It’s reasonable to state that as a travel photographer you may never be 100% prepared for all. There are many diverse scenarios and factors that may influence your photography and your journey which you simply can’t predict. However, over the time you will begin to learn strategies which will help you be able to attack the issues you will encounter.
Part of this can be your list of gear. While the apparent photographic gear might seem straightforward, there are also quite a few non-photographic items which will begin to make it on your record. Since you will discover over time they may also be invaluable. Here are seven of my favorite items which might also help you along the way.
#1 — Vinyl Bags plus a Rubber Band
It isn’t important how well you prepare and how many times you check the weather forecast, at some point each travel photographer will likely get caught in the rain. Most times it is possible to avoid you and your own camera gear getting wet by trying to wait it out below some shelter. But you can’t or more to the point, that you still wish to photograph. After all, rain can provide wonderful reflections on the outside of pavements and roads as well as people with umbrellas which could definitely help tell a story.
So to avoid having your camera moist, simply take an ordinary plastic bag and then cut a hole big enough for your lens hood to match. You want approximately half of this lens hood sticking from the pit in the bag should be a tight match. Place your camera in from the top of the bag (like you were putting shopping inside) and adhere with the lens with the hood connected through the hole. Place the elastic band around the bag near the pit to keep it in place and voila you have produced a bag to keep the rain off your camera.
If you would like to take your camera simply put your hands in the bag and also take the camera indoors. Sure you can most likely find a costly version which you can buy, but why waste money as soon as you’re able to make it?
DIY rain cover.
#2 — A Face Towel
If you ask me what’s the one non-photographic item that I always carry with me, it is going to be a little face towel. I have lost count of the amount of occasions I have used a towel in various scenarios. Whether it’s to wash my camera dry after having water, mud, or whatever else onto it, or draining my face when I am hot and sweaty (it is incredible how much better you feel when you can just wash your face with a towel whenever you are out and about daily), draining my finger whenever I have cut myself or perhaps merely wiping a bench dry after rain so I could sit down while running instead of standing up (or becoming my trousers wet by sitting on a wet bench). The amount of times that a simple towel will probably come in handy will probably astound you.
The amount of times that a simple towel will probably come in handy will probably astound you.
#3 — Smartphone
Okay, so technically speaking a Smartphone is not a “non-photographic” item but dismissing the camera component, it has come to be a must nowadays for travel photographers. Whether it’s to check sunlight direction, weather forecast, maps, making notes about potential shoot places and metadata information, to simply using pass the time by reading the news when waiting for darkness, then a Smartphone has come to be a vital tool for each travel photographer.
#4 — Compass
For the majority of photographers, a Smartphone has replaced the compass that is trustworthy. But it’s worth having a little one on your luggage just in case your phone runs out of electricity or you can’t get a signal. Apart from having the ability to bail you out when you get dropped, a compass is able to help you determine sunrise/sunset management where the light will move, which is critical for any journey photographer.
#5 — Gloves
Travel photography usually means early starts and late finishes because the gentle light in and about sunrise and sunset is good for photography. This typically means you’ll be out and about if it is colder than through the day and trying to operate your camera dials with cold hands or perhaps carrying a tripod is not a fun experience.
During the daytime based on the time of year, it could be quite cold for your hands and in the summertime it can get much colder in the evenings and early mornings. Therefore do yourself (and your hands) a favor and keep a pair of gloves on your camera bag.
#6 — Pen and Paper
Sometimes you simply can’t beat pen and paper. It might be to take notes to jot down thoughts for shoots, to create a makeup which you wish to attempt to create later, or it might simply be to take the email address of the man who’s photo you have just chosen so which you could email them a copy. No matter the reason, a pen and paper is obviously helpful to have on your camera bag.
#7 — Sunscreen plus a Hat
It’s easy to forget sunscreen and a hat one among all of the other items above, in addition to your own photographic gear, but they are essentials for anyone working outdoors. As a travel photographer, you’ll be spending almost all of your days out and around and it’s easy to become distracted and never notice a couple of hours going by. The last thing that you need on a photograph trip is to get sun burnt.
Over the years, I have found that these tiny things have gotten invaluable. I will, naturally, adapt this record as I go and remove or add things for certain destinations. As an example, if I am out in the jungle I would take a first aid kit, an emergency kit with items such as a whistle, blanket, etc., a torch, and the applicable maps of the regions I am likely to research. However, my basic collection of things accompanies me on any trip even a brief city break.
Over time you’ll develop your own collection of things. However, for now, I hope this list is helpful for you.
Anything else you may think of? What non-photographic item do you always carry with you and why? Please tell us in the remarks below.
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