Articles by Jeremy Michael Cohen

Jeremy Michael Cohen is a film writer and director, as well as co-founder of Tortuga Backpacks. He started traveling overseas as a baby when his parents dragged him to Israel. Originally from New Castle, Pennsylvania, Jeremy attended the University of Maryland as an undergraduate and then earned an MFA from USC's School of Cinematic Arts in Film Production. Jeremy had a brief study abroad stint in Paris as an undergrad and was inspired to start Tortuga while backpacking Eastern Europe with Fred Perrotta while on summer break from film school. When he's not busy performing filmmaking skulduggery, Jeremy enjoys reading great books, traveling, and playing sports. He is a passionate, lifelong Pittsburgh Steelers fan. He currently resides in the lovely Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles.

You can follow Jeremy on Twitter or Google+.


From the time we started Tortuga, Fred has said that we, as a company, have a few superpowers. Frankly, most them belong to him. However, one of our superpowers is that I — one of our co-founders — am a film and commercial director and producer by trade and training, so we can make media super cheaply and efficiently compared to our competition. I think he’s overstating that as a “superpower” by a fair bit, but it is a convenient competitive advantage.

My goal in this post is to teach you how we pull off our photo shoots so that you can effectively do it, too. The process is much the same as the way I produce content for giant brands (in my life outside of Tortuga), albeit we do it here with much less red tape and many fewer lawyers.

Hiring an agency and/or production company to produce your photo shoots (or any other media, for that matter), will certainly increase your budget by multiples. But you can probably do almost as good a job as those people — who will have no concern for the long-term health of your business — and save a ton of money in the process.

The Two Kinds of Photo Shoots

There are two kinds of photo shoots you might want to do for your company.

Lifestyle

The first is lifestyle. These are what most of our images for the new Outbreaker bags are. The photos feature people who look like your audience using your product in a real life setting.

Nike might feature a professional athlete on a basketball court; Apple might feature a DJ in a club; we feature travelers getting on trains. But let’s be honest: this isn’t real life. These are the idealized versions of your customers using a mint-condition version of your product in a beautiful setting.
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Fred’s at Coachella right now, so odds are he’s very thirsty. That got me thinking about hydration and water bottles, in general, and how most of the solutions to one of the most basic human problems of quenching thirst suck.

Most water bottles are about as elegant as a concrete block. They’re hard, they take up a lot of space, they start to stink after a while and make water taste bad, thereby inherently making them bad at doing their sole job. I imagine most cavemen had the exact same problems with their water-carrying devices.

Can’t we find a better solution?

The Problem With Hard Water Bottles

I’ve tried to use Nalgene-style water bottles a few times in my life, but I’ve always been excessively disappointed from a utility standpoint alone. Let’s be honest: they’re less than ideal to drink from. The size of the opening is simply too big for a bottle that large. Unless I’m enjoying the great outdoors on a hot day, I have zero interest in pouring water all over my chest.

Hard water bottles take up a fixed amount of space. When they’re empty, they don’t become any smaller. Should we take it for granted that a water bottle should take up a fixed amount of volume in our precious luggage space?

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I’m an adherent of the slow-carb diet advocated by Tim Ferriss. I’ve done a pretty good job of sticking to it for a year straight. In the past, I’ve been on it for long chunks of months, too. The diet is pretty straightforward. I can eat vegetables, meat, beans/lentils, and I get one “cheat day” per week to eat whatever I like.

But sticking to it while traveling can be tough.

Traveling presents some serious obstacles to staying on a diet. Strange places have strange foods that might not lend themselves to a particular diet. Breaking your normal routine seems to make it easier to break your diet. And, something about travel is indulgent. We feel like we should indulge ourselves with food when we do travel.

Read on for some suggestions how to maintain your diet (which can be any diet you so choose) while you’re on the road.

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