Do you plan your holidays and vacations around opportunities for photography? You are not alone.
Us keen photographers like to travel, and we love to capture images of the places we have visited. It’s imperative to ensure your camera gear is safe while travelling. Use common sense and have a read of the following tips so you end up going home with all of your equipment rather than having to deal with your insurance company.
Pack Lightly and Pack Your Gear Well
It’s tempting to take that ultra-wide lens for landscapes, the 35mm lens for street photography, the 50mm for shooting landmarks, a range of telephoto lenses for nature photos, a speedlight and an extra camera body, but do you want to carry all of them with you for every step of your journey?
Many photographers can’t bear the thought of leaving out any lens that could prove helpful in a tricky situation, but after the third day of carrying everything around, they often realise they’ve taken all of their shots with a 50mm prime, leaving all the other lenses as dead weight in their backpack. Unless you are going on trip for a specific photography project, perhaps realise that comfort, portability, and accessibility are more critical than being able to fill the frame exactly as you’d prefer.
Make it easier on yourself and pack lightly. You lessen the physical burden of this gear, and you avoid the stress of continually worrying about dropping the bag of equipment, leaving it behind, or having it stolen. After all, a holiday is supposed to be a chance to relax and revitalise yourself; it’s not for wearing yourself out physically and mentally. Taking just a couple of lenses means you think creatively and make do with what you have at hand.
Even if you only take a small amount of camera gear with you, pack it in a specialised camera bag with lots of cushioning. Travelling involves unfamiliar locations and many possibilities for knocking your equipment around. A padded bag offers security and peace of mind. But make sure this bag isn’t covered in camera logos, or it could become a target for thieves. It has to be small enough to take onboard flights as carry-on luggage because airlines have a habit of losing stored cargo, and you may not receive it until days into your trip. Or, if you are delayed getting to the baggage carousel, somebody else may walk away with your bag of equipment, and you’ll never see it again.
Organisation Is Key To a Successful Journey
The good thing about having a dedicated camera bag for your gear is that you can make compartments for each item of equipment. Before leaving your hotel room, check the bag, and if there is an empty spot, you can go looking for the lens or battery charger that should be there.
My Pelican Case: A great example of organising gear, not a great example of how to pack for a holiday! This is what I take when shooting something like a destination photo/video project for Flow Mountain Bike.
Being organised also means being prepared to take a shot at any time. As soon as you are on location, choose the lens you require, set the ISO for the prevailing conditions, and select the settings that will most likely give a well-exposed image. There’s nothing worse than seeing a great image unfolding before your eyes and realising you still have the camera set for the previous night’s long exposure shots.
Keep the Camera Safe
One of the best ways to capture memorable travel photos is to immerse yourself in markets and side streets away from other tourists. Street photography gives you the reality of a town or city. Having the camera in your hands at all times isn’t an option for street photography; it’s a necessity. So much happens in a short period that you’d be foolish to have the camera tucked away.
Setting out into the streets with just your camera slung across your body feels great, no big bags weighing you down and you are ready to shoot at any moment.
This is why you need a comfortable and secure camera strap. In fact, this is why Lucky Straps was created in the first place.
Serious photographers don’t use the neck strap that comes with their camera; they are typically uncomfortable. A leather camera strap hand-made by us at Lucky like the Deluxe 45 has comfort and practicality in mind. It has internal padding and rolled edges, so you can wear it all day and still feel the urge to take more photographs in the evening. This is partly because the design encourages you to wear it across the body like a sling. This ergonomic style is functional and takes the weight of the camera off your neck. You can easily adjust the length for the perfect fit.
Another significant advantage of this leather camera strap is its anti-theft technology, such as cut-resistant Dyneema webbing made from one of the world’s strongest fibres and an alloy safety lock that prevents the strap from separating from the camera. This camera strap is so strong that it can hold any camera that you can, it has been load tested to over 50kg (115lb)! And if you are doing still photography but want to change to run-and-gun videography, the quick-release system on the Lucky camera strap allows you to switch to a wrist strap in only a few seconds. It’s quick to detach but the safety lock ensures that a thief could attempt to remove your gear without you noticing.
Don’t Act Like a Tourist
Don’t be naive in any city or marketplace; thieves are waiting to prey on clueless tourists. They’ll take your money and anything they can sell for cash, especially expensive camera equipment. Blending in with the locals is important, so wear appropriate clothing for the environment. This is another reason why the Lucky camera strap is ideal to use while travelling; it is at your side, not around your neck, so it’s harder to spot the camera while you are walking.
Choose a brown or black leather camera strap, not only do they look great they are also free from bright camera brand logos that grab peoples attention.
If you are in an area where you are worried about people knowing you have a camera, secure your gear into your backpack. When standing, wear it on your front instead of behind you. It’ll look odd, but you have much more control over who has contact with it. If you are seated, place it on your lap or put it between your legs and have your foot through one of the straps. Never leave your backpack on the ground after taking out your camera to take a photo. As soon as your camera is out, put the bag back on while taking that picture.
Backup Your Photos and Video Consistently
Storing images to the cloud or an external device at the end of each day is the only way to ensure you don’t lose those photos you spent so much time capturing. If you save them to a laptop or external hard drive, if possible, keep those devices in a different bag to your camera equipment. Memory cards fail, and cameras will be lost or stolen. Have a backup plan so that if something is lost or taken by thieves, you won’t lose the memories of your travels as well.
Always Be Safe When Travelling
Theft or damage to camera gear is expensive and inconvenient and can also sour the memories of a place and time that should have been delightful. Keeping these tips in mind means your photographic equipment and memory cards will stay safe and secure, and you can enjoy taking pictures of the fascinating places you explore.