Photographing The Planet D

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One of the things my parents always told me when I was growing up was that nothing in life is free. As immigrants to this country, they knew first-hand that to achieve anything worthy of pride and merit, you had to work hard for it.

My parents raised me to see that the rewards that come from having committed yourself to a goal are greater than the instant (and quickly fading) gratification of having been given anything you didn’t really have to make much effort for.

As a professional travel blogger, I am often reminded of these lessons because though it may seem at times that this “lifestyle” is full of freebies and perks, the truth is that the most solid, most valuable, most significant opportunities and experiences – and yes, even the most lucrative ones – are often a result of the hard work, time, and effort that has been put into your brand beforehand. Though at times it may seem as if these things are just falling from the sky for some, there is a lot behind the scenes that has happened long before anyone ever gets there.

During my years in this profession, there are few bloggers that I have met that are representative of this example and two of those bloggers are Debra and Dave from The Planet D.

The Planet D_girlgonetravel

I have admired their work for a long time, but I will confess I didn’t actually become a “fan girl” till I met them in person. This is because I have learned over the years that the core of a brand lies in the people behind it – not just the image of who they are or what we see online, but the real people.

When the “real” person behind a successful brand, whether it be on the blogger end or the brand end represents so much of what you value, it tends to make you really excited to get to know them more, or even work with them. As a reader and consumer, The Planet D for me has been a brand that I look to for fun, adventure, and even romantic features. I love their videos, and their photography is just stunning.

As a professional blogger, I have been impressed with the solid relationships they have fostered with brands and tourism destination representatives, which have always been so valuable and long-term. I met Deb and Dave on a superficial level at conferences, never really taking the time to connect with them in-depth. That opportunity came about through our mutual partnership with Expedia Viewfinder, and like all the talented writers in our group, I found them to be approachable and smart.

I was smitten by their dynamic as a couple, as they remind me so much of my husband and I (what can I say, I love LOVE) and I was in awe of how savvy and knowledgeable they are about the business of travel blogging, but especially how giving they are of the same.

My deepest admiration is reserved for how hard they work, how committed they are to their profession and to those who invest in them, how serious they are about this incredible gift that they have been given to make travel their life and work. It speaks to me on a personal level and it encourages me on a professional one.

So often we come across people who don’t respect the profession, which makes it harder for those of us who do, and you start to appreciate the ones that don’t take the work for granted. Those are the people behind The Planet D.

I was giddy when I found out I would be sharing an apartment with them through a trip sponsored by House Trip in Playa del Carmen, Mexico (more on that soon) and was honored that they allowed me to join them one early morning of photo shooting along the beach (sunrise and sunset shots around the world are some of my absolute favorite photography on The Planet D’s Instagram).

The bonus to waking up at the crack of dawn (literally) to photo shoot two travel bloggers that I admire so much was getting to witness first hand the dynamic behind the scenes. How Deb is protective and lovingly stern with Dave, in a way that we wives tend to be with the husband we love so, so much and the patience and laid back demeanor of Dave, as he listens to her.

The way they joke and laugh with each other, how they collaborate and work together, trust each other and guide each other through the process. It’s pretty great and, as a reader of their blog, it’s pretty awesome to know that the couple I have loved to follow online are even better in person.

Photographing The Planet D at work

The Planet D_girlgonetravelThe loving chemistry between Dave and Deb, in my opinion, is one of the best things about their travel adventures together…even when Deb gives her husband that disapproving wife stance, as seen in this picture. The Planet D_girlgonetravelThese two work so well together. It was beautiful to watch…and a little funny. The Planet D_girlgonetravel The Planet D_girlgonetravel The Planet D_girlgonetravelThey put their all into those perfect shots I’ve long admired on their blog and Instagram feed. The Planet D_girlgonetravel The Planet D_girlgonetravelThe best of us have someone on our side with whom we can collaborate and find support in. 

During the time I spent with them, I learned some tips for my blog and my brand too. They didn’t know I would write this piece about them, and I hope it’s not terribly embarrassing for them, but I really feel in this overly saturate space, with so many resources out there available to us as professionals and readers, that it’s nice to highlight where to go that will deliver what you are hoping for – whether it be as someone looking for a reliable travel resource or as an aspiring travel blogger looking for good examples of how to approach the business.

Debra and Dave will be speaking at the Travel Bloggers Exchange (TBEX) in Cancun this weekend (Friday, September 12, 2014 at 2:30pm) in the business track titled, “From Pitch to Profit: Earning Money with Your Brand”. If you are lucky enough to be there (sadly, I won’t be), I advise you to attend.

Chances are they won’t share information on how to make a million dollars in your first year of blogging or give you tips on how to score a ton of free trips with very little effort, but from what I have learned just in the 3 days I have spent with them, I know that the information they have to share is invaluable to those looking to grow their professional travel blogging career and have long-term goals for the same.

If you can’t make it, here is a video from a Keynote they did at TBEX 2013:

And if you are a travel reader and consumer, I invite you to share in the fun that it has been in following their adventures and learning from their travel tips.

Check them out at @ThePlanetD on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

Thank you to Dave and Deb for sharing your wisdom, time, creativity, and friendship. But most especially, thanks for all the fun. It’s truly been a highlight for me. The Planet D_girlgonetravel


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Carol Cain

Carol is her happiest when on an adventure, either close to home or farther away. She's the mom to three fun boys and wife to a handsome Irish/Scot. She lives in New Jersey with her happy crew, but will always be a girl from Brooklyn. You can read her full profile here.

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5 Responses to Photographing The Planet D

  1. davendeb says:

    This article brought a tear to my eye. Thank you so much. And you are so right, this was a complete surprise! The feeling is mutual girl! I feel that I have met my twin and I cannot wait to meet Travis because I think that he and Dave are going to be two peas in a pod! It was our pleasure hanging out with you these past few days and we miss you already! WE just read this right after we arrived at TBEX in Cancun and you have lifted our spirits making this a great start to the conference. We’re excited to be able to get the opportunity again to hang in Greece where you’ll be speaking and we’ll be cheering you on, but not until we get more time together with HouseTrip in Crete!!! Have a safe flight home and we will see you soon. We love love too and we love you!

    • caincarol says:

      I\’m sorry I will miss your session at TBEX, but I feel like I got my own private session in just spending time with you two. Thank you for that! Looking forward to seeing you again soon and many, many hugs and kisses to you both with love.

  2. Nancy Brown says:

    Great blog post, Carol. Indeed, Deb and Dave are professionals in their field and take gorgeous photos!

  3. davendeb says:

    Thanks for the kind words Nancy! We had so much fun meeting you in Seattle too. Gotta do it again sometime!

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