I recently had the chance to go a bit “extra” and do a photoshoot in the middle of the rice fields in Ubud. Wearing a bright coral evening gown.
Wait what? Why?
Because why not?!
Here’s the back story. I was going to be in Jakarta to see a client for work on a Friday, I was feeling a bit down, so I thought a short solo weekend away in Ubud would be a good way to recharge. I’d been to Ubud two years ago and loved it, and had wanted to go back to check it out again for a while. Having followed her Instagram stories, I knew my friend, J, was also in Bali, so I messaged her to see if she’d be up for catching up. J is a super inspirational power girl who had started her own startup, called Wandersnap. I didn’t know much about it at the time, but when she suggested that I could try out Wandersnap for myself while I was in Bali, I decided to go for it.
The premise of Wandersnap is this: hire a professional freelance photographer by the hour, whilst you’re travelling/abroad, and take the opportunity to capture some beautiful photos of your vacation/honeymoon/adventures. J’s vision was to make Wandersnap the on-demand Uber of photography. There is even a social dimension to the concept; $5 from every booking goes towards teaching low-opportunity youth photography skills so they can potentially use it to earn a living.
Logging onto Wandersnap.co, I was able to put in my dates and location, and a list of available photographers for Ubud popped up. Photographers set their own rates, and can load a portfolio of their work so that you can get a sample of their style. After some browsing, I settled on Dewi, a local Balinese photography whose photos had a nice street feel to them. Her rate was $80 USD per hour, but I figured an hour of shooting would be more than enough.
On shoot day, I met Dewi at Anomali Cafe on the main strip in Ubud. Just returning from lunch with J at Sari Organik, I was rushed and not quite ready. No makeup and not dressed in my shoot outfit yet! Luckily Dewi had a bike, so I hopped on the back and she drove me back to my guesthouse where I quickly slapped on some makeup and changed into my flowy coral gown. I brought one other dress so I could change and get a different look in for some of the photos.
So, onto the back of the bike again, in my long flowy gown, speeding through the streets of Ubud to the rice fields. What a strange sight I must have been. I held the bottom of my dress up for the ride, so it wouldn’t get caught in the wheels.
At the rice fields, we started shooting, but it’s a weird feeling when you’re not a professional model and don’t know how to “pose” naturally. Walking along the mud ridges of the rice terraces, I was trying hard not to fall into the wet fields. Naturally, I still managed to lose my footing and slid one foot into a pile of muddy water, splashing it all over my dress. Of course this was bound to happen. The mud stains weren’t too obvious, luckily. Maybe Dewi can work some post-shoot editing magic on both the mud drops and the sweat stains; it was Bali and it was stinkin’ hot after all.
We switched it up to another field later, and I found some crumbling gates of a Balinese temple way to pose against. When I’d had enough of the red dress, I ask Dewi to hold up a Sarong so I could change into my other outfit, right there by the temple gates. Probably not quite sanctioned by the Balinese gods, but there was nowhere to change otherwise!
Post-shoot, Dewi and I chilled at a cafe overlooking the Tegallalang rice terraces and grabbed a drink. She’d spent probably four hours with me in total, for the “one hour” photoshoot. I was happy with the experience and couldn’t wait to see the final photos, which were available for download via the Wandersnap.co platform as soon as she finished her edits. Definitely not the usual tourist experience on this trip.