Traveling and being a photographer is a huge pain in the ass. Not only do I bring unnecessary amounts of shit (see image), I also shoot an inappropriate and unhealthy amount of photos. On a five to eight day trip I will take anywhere from 1,500-2000 pictures. Now you’re probably asking yourself, “Of what?” I don’t know, every bathroom I’m in. The bed in the hotel. The pictures on the wall. The breakfast buffet. You name it, I don’t want to forget it. Now in my defense, I believe that’s the reason (forgetting) behind my obsession. I travel a lot for pleasure. That coupled with my terrible memory it’s pretty easy for trips to blend together and remembering what was where, and where was what. Shooting all these pictures helps me remember my travels when I’m reminiscing. I consider this to be a valid point, that being said, I don’t recommend it and below I will explain how to avoid the pickle I’m in.
Back to equipment. The amount of redundant crap a pack in my carry on is obsessive and compulsive to say the least. I have a Nikon D7000 back up in case my D7100 fails. I have a backup point and shoot. I have an emergency underwater camera incase mine fills with water. I have back video cameras, for backup video cameras. SD Cards. SD Card Readers. It’s crazy, I know. But again, I’m a photographer, this is what I do. I can’t help it. What I can help is giving people like you some insight on how to not turn out like me.
As a photographer you naturally see the aesthetics of the world we live in, often in ways the average person does not. I don’t have a lot of time for personal work so I’m always afraid I might see that perfect angle on a building Buffalo, or miss out on that amazing group shot in Curacao. This is what leads me to bring cameras for every situation.
It’s hard for someone like me 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 though. I’ve created a list of helpful tips that I’ve been using on trips lately to ensure I get to enjoy myself, the culture and the food, 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.
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