One of many complications that inherently come with travel is the burden of keeping everything you bring safe, functional and undamaged. Cameras and equipment can be of particular concern, as you will want to have the ability to capture the adventure and take it home with you. In the following travel photography tips I’m going to share with you a few precautions that you can take to ensure the safety and functionality of the camera and equipment you bring along.
One thing I would like to stress upfront is that the time to get the gear and cameras you plan to travel with ready to go is well BEFORE you leave. Oftentimes, finding replacements parts, camera accessories and supplies can be difficult, expensive and time consuming.
This article is part of my growing list of holiday and travel photography tips and collection of articles you might find really helpful to get the best photos possible during your next trip:
- Tips for Taking Photos of Drinks – Photographing Cocktails
- Architectural Photography Lighting and Composition Tips
- Taking Pictures of Animals – Pet and Wildlife Photography Tips
- Photographing Sunsets – Tips for Taking Perfect Sunset Pictures
- How to Take Photos of Lighting – Tips for Photographing Lightning
Here are a few of my favorite travel photography tips, including basic camera maintenance and gear preparation before leaving on vacation:
Batteries and Power
Ever had to buy another camera battery while you were on the road? As is the case with so many necessities, gift shops and travel stores know they have a captive audience – so they can skyrocket the price for even low-quality items, knowing your other option is simply to go without. Come prepared in order to avoid this hassle.
Here’s one of the best travel photography tips you’re going to get in this article: Buy at least one extra battery, if not more, and make sure to shop for ones that comes with a protective case. Even just a small plastic cover will do to keep the battery protected. Battery failures are exceedingly common and your digital camera will not work without power.
If your camera is one whose battery is available as a rechargeable one, then invest in a charger and extra battery set. You’ll only have to make the purchase once and will ultimately end up saving money you would otherwise have to spend on entirely new battery sets in the future. You can simply recharge all of your batteries overnight and not have to concern yourself with the prospect of running out of juice at just the wrong moment while you’re out and about.
If you brought a camera with you, it’s clear that your intention is to come away from your trip with some photos, so you will probably want to have your camera on you most of the time, potentially exposing your equipment to the elements. Make sure to keep protect your camera even when you’re carrying it on your person.
It’s all too easy to inadvertently damage your camera just by virtue of having it slung around your neck. Do not carry camera this way as a default – only when you’re certain you’re about to use it. This is one of my favorite travel photography tips because it also is good for your own safety as well; having expensive cameras out in the open can invite crime and some camera straps pose a choking hazard in the result of an accident.
Consider purchasing a small over-the-shoulder camera bag. This is convenient anyway as you can store backup batteries in the same bag.
Even when it’s in your camera bag, keep your camera in a waterproof case. The forces of nature don’t mind abusing your equipment if you let them. Most cases available are also resistant to sand and changes in temperature.
Keep it Clean
So, you’ve backed up your power source and come prepared to store your camera when not in use. But how about when it is in use? It’s exposed to those fickle elements now.
Everyone loves a good set of beach photos, but sand and cameras do not agree with one another. A grain of sand can lodge itself into your card slot or in the lens, and once it’s there, it’s a headache to get back out. Be sure not to set your camera directly on sand or a sandy surface, and if you can, wipe or wash your sandy hands off before you handle your camera.
The same can be said about cameras and liquids – especially salt water. Unless you camera or smartphone is waterproof, or at least weatherproof to some degree, then be careful with rain, water spray coming over the bow of a boat and even the condensation coming off of your favorite frosty cocktail or beverage!
If you intend to have your camera out even when it’s raining, absolutely invest in a protective rain cover. Whether you purchased one beforehand or if you’re improvising with a plastic baggie you found in the bottom of your suitcase, there must be something standing between your camera and inclement weather.
Shop around for basic camera cleaning tools like lens cloths, desiccant packs (used to absorb moisture in a camera bag or case) and a can of condensed air. These can come in handy for quick fixes.
After you and your camera have returned home safely and you’ve retrieved your photos and put them where you like, look around on the web for a hard-shell storage case. The best ones out there are also waterproof, dustproof, and may have a foam inner casing serving as a shock barrier as well.
Do you have any favorite travel photography tips or basic camera and gear preparation ideas you would like to share? I want to hear them! Please leave your thoughts and suggestions in the comments below…