Don't Leave Home Without These 3 Great Tips for Travel Photography

DarrylBrooks Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash

Travel and photography go together. Whether you want to bring back great family memories or capture that next great piece of art to hang on your wall, organization before and during your trip is critical. This article discusses three tips you need to follow for successful travel photography.

Organize Your Gear

Ideally, you have at least two camera bags (you can’t have too many camera bags!); one for your everyday shooting and one just for travel. The travel bag should be big enough to hold all your gear, but small enough to fit in an overhead bin on an airplane.

Your travel bag will contain all of the things you need while traveling, but not necessarily the things you need for everyday use. This list includes lens wipes, extra batteries, a travel charger, additional memory cards, a hat, sunscreen, and anything else you might need on your trip.

Keep the bag packed at all times with items specifically for travel, so you don’t have to think about it when it comes time to go. Then, the day before your trip, transfer all of your daily gear into the travel bag.

Obviously, you need your camera, but make sure you have all your lens caps and hoods. Think through what lenses you may want to carry and which to leave behind. You won’t need every lens on every trip. Keep your tripod near, or strapped to, your travel bag. You may not think you need your flash, but it will come in handy for fill-flash on family snapshots.

I use my large travel kit as my everyday storage bag in my studio. Everything that I’m not actively using in the studio or taking with me on a day trip stays in that bag. So when I am ready to take a trip, instead of thinking about what needs to go in, I’m thinking about what needs to come out. In this way, I’m sure never to forget anything.

Clean Your Gear

Cleaning your gear should be part of your routine anyway, but it’s especially important before you travel. Other than some soft cloths and lens wipes, you won’t have all of your cleaning supplies with you, so make sure you start with clean equipment.

Remove lens caps and clean both lens elements with a soft, lint-free cloth. Use a blower to blow the dust off of all elements as well as your camera sensor. I use a Rocket Blower, but the squeeze bulbs they sell at drugstores work almost as good. Buy the biggest one you can find for home use, but also get a small one for travel. TSA won’t think twice about those, but they usually give my Rocket Blower a hard look.

Clean the contacts on your lenses and camera mount with an alcohol swab. Wipe down the outside of all lenses and your camera to keep stray dust from getting inside. While you are on the trip, end each day with a quick wipe-down of everything and check your lens glass for smudges. Be careful when changing lenses to keep dust from getting on your sensor.

Take Care of Your Data

The images you bring back are irreplaceable, so take extra care preparing for and during your trip. Before you go, check all your cards for old data. Download and backup any images on your cards. Format all your cards to make sure they are clean and ready. Format cards after each use, don’t just delete the pictures. Always use your camera to format your cards, never your computer.

Devise a scheme for keeping track of which cards you use on your trip, and which are ready to go. The way I do it is to place them all face-up in my cardholder and turn them face down when I put full cards back in.

Don’t completely fill up your card. Keep watch on the image counter and swap them out before they are full. Trying to cram one last image on a full card is a good way to corrupt your data. Better yet, swap out your cards at least daily, whether it’s full or not.

Spreading your images over several cards can salvage a trip if one becomes corrupted.

If you are traveling with a laptop, backup your cards daily. Don’t erase or format the cards until you get home, however. Once you get home, back them up again and make sure you have all your images in at least two, preferably three places at all times.

Travel is stressful enough. Making sure your photography is all ti can be shouldn’t add to that stress. Follow these three tips for travel photography and bring home that shot of a lifetime.

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I am a writer with over 16 years of experience and hundreds of articles. I write about photography, productivity, life skills, money management and much more.

Alpharetta, GA

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