & lingerie and $100-$125 for implied and nude.