Los Angeles-based photographer Natasha Lee had a glorious, sunny week while on assignment for the cover feature of United Airlines onboard magazine Hemispheres — “Three Perfect Days in Santa Barbara.”
Natasha was first hired by Ink Global, Hemispheres Magazine’s parent company, for an LA restaurant story for sister publication Rhapsody which is no longer in circulation. Shortly thereafter, she received her first “Three Perfect Days” assignment — in Tahiti! She stayed in touch with the team, and a year later they reached back out about a feature in Santa Barbara.
Having already worked with the publication before, the experience felt relaxed and uncomplicated, especially since Natasha is local to Southern California.
It was nice that we were all already familiar with each other so there was a comfort and ease with the planning process.
All the locations were chosen by writer Justin Goldman, who also wrote the Tahiti feature. They planned a week for the shoot, creating an itinerary with timing for each location.
The pre-production process was pretty straightforward. I had a call with the creative director Christos Hannides and we talked about the general aesthetic he was looking for — “very California,” which is super aligned with my shooting style.
It was just Natasha and Justin together as they spent the week traveling all around Santa Barbara and the surrounding areas, visiting wineries, cafés, restaurants, and hotels.
They visited the old presidio and mission, both built in the late 1700s. They went for a coastal cruise on a catamaran and stopped by Solvang, a little town known for its Danish-style architecture. They strolled along the beach, drove through vineyards, sipped on cocktails, and shared beautiful conversations with winemakers and chefs.
Natasha knew ahead of time it was going to be the cover story. In the planning process, they discussed which locations might be ideal for the cover photo and spent a day photographing the various options.
I always love finding out which one they picked!
Natasha loves travel editorials. It really is the dreamiest way to travel — staying in the best spots in a city, eating at the best restaurants, going on the most fun adventures, visiting the prettiest attractions, not to mention the bill is footed, everyone is excited you’re there, and you’re getting paid. Not a bad gig.
The new people and places I get to experience and meet and connect with is everything about why I love what I do.
See more of Natasha’s photos on her Instagram.