Why Wildlife and Travel Photographers Kike Calvo and Shannon Wild Use PhotoShelter

Why Wildlife and Travel Photographers Kike Calvo and Shannon Wild Use PhotoShelter

Heading out into the wilderness and traveling the world through various climates and time zones can present a lot of challenges for photographers. One in particular is the question of where and how to store all of your files (both RAW or unedited images and final selects) when you’re always on the move.

 Photographers’ needs when it comes to cloud storage are fairly straightforward, but exactly how PhotoShelter members use their accounts to make the most of their archives varies widely.

Our friend, long-time PhotoShelter member Kike Calvo, recently reached out to us to share an interview he premiered on his YouTube channel, where he spoke with wildlife photographer Shannon Wild–a fellow PhotoShelter user–about her experience moving to and working in Africa, trying her hand at cinematography, as well as why and how she uses PhotoShelter for her business and photography workflow out in the wild.

After taking a look at the interview, we reached out to learn more about the ways these two pros manage their photo businesses with the help of our archiving tools, mobile app, client delivery features and more.

Read on to learn more about Kike and Shannon. Dive into the full interview on Kike’s YouTube channel here.

When first deciding to use PhotoShelter (over 15 years ago!), what drew you in?

Kike Calvo: Back then there were two options, Digital Railroad and PhotoShelter. For some reason, the PhotoShelter user interaction felt better back then. It’s funny that a simple decision changed the course of how I organize all my work, and shaped the behind-the-scenes of my career. I feel I grew as a human and a professional, parallel to PhotoShelter product development. Arriving in New York from another country with the dream of becoming a photographer, as many know, is not easy. Especially when you have no connections. Looking back, you guys were always kind and helpful with this Spaniard.

Shannon Wild: I was a few years into my career and was looking for a beautiful photography website and archiving tool to showcase my work to potential clients as well as a way to share secure galleries with clients. The fact that it included industry pricing suggestions for rights managed image sales and also a print network was a huge bonus.

Walk us through your photography workflow. Where does PhotoShelter come in?

KC: I am regularly shooting on National Geographic Expeditions. When I’m working in the field, I download each time I return to the hotel, camp or the ship, I should say. I never leave work inside my cards, to avoid losing work by a potential mistake or, as it happened before, the force of destiny, as I once sank in the middle of the Amazon River at 3 am, losing most of my gear and my work.

Kike Calvo’s PhotoShelter website

Many times I don’t have access to a good internet connection, so I create two hard drive backups, besides the one I hold in my laptop. I look at all my shots and organize the materials in Lightroom, captioning everything and adding all the pertinent metadata so it’s fully searchable. Within PhotoShelter, I upload my best images of all my projects, and despite the fact that they are searchable, for my own organization, I place them within country folders, and then within major areas or territories.

SW: My workflow really depends on my location and access to power and internet, which are often in short supply in many locations I work in, but best case scenario is downloading images to a hard drive (plus backup copy), importing into Lightroom for editing, captioning and keywording. After that I will upload to PhotoShelter to have an online copy and add to my searchable image archive. After that I will start adding certain images to additional public galleries to be visible on my website.

Shannon Wild’s PhotoShelter website

Which PhotoShelter feature can you not live without? Has it changed over time/the course of your time with us?

KC: PhotoShelter is a product that, to be honest, has been so well thought out and developed, that it becomes essential in your workflow. I would not say that the way I use PhotoShelter has changed, but I am the one that has changed, including my understanding of a well-organized and cloud-accessible archive, wherever I am in the world. 

The ability to deliver files to clients, even if I am somewhere remote, is priceless. The features match my belief of the importance of understanding that not even us, creators, are aware of the life of the visuals we create and capture.

Kike Calvo

You both travel around the world quite a bit. How does PhotoShelter come in handy when you’re photographing out in the wild and while on the road?

KC: The peace of mind of knowing that I can access my visual collection from anywhere is very important to me. But not only that, it is so efficiently functional that I can be in the middle of another assignment, and with no hassle, I am able to send a lightbox to a prospective client.

Several years ago I spent almost four years at Yale University, where I was hired to shoot multiple events organized by the Forestry School and other departments. One of those events that I photographed was a big conference organized by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication. Even though it had been years, they reached out recently to have a particular portrait re-delivered. I was in the middle of the jungle in Peru, and with ease, I was able to help them in a matter of minutes.

I normally get asked by young aspiring photographers and photojournalists for tips to succeed in today’s world. I venture into summing it up in these simple ideas:

  • It is not only about the work we produce, but what we bring to the table as humans.
  • As one salsa song tells, everything that goes up will eventually go down. Life is a wheel. Be kind from the beginning. Be grateful to those who gave you to “drink” along the way, building sincere and honest relationships.
  • Think multidisciplinary.
  • Do not become obsessed with technology, but explore its use to the maximum potential. By not doing so, you are and you will lose opportunities.
  • Smile.

SW: It’s most beneficial for me to have my images accessible online while I’m traveling. It allows me to access images from my archive without the need to find hard drives and still be able to provide clients with access to high resolution files as needed.


We love sharing the work and stories of PhotoShelter members, especially those who have been with us for years and years.

Are you a PhotoShelter Day One or early adoptee? Let us know on Twitter or Instagram (@photoshelter) or tell us in the comments below! We’d love to connect and hear about your latest photo projects and creative adventures.

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This article was written by

PhotoShelter's Social Media & Content Marketing Specialist

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