Whether you’re travelling and seeing new places, or simply exploring your own backyard, photographing your surroundings can be one of the most enriching experiences there are! While doing this, you may come across new landscapes, terrain, architecture, people, and incredible moments of joy! Savoring the experience is easy – photographing it may prove a bit more challenging! But arming yourself with a few basic ideas and “best practice” techniques will help to improve your odds in getting those great images.
When you come back from a trip, don’t be too shy to pop in to show us some of your spectacular images! We love looking at pictures! 😉 And we’ll be happy give give you advice on which images will look best on your wall as canvas decor!
Prepare your equipment!
It doesn’t matter if you’re travelling with an entourage of lenses, flashed, and other accessories for your DSLR (digital single-lens reflex) camera, or just your point-and-shoot camera, you need to be prepared! Following this basic list of ideas can dramatically help improve your odds in getting great images!
Set your camera to the highest resolution and highest quality
This is important! If you want pictures that can be printed to a large size with decent quality, then you need to set “resolution” and “quality”. Resolution being the number of pixels in your camera’s sensor array, and quality being the rate of compression used in the JPG image file. Not all cameras are set to these optimal settings out of the box, and so it’s a good idea to know how to set them!
Format your cards
Before using your card for the first time or after you download your images – FORMAT IT. If you don’t know how, look in your manual or take it to someone who knows what to look for in the camera. Formatting the card wipes it completely clean and prepares it for important data – your pictures! If you simply erase images or never format, the card can generate errors over time, causing grief!
Get a good camera bag
There are many good brands of bags (tarmac, domke, lowepro) that are form-fitting, weather-resistant, and have padding for protection. If your camera is snug in the bag and has just enough room for all your accessories without bursting at the seams, then chances are you’re good to go. You want a good fit yet small enough to be unobtrusive and even discreet if possible. Remember you will have to carry it for what potentially may be many miles so form and function are key!
Protect your camera from the elements
Seems obvious to not drop your non-waterproof camera in water, but you should also be careful of rain, snow, dirt, etc. Windy days where fine dirt is blowing around can be problematic for the intricate workings of your camera’s moving parts. A big word of caution is sand and salt air. Destinations where there is lots of heat and humidity with salty can cause grief – fogged lenses, stiffening moving parts, even corrosion. If you find yourself at a sun & fun destination, it’s a good idea to keep your camera in its bag/case whenever its not in used.
Keep your camera clean
One of your best tools in your bag should be a re-usable lint-free anti-static cloth for cleaning the lens, viewscreen, and buttons on your camera. It’s all to easy to get and not notice fingerprints and smudges on your lens, which will haunt your pictures forever! A cloth similar to one for cleaning glasses works well.
Keep your camera on you
If you are taking a short drive somewhere and see something interesting that would make a good picture, wouldn’t it be great to have your camera with you? Why travel and leave it in the hotel room? Put it securely over your shoulder, on your back, in your purse, around your neck, around your wrist, close to your body, and don’t set it down in unfamiliar territory!
Recharge your batteries
Seems pretty obvious, but how annoying could it be if you go to use your camera and is has no power! If you are traveling, check your battery situation and charge daily if you need to. If you know your battery dies quickly under heat or cold, or checking the view screen often, then get in the habit of charging nightly regardless of how much charge is in each battery at the end of each day.
Carry extra batteries
If you camera uses common batteries (eg AA) or proprietary rechargeable batteries, take at least ONE extra battery, or even two if you think you need it. Know how your battery lasts during a day of intensive shooting and be prepared! By having at least one battery as a backup, you can feel more confident and not have to ration power.
Carry extra memory cards
Storage/memory cards for cameras are so inexpensive! Having extra storage space as backup is always a good idea. Technology is not infallible, and cards can occasionally come up with glitches, so don’t be afraid to have an extra. And when purchasing extra cards, name brands – not budget brands – are the way to go. For the extra dollars, you are more likely to get something more reliable, and they last for a LONG time.