Sunshine, blue skies, clear waters and perfect dirt. If you’re a mountain biker, these are the essential ingredients for a perfect ride on the Oregon Coast. Earlier this summer photographer Justin Myers spent an hour “chasing the light” to capture this shot of Rena Simpson mountain biking the Cape Blanco Trail System near Port Orford. “For this photo, Rena biked that same 100-foot section at least 15 times before she rode by at just the right moment with just the right light,” says Meyers.

Imagery and video is like gold when it comes to engaging with people on social media. With 2 billion monthly active users on Facebook, 700 million monthly active users on Instagram, and 1 billion monthly active users on YouTube, the value of professional photography has never been more important to destination marketing organizations (DMOs). The Wild Rivers Coast is branding itself as an outdoor mecca with trails, waterways and beaches that are accessible not just during the summer, but all year long. In early 2017, the Wild Rivers Coast Marketing Action Team devised a plan for getting high-quality images within a tight budget.

Here’s how they did it, and how you can to. 

    1. Secure funding. Born out of the Wild Rivers Coast Rural Tourism Studio, the Marketing Action Team secured a $10,000 grant from the Travel Oregon Small Grants Program.
    1. Designate a project manager. The Marketing Action Team enlisted Miles Phillips, coastal tourism specialist for Oregon State University Extension Service, to manage the project. He enlisted two undergraduate interns, both part of the Oregon Sea Grant Summer Scholar.
    1. Define a realistic scope of work, timeline and budget. Develop a creative brief that clearly states your goals (what you’re trying to achieve), timeline and budget. For larger projects, creating a Request for Proposals (RFP) is a good way to solicit multiple bids.
    1. Develop a shot list. Phillips and Dave Lacey, destination coordinator for the Oregon Coast Visitor Association (OVCA), created a list of desired locations and activities to capture during photo shoots. A well-considered shot list helped ensure photographers understood deliverables.
    1. Select photographers. The team hired five photographers (Meyers, Erik Urdahl, Susan Dimock, Steve Dimock, and Rowland Willis). While this could have made it challenging to maintain a consistent look and feel, the group pulled it off by clearly communicating their brand and intended audience to photographers, and staying true to both.
    1. Negotiate contracts. The contract should clearly define the number of images the photographer is expected to deliver. It should also define photo usage, which is the length of time an image or images will be used. It should also define how the images can be used (advertising, public relations, social media, etc.). The contract should also include whether or not photographers will be reimbursed for travel costs.
    1. Produce photoshoots. Lacey served as the producer, which involved finding models, getting model releases signed, and coordinating with businesses. “Dave did an awesome job,” Meyers says. “He knew all the picturesque places to go and had a network of models and businesses to pull from.” Meyers stresses the importance of communicating with businesses well in advance so they are prepared when you arrive with a camera, lights and models. If you’re shooting at a restaurant, for example, consider shooting on a slower day of the week.
    1. Organize photos. OCVA made a critical contribution to the project by providing a subscription to Barberstock, which securely stores digital content on cloud servers and allows users to tag photos with keywords, photo credits and photo captions. “We selected Barberstock because it was built specifically for DMOs. We hope that eventually all Coast DMOs will utilize Barberstock to search for images, download images, upload images, and easily share images with the media,” says Marcus Hinz, executive director, OCVA. DMO and other marketing entities should stay tuned for information later this fall about trainings to help them learn how to use Barberstock to interface with media outlets .
    1. Integrate the photos into your marketing strategy. This is the fun part! Whether creating print advertisements, developing a media kit or posting to Instagram, high-quality images will help you gain exposure for your destination.

“This project was a group effort and not an easy undertaking, but it’s one that will have far-reaching impacts for the communities of Brookings, Gold Beach, Bandon, Port Orford and Langlois,” Phillips says. “The entire process was a way for four organizations to pool their resources to get high-quality images while honing in on their collective brand.”


Guide to Photography Usage Terms

Photo courtesy of Justin Myers