AirBnB Photography The Story

The Story starts 10 Years ago when I saw a tiny Ad on Craigslist,  AirBnB  posted a free Ad looking for a Photographer in Phuket.

I been only twice in Phuket and just came back to Los Angeles to work and follow up on my customers to be able to travel back again.

When I saw the Ad, I immediately applied and told them that I am freelance photographer that familiar with Phuket.

At this time I was a photographer but had more experience in photographing pretty woman,  I did not specialize in Real Estate Photography but had some random building captures and some interiors. But I am an optimist and and least I give it a try, if I fail I learn at least how to make it better or different next time. The reason most people fail is that they don't even try it, the come up with many reason not to do it instead of taking the risk and taking that opportunity.   Its the same story if you really like a woman, talk to her, show her that you interested, at least you will learn something about her and even she rejects you you will gain.  Ever guy remember where the situations was not perfect or he was to nervous to approach her,  you will always think about the moment and tell yourself I will never get a second chance!   

After I submited my email to be considered  and my portfolio ( I just forgot and went to my less creative daily work..  

Someone would wonder why would you leave your life in California behind and just go work abroad..?

Perhaps it has to do little with my background.  I was born in Poland  and in the 80,s I was still a kid when my parents immigrated to Germany first.  Although my father his mind for some reason  was set always to made it one day to the USA.   Even his lifestyle in Germany was not so bad,  of course it was hard in the beginnings  but he was a talented artist ( and within a short amount of time he got his first job as sculptor.   I don't even know where he acquired those skills,  because in Poland he was a teacher,  he must had talent in that artistic field  wich helps alot. Consider moving to foreign country  where you don't speak the language, what kind of job will you be able to get.   Since this position was very unique his salary was not so bad... 

It was harder for us as kids being send to school right away when you don't  understand anything (ich verstehe nur Bahnhof und Bratkartoffeln).

"Like many idioms, its origins aren’t totally clear, but it seems to have originated around the 1920s.

The main theory is that it came about after the end of the First World War. Weary and tired soldiers wanted nothing else but to go home, and the way home was associated with the train station.

When you tried talking to them, the only word they would recognize was Bahnhof, because they so desperately wanted to get home."

But as a kids you have the talent not only to learn several languages much faster then an adult,  you also pick up the local accent until a specific age.

Back to AirBnB,  a nice email came back that the like my portfolio and whenever I am ready I can just sign up to the photographer 

control panel and head to Phuket.   You basically have an page with a world map and a tool to uplaod your photos.  Once you are in some location  you set the needel to that location  and the system will assign you host that need professional photos to use them for their listing.

Great way of marketing at the beginning AirBnB  instead of spending money on mainstream advertising the just invested into their hosts.

Besically covered a photos shoot for the Host (worth between $80 -$240).  A win win situation for all of us !

Host will get their properties to look nice,  and book faster.  Customer will notice amazing places to stay and learn that you can also luxury stay in a House instead of a 4 Star Hotel.  AirBnB will get publicity and introduce a new cute way to travel...

And we photographers will get tons of work,  because nothing sells better then a free product !

And for us?  Increadible amount of work, almost in any location around the world where you can find something just interesting enough to visit...

That Job would change many hobby photographers lifes ! Phuket was kind of new for me but an amazing break from Los Angeles, where you spend at least 90 minutes to 2 hours a day in traffic to just get to work.  What a wast of time and health..  

I been only twice before in Phuket and as most people fall in love with Thailand very fast..  Its just a combination of so many postitive things that gives your life (Lebenslust) Joy of living.  You have a close connection to nature,  all those white beaches and clean water, tropical climate and Thai food, not to forget to mentions in my opinion Thai woman are the Queens of Asian Woman, very beautiful and good in relationships. The positive energy :~)

A famouse fotographer (sebastiao salgado) once said " it takes seconds to take a good photo, but years  to get there"  He means all your life experiences and couriousity to get to that situation where you feel confident to push that button and create beauty! 

So it was about the time to take off for the second time to Thailand,  things had to be organized in LA because I would be gone for at least 4 months.  Not sure if on the second trip but  in the future to absorb the rental costs I placed my  studio up for rent on AirBnB.  Since Long Beach is pretty popular I always found someone that was willing to stay 1-2 month at my place.   So once I was on the way to the airport my landlord become a vacation rental manager.   I was just responsible of choosing nice people so we would have no problems and he took care of the rest.   I never meet those people becaue usually the arrived same day or few days later.

The flight to Asia from LA is one of the longest.  I am already used to those flight between Europe and US, since I was travelign all my life, but this one if you start your stop watch the minute you leave your appartment until you arrive at your hotel in Thailand it's literally a 24 hour trip or longer !  The most confortable connection I found would be trough Guangzhou.  Not only you are flying the most comfortable airplane an Airbus 380  but once arrived you  only have 1:45 left to fly to Bangkok.  Before that I always took the fligh via Korea..  but from there you still have 6 hours to fly to Bangkok,  a Nightmare..   In China once arrived at the airport,  I went streight to the lounge and took a shower..  That gave me a nice feeling after the first 14 hours nonstop flight.   You then spoil yourself there with a good coffee and some lunch like buffet type.  Totally worth the $99 Amex fee to have access trough that credit card you can view on the right side.  I can't afford to fly business I think its just wast of money if you calculate the $2000 you did not spend extra you can have the best holiday in Thailand ! But somethign in between that for litt money you get some extra confort !

airbnb at work

Back to my work,  its a challenge to  arrive in a new country where you don't speak the language and are not familiar with the area to start doing some photography.  I had to get familiar with the area first, a big help is that GPS and you Maps on the phone work pretty well in most foreign countries..   Otherwise pretty hard to read street signs or find smaller roads.  You have to imagine in areas like tropical islands you don't have the infrastructure like in bigger cities.  So it may happen you have to take some dirt roads or jungle paths to reach your destinations.  

But also in a big city like Bangkok you can get lost very fast.  I had a meeting in a area in Bangkok  where when I left the house instead of making a right turn I walked to the left..  I found myself in a maze of streets looking all the same,  I never seen anything like that before, each turn I try to remember something, everything looked the same..   So I approached few people but no one could understand anything.. Even the word (BTS) which stands for the trains build above Bangkok..   I was not afraid that I would be robbed,  Bangkok is pretty safe at night and day  but it was very hot and I was loosing energy and did not have any water with me.....

Several people I approached nobody could really understand me or help..   One family lucky their son spoke few words and we somehow agreed with body language he would drive me on his moped to the next  BTS station..   People in Thailand are very friendly and helpful,  he did not want any money  but I gave him a good tip :~)


To Be Continued 

AirBnB Photography around the World !


by  Adrian Lew /

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