I have to be honest, being a photographer and traveling [ for pleasure ] can sometimes be a burden. Not only do I bring unnecessary amounts of shit [ see image below ] but I always have to remind myself I’m not on a shoot, I should be enjoying myself.
When I’m traveling, shooting pictures of everything I see can literally become an addiction I cannot stop feeding. I often have to put my camera down or leave it at the hotel room in order to enjoy myself rather than live my traveling time through my camera lens. I think this may be a problem with many photographers, I have no factual evidence to back this theory up, but I feel it is a solid assumption.
As a photographer you naturally see the aesthetics of the world we live in, often in ways the average person does not. Afraid that you might see that perfect angle of a building or miss out on that amazing group shot, all that shit you brought with you in your carry on goes everywhere you go.
It’s hard to take a step back and say ‘hey, leave the camera in the hotel room’ and I think that’s a hard thing for a lot of people to understand about photographers. Over the years I’ve been getting better. I’ve created a list of helpful tips that I use on every trip to ensure I get to enjoy myself, but still leave time for shooting.
- Buy a good point and shoot. Camera’s like the Nikon P310 or Canon S120 are amazing little cameras with big sensors, wide apertures and amazing HD video. Throwing that in your pocket to go to dinner instead of lugging around your DSLR will set you free.
- Set aside one day to do all your heavy shooting. Bring your DSLR and shoot anything and everything you possibly can, once you’re SD card is filled with 2,000 photo’s you’ll feel you got everything you need and be less inclined to walk past that same building you saw yesterday and shoot it 20 more times.
- Give your camera to a friend. You’d be surprised how many people travel and never take photos. I’m always worried if I don’t take a picture, we will have no memories of our trip. If I see someone else is shooting, I can leave my camera alone and enjoy my time.
- Bring smaller SD Cards. If you treat your DSLR like a film camera and use 4GB SD Cards, you will spend less time taking pointless photo’s because you have limited space, only important shots will be worth your time.
- Get a great universal lens. There is nothing worse that lugging around a big DSLR and on top of it bringing your wide angle, zoom and low light lenses on top of it. Sigma just released their new 18-35mm f/1.8. Sure it’s $700 but it’s probably the best all around travel lens you can get. Save space and time swapping lenses so you can spend more of it taking in the places you are in.
Below are some shots from my travels around the world over the past few years. Photo’s are import to me and I’m not going to stop taking lots of shots when I travel, but I am trying to be smarter about enjoying life while it’s happening and living in the moment.