Do you want to know how to collaborate with brands, luxury resorts or hotels? Then definitely read further to learn how we do this. With our Instagram and by offering photos or video reels, we land collaborations with the most exclusive and luxury resorts. This in exchange for a free stay at a place we’d love to experience.

A video collaboration is a great way to build your portfolio as a filmmaker. In this blog post we will explain how to get instagram collaborations and how to build your video portfolio as filmmaker. We explain to you which steps are involved, how we reach out to resorts, give insights of the filming process, and we’ll show you the final result of our content collaborations.

Often we stay for free at hotels & resorts in exchange for the production of a promotional video for them. Instagram marketing is huge these days. A lot of resorts and hotels use instagram  for showing their amenities and experiences. So a promo video adds a great value to them. As a filmmaker this will also improve your skills and is a great way to save money on accommodation while traveling! This is also known as a ‘barter deal’ or ‘ instagram collaboration’; an exchange of products or services without paying for it from either side. Of course the service, and or product, which is exchanged has to benefit both sides so you want it to make the best collaboration.

This is what we’ve already realized before we started our fulltime nomad travel lifestyle. It’s a great way to build your photo and video portfolio on your website with the content of luxury hotels, resorts and tour operators. This will give you a varied portfolio. And in combination with your growing skills, you will get to the point you can ask money for your services, including a free, all-inclusive, stay of course!

Who to target for instagram collaborations?

We target the more luxury (eco-friendly) resorts at unique places, mostly in a natural environment with stunning views. Not only to have a great personal experience and because we love being around nature. These resorts also offer more services and experiences than hotels. So with this in mind, you can produce a video with more variety and that will grow your skills even more.

Of course, you can reach out to any accommodation. But with some good research on instagram, you can find out which ones already invest in online exposure and are open for collaborations. Also, check their website! If they have an old fashioned promo video from years ago, you can offer them a fresh new modern video with updated gear.

Luxury resort North Zen Villas in Bohol, Philippines.

How to explain your business

Not all the marketing managers of hotels understand how much value you provide with the work you’re offering them as a filmmaker. Also some don’t understand how to use Instagram marketing or Instagram collaborations to attract more customers. So you have to explain and show this. An all-inclusive stay of 2-3 days is the minimum to agree with.

Explain how much time you have to put in to produce a high quality and professional looking video. Show them your film portfolio and gear list so they understand you are not showing up with only your iPhone for a short walk around. A good way to show your gear is with the website All the gear we used for this shoot:

Mediakit & Testimonial

Also, design a media kit which includes the necessary Instagram insights. Think about the number of followers, engagement, reach per post and audience. Together with an ‘about’ section, contact details and some stunning photos this tool is a must these days to get an Instagram collaboration. We’ve used Canva to design ours so we really recommend this website because it will make life easier for you to do this.

Remember, in the first place you want to put in the work for your own film portfolio. But, you do want to deliver a video which will exceed their expectations to make it the best collaboration, right?! Especially when they have more locations you can use the “free” video to convince them to pay you for more videos. Don’t forget to ask them for a testimonial so you can use this on your website to land future jobs. This is also a very important part to build your portfolio as a filmmaker!


How to Find a Client

Recently we traveled through the Philippines. A few weeks before we reached out to several 5-star hotels and resorts which we discovered via and Instagram. On the website of the concerning hotels, we found their email addresses where we’ve sent an email with our current video portfolio and proposal to. We explained what we can offer them in video services, including Instagram posts (photos) and stories during the period that we would stay there.

A good looking Instagram profile with a high number of followers is not always necessary but will definitely help you to succeed. Unfortunately, some marketing managers are a bit short-sighted and are only looking for high numbers. So don’t be surprised if some Instagram accounts with 50K followers or more can land a free stay just for a few Instagram photos of shitty quality, while you can’t convince them with a higher quality video service if having a lower number of followers. We do have a pretty okay amount of followers, but always want to succeed the collab based on the quality of content we offer.


Preparation and negotiation

From the eight resorts we reached out to we got two instagram collaborations. In this article, I want to show you the results of the one we had with the resort North Zen villas on the island Bohol. This resort was just opened and we agreed with them to produce a promotional video. It had to be themed as “romantic” so they can hit their primary market – couple travelers.

They even provided the following shot-list for our reference before we asked for it:

  • Rooms and facilities;
  • Healthy habits (restaurant);
  • Bamboo walk experience;
  • Spa;
  • Sunset private dinner at the bamboo walk;

We felt at forehand the Marketing Associate really had in mind what kind of video they needed. We were on the same page in terms of the kind of video we wanted to offer. At first, they offered us 2 nights, including breakfast, a Spa treatment and a private dinner at the bamboo walk which we had to include in the video. But during the second day of shooting, the weather wasn’t really cooperating with us. The Marketing Associate also saw that filming all the scenes with the best light conditions took a lot of time. So she extended our stay with one more night, which gave us more time to shoot and have the private dinner with a beautiful sunset instead of a cloudy evening.


The filming process

As soon as we arrived at the resort we got a tour. This is essential to do before you start shooting. During the tour, you can discuss their needs and ask which rooms and facilities are essential to shoot. Also, it’s important to spend some time alone, so you can feel the atmosphere and understand better which positive vibes of the hotel you want to translate into your video.

We tried to do that, but the Marketing Associate already scheduled us to shoot the villa and Spa facilities. At that time it was 3 PM, and as you can see in the video I really wanted to shoot the villa in the morning, making the scene Ilse is waking up to start the day. At 3 PM the light coming into the villa was too harsh. Also, I didn’t feel ready to shoot because first I wanted to explore the resort more alone with Ilse to discuss the script together. After explaining when and why I was planning to shoot the different villas and areas, she understood more of our needs and helped us very well by adapting her own schedule.

In the first place we should stay 2 nights, but because of the cloudy and rainy weather the next day we had to move the private sunset dinner. Otherwise it would not be a beautiful and romantic sunset that evening. As mentioned before, they extended our stay with 1 night because of this. We had to be flexible too because of this, and change our own schedule. After all, it worked out perfectly and because of the extra time I already started editing the footage I shot. Therefore I knew better what I needed to shoot more to finish the video I had in mind.


Creative challenges

In terms of creative freedom, I had completely free play. It’s more fun to shoot everything in your own style and produce your own story in how you see and experience the resort. This is what I always try to achieve and what works best for me.

There were some creative and practical challenges. The gimbal shot at 0:59 min was the first creative challenge because I extended the gimbal shot with a drone shot. Subsequently, this didn’t work out perfectly because I made the gimbal shot late afternoon and the drone shot in the morning. The result was a different exposure on the trees between the 2 shots, which made the transition not as smooth as I wanted. Looking back at it, I had to make the drone shot right after the gimbal shot. Unfortunately, we had to hurry a bit to shoot the sunset after the Spa scene where I made the gimbal shot. So that is a lesson to stick more to our plan and make all the necessary shots first.

Instagram collaborations can be challenging

The restaurant scene was quite challenging as well because other guests had their breakfast at that moment. I proposed to do the scene after the other guests had breakfast, but the Marketing Associate wanted to show the restaurant filled with other guests. The staff informed the guests that we were shooting a video, and asked if it would be ok for them when they appeared in it. They agreed, but it seemed like they didn’t appreciate the camera that much. To work a bit around this, I decided to make the wide gimbal shot (at 0:41min) from outside to the table inside where Ilse was enjoying her coffee. In this way, it is not obvious how uninterested the guests were sitting at their own table. Just pause at 0:42 to see what I mean😉

Collaborate as a team

Another creative challenge was to have me in the video for the romantic couple stuff. We didn’t have a second shooter or an actor to replace me. And come on, who wants to film his own girlfriend having a romantic time with another guy 😛

To work around this I used various tripod shots and POV shots to include myself in the story. And I used the Intelligent Flight Modes of our drone to have some moving shots following us riding our bicycles over the bamboo walk. Sometimes an instagram collaboration can be stressfull but most of the time it’s so much fun and a great way to to improve your teamwork and collaboration skills. Ilse and I already did a bunch of videos together and she understands very well what I want to achieve with certain shots. A BIG plus is that she is VERY patient, doesn’t complain and has fun acting.




The resort was very satisfied with the results as you can read in their testimonial about our collaboration. After the posted the video on Instagram and Facebook they saw a vast improvement in their online exposure and bookings.

We had so much fun and learned a lot during this project, and we’re proud to add another great video to our portfolio! It was one of our best collaborations so far.

These are our experiences of this collaboration! We hope the information about how to get iInstagramcollaborations and how to build your video portfolio as a filmmaker is useful for you. Remember; Instagram marketing is huge these days so there are a lot of opportunities to collab.

If you have any questions please let us know in the comments!

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  1. Hi Atiba, great te see your promo films of the luxery hotels and also te beautiful nature of Bali. This post shows clearly how to make your dream comes true. Beautiful film and beautiful foto’s, made with compassion!👌 Can ‘t wait to see your next post!

    1. Hi Jacobine, thank you so much for your kind message! Happy to read you love the films! Stay tuned for my next posts!

  2. Hi Atiba, it is fun reading your blogs
    Your portfolio is growing and growing.
    Working very hard you two. Love to follow you.Thanks for sharing.

    1. Hi Hetty, thank you so much for your lovely message! We love to work hard and make our dreams come true! Great to have you around here!

  3. Hi Atiba, really loved to read this story as it explains the process of building a portfolio! I would recommend this article to everyone who also would like to reach out for collaborations. Thanks for sharing and looking forward to the next one!

    1. Hi Mwata,

      Thanks for your kind reply and you are very welcome! Great to know you loved to read this story 🙂 If you subscribe to our blog you’ll receive a notification as soon as we posted a new article!

      Find here the link to subscribe 🙂

  4. A great blog Atiba where you explain in a clear way how you both reach out to the more luxury (eco) hotels and resorts, the filming process and the final result, wonderful photos and videos!
    That’s why you always receive positive testimonials of your collaborations!
    Keep up the good work, I love to follow you!

    1. Hi Sonja,

      Thank you so much for your kind message and great to have you here on our blog! We love it you’re following us!

  5. Ronald and Marjoleine says:

    Hi Guys, what a great explanation of how you built a beautiful portfolio as a filmmaker and as a digital travel couple👍. Your film/video shows us beautiful resorts in a way a brochure on paper never could. We’re sure the luxury (eco) resorts are very happy with you. Also your pics on Instagram have the WoW-factor !
    We enjoy following you, a great travel couple, living their dream 👌

    1. Thanks so much for your lovely comment guys! We hope to inspire you even more with future blogposts, photos and videos!😃

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