Traveling Photography Tips

There are a couple of things to remember when traveling and your taking your trusty DSLR along with you. From how your recording your images, to how you get to keep your gear and avoid getting it stolen. Sometimes it is the little things that we forget about that can be lifesavers later on. Keep reading to find out what these are.Reset the time and date in your camera

Whether your traveling to Bangkok Thailand or just a state or two away that is in a different time zone you will want to reset your time in your camera. This way, when you return from your trip, your images will have bee recorded using the proper time of day that you were shooting at that location. Not the time it was back home. It can get confusing when your looking at an image and it is a bright sunny day and the time stamp says 3 am in the morning.

You can change this metadata later in your favorite image editing software, such as Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4. But it is not very convenient to do so. Especially if your traveling across multiple time zones in one trip.

Carry the right power adapters

This may seem like a no brainier, but you must make sure your carrying the right power adapters for the country you will be in at the time. It is very easy
to make the wrong selection and your buying new gear. here int eh US we utilize 110v power in our households and businesses. It is not uncommon in Europe to use 220v, when when applied to a us 110v product, does a very nice job of letting the smoke out of it. At the very least you will be replacing a charger, or battery, or other piece of not so inexpensive gear.

Get rid of the Labels (targets)

I know it is really cool to show everyone your big yellow Nikon, Sony or Canon logo on your camera strap. Or the Giant Loewepro logo on your camera bag. But take my advice and get rid of, cover up or remove these from your travel equipment. They may be fine for family gathering to give your brother in law the one up, but in public they are very simply, big old targets for well educated thieves who very badly want to relieve you from the burden of carrying your very heavy camera gear. Thieves who target photographers know their equipment and know what to look for. So don’t advertise it and keep your gear out of sight until it is needed. It literally only takes a second for your entire photography investment to disappear for good.

Avoid traditional camera bags or backpacks

Camera bags themselves have a distinctive shape and presence to them. Get some bags that do not look like one. There are variation on the messenger bag that are making for great incognito camera bags.

Add a decoy

It may sound silly, but go out and pick up a crappy point and shoot camera or even disposable model and put it on a cheap camera strap or string around your neck. I am talking $19 convenience store fodder. One look at this and the thief is not going to think twice about your camera prowess. Keep your real camera in the bag until you need to use it.

Use smaller Prime lenses

I know it is convenient to use the 70 -200mm telephoto lens, but if you slap on a 50 or 85 mm Prime lens, it succeeds in making you camera so much smaller in stature that it will often be overlooked by the average thief. It is also less imposing for street photography. People won’t think your a pro and will be less skittish to having their picture taken.

Cover the Name and Model

Take some black tape or gaffers tape and cut off a few small pieces and cover up the logo and model number on the front of your camera. This way it doesn’t advertise your 1D to the world. Taken a  step further, print out new logos of a cheaper more entry level or older model camera and tape them over the real ones.  Magically your Canon 5D becomes a T2i. Much less of a tasty treat for a thief.

all+lenses-150x1431Pack Light

Just because you have 13 lenses, and 4 flashes, and every known gadget that can be bought on Amazon, does not mean you need to travel with it.  You should be able to set down and figure out just what lenses and gear you really need to take with you and and pare it down to the bare minimum. It should take only 3 or 4 well selected lenses to cover just about every shot your likely to encounter, and they are lighter to lug around. One off camera flash and the camera mounted one should do for most environments.  If you need specialized or large equipment, rent it while there, or have it shipped there, and return it when your done with it.


Use on Camera Flash

Unless you need it leave the big flash gun or speed light at home. It sends out a big message that you have some money wrapped up in gear and definitely will catch thief’s eye. Besides the fact that you can still probably get all the images you’ll need without it.

Do NOT check your Camera bag.

If you value your gear at all, your camera bag is your carry-on luggage. Even if your gear doesn’t get ripped off when it is checked, it will  definitely get mishandled and beat around to the point of possible or guaranteed damage. So keep your gear with you at all times.

Find a Guide

Yes I know we all want to just freestyle when we shoot. We don’t want anyone rushing us along and interrupting that creative style. But it may be worth your time to retain the services of a local guide. They know the area, they know the traffic and direct routes to avoid it. They know about out of the way places that most tourists never get to see. They may also get you a shot you never dreamed of. You don’t need to retain them for the entire trip, but for an afternoon or so, you can’t go wrong. Finding a local amateur photographer to hook up with for a few hours is worth the time too.

Have a good time

Enjoying a trip is of prime importance. By taking less gear you have to worry about. Reducing your selection of gear, and ensuring you have the right gear for the trip will ensure you enjoy your trip more. Not having to worry as much about thieves will let you worry more about taking photos and getting the shots you want. Instead of looking over your shoulder.  So have a good trip and keep you gear  and yourself safe.

Till next time keep Shooting Str8.



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Is an amateur photographer and writer who enjoys sharing information with others. "Technical information sharing is a critical part of helping everyone become a better photographer. If you don't know it, you can't do it!" From Film to Digital, photography has changed a lot, but the idea of learning hasn't.

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