Jody MacDonald isn't your typical photographer, she's paraglided over the Himalayas with a $10,000 camera in her hand, has spent the past five years at sea working with professional extreme water sport athletes, and has had the distinct pleasure of meeting (and photographing) the world's last ocean swimming elephant.
Jody's nomadic lifestyle wouldn't be possible if she didn't have a way to run her business remotely. Thankfully she found PhotoShelter a few years back and now it seems there isn't a part of Jody's photo business that PhotoShelter doesn't touch
"I use it to showcase my images, for online storage, print sales, stock sales, as a great image delivery system between my clients and myself, and a way for clients to view my work. For example, I post slideshows for an editor, who can then download whatever high-res they need for the feature they are running."
An artist from a young age, Jody discovered photography while at university. "I fell in love with being able to catch an amazing moment in time and quickly see the results," she says. But she also had a passion for adventure sports, and believe it or not, got her Bachelors in Outdoor Recreation. After University, Jody landed a job as a photo editor for a large outdoor retailer in Canada. "I was looking at photos all day long of athletes in amazing places doing amazing things in the outdoors," she says. Stuck in an office, critiquing photos from nine to five, Jody knew she had to follow her passion and get outside to shoot.
Five years ago Jody became the co-owner of The Best Odyssey, a 60-foot catamaran, and embarked on a world kiteboarding and paragliding expedition with her partner and evolving list of professional athletes. She credits the expedition as an incredible platform for a photographer to develop skills. "I work with professional athletes in amazing places, so it wasn't hard to make the jump to sport photography."
Jody has developed a style that goes beyond just capturing an exciting piece of action,
"It's easy to get a pro athlete doing some crazy move - anyone can get that, but I'm always trying for more 'depth.' A lot of my features that go into magazines have a storyline to them. They are very rarely just about the action and more about the journey to get to remote locations and the adventure that unfolds."
Jody mostly shoots with Canon Mark II 5D and 7D bodies and always has her 16-35mm f/2.8 L II lens, 25-70mm f/2.8 L and 70-200 f/2.8 L in her camera bag. "For a lot of the water stuff I use housings of course, but one of my niches is over/under shots using different ports for the housings," she says. She's recently gotten a lot more into video, using cranes and dollies. In short she says, "I've got a really impossible gear bag to travel with!"
As idyllic a situation as it may seem for someone with a passion for adventure and travel, Jody admits, "this is the number one problem with my business - I have the opportunity to shoot all the time, it's the organizing and marketing that is hard to find the time for!" A familliar complaint among photographers, luckily Jody found PhotoShelter to help her stay in touch with clients and manage her business from even the most remote ocean venue.
"Finding decent Internet is often a challenge for me so I use PhotoShelter exclusively for photo delivery. I only need to upload [my images] once instead of uploading a file to each magazine's FTP site. This is probably the single most important feature that PhotoShelter provides."
Jody uses a customized Graph Paper Press theme that has allowed her to showcase her water sport, adventure, and documentary work in equally stunning display. Admitting that she's not very good at HTML, Jody enlisted the help of PhotoShelter certified consultant David Brabyn at Digitaltechparis. "He has been a huge help," she says. "Modifying my GPP template and integrating PhotoShelter so that they work seamlessly."
Jody says that PhotoShelter has been great at attracting private sales and stock sales to her site. "PhotoShelter's tools for SEO are great and make running my business easier," she says. "There is nothing better than being in a remote place and selling an image. It feels as though I have an assistant selling my work for me."
When asked "what's next?" Jody talks about her desire to shoot more stories about environmental and wildlife conservation. Her photo essay, "The Last of His Kind" about Rajan the last ocean swimming elephant appeared in National Geographic and won an International Conservation Photographer's Award, among others. She is also quick to admit "I'm never completely sure what's next. But hopefully I'll be lost in some remote location having an interesting adventure."