DO YOU LOVE TO TRAVEL?
I do! I'm about to head out on a trip to Prague, Krakow, and Vienna so I thought this blog series would be a fitting start to what I hope will be a site full of beginner photography tips that are easy to understand and practice. I love experiencing new places, new cultures, and meeting new people. I also love to photograph my travels and come home and make a beautiful Shutterfly book with my images. There is just something about turning the pages of a book that make you want to relive the memories and share them with friends. In this 3-part series, I am going to give you tips and tricks for traveling with your Big Girl Camera.
We will cover...
- 1What gear you should bring (Hint: Keep it light!)
- 2Telling the story of your trip (Hint: Mix it up!)
- 3Back home. Sharing, printing, and displaying your trip (Hint: Be Selective!)
traveling with your big girl camera
One of the biggest barriers to traveling with your Big Girl Camera, in many cases, is the fear of hauling around the camera as you see the sights. I've got some tips for you because I don't want you to leave it in your hotel, or worse, leave it at home! Take a look at the tips below and then print out your free travel photography checklist that I've prepared for you to make packing a breeze!
TIP #1: LOSE THE NECK STRAP!
There is NOTHING worse than hauling a camera around with it hanging from your neck. For me, it gives me a massive headache and it gets super sweaty. I prefer a cross body strap. It distributes the weight evenly, you can keep it securely by your side, and it is always within reach when you see a great shot. I really like the BlackRapid strap. And, while you're still giving off that tourist vibe, it's not quite to the level of the neck strap ;).
Tip #2: rent a lens!
If you are traveling to a once in a lifetime destination, if you don't already own a great travel lens, it's worth renting for a week. I wouldn't recommend bringing multiple lenses because that is heavy and you'll want to leave them behind rather than lugging them everywhere. The lens that comes with most entry level DSLR's, the 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6, is a decent choice. Where it fails is in low light. That's where a higher quality lens can make a big difference especially when you'll be spending a greater portion of your trip indoors or visiting places with less than stellar natural light.
A multi-purpose lens that is great for low light is the way to go. Because many entry-level DSLR's are crop sensor (this just means that whatever lens you put on your camera is actually going to be zoomed in MORE than you think) I would recommend renting a low aperture (look for f/2.8 or lower in the lens description,) wide angle (look for 16mm or lower) lens. A great place to rent is Aperturent (especially if you are in Atlanta or Dallas because you can save yourself shipping and pick it up locally!) I am a Canon girl so my favorite travel lens is the Canon 16-35 f/2.8. After renting it several times, I finally bought it used (for a substantial savings) on keh.com.
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Another lens that I like is the Canon 24-105 f/4. This is a great versatile lens but know that there are two drawbacks...it isn't the perfect lens for low light and it may not be wide enough to capture a scene on a crop sensor camera (this would include any of the digital rebels or entry level Nikons.) If you are unsure if your camera has a crop sensor, Google the following: Is the <Insert Your Camera Make/Model here> a crop sensor? I have a full frame camera which means that I get the full width of the lens, it isn't cropped in, so it can still be a good choice. Both of the lenses I recommended above are fairly lightweight. That can be another consideration. Many people LOVE the Canon or Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8 but that lens is big and HEAVY. Don't say I didn't warn you!
Are you shopping for a camera? Check out my FREE class to help you decide.
tip #3: bring a backpack
Backpacks are the bomb. If you need to carry your wallet, plus phone, maybe a coat plus some lotion and chapstick, you want something that's easy and comfortable to wear all day. You can even buy a cross body strap that attaches to your backpack. It's also great if you need to safely stash your camera when in a location where it isn't advised to be flashing your valuables. I tried to carry around my DSLR in Rio and my Uber driver told me to "put that thing away." Whoops.
tips #4: have a backup plan
Let's face it...having your gear stolen while in a foreign land (or even domestically!) is a real possibility. Don't risk losing ALL of your pictures. Have a plan to either load them to the cloud (many of the new DSLR's have bluetooth and wifi built in,) or to a laptop. At the very least, bring multiple smaller cards (memory is very affordable on Amazon) and change them out frequently so, god forbid, if your camera is lost or stolen, you don't lose the entire vacation's worth of pictures. My normal advice is to shoot, load to a computer, backup, and format. In this case, I'd wait to format your cards until you are home so that you have multiple copies.
food for thought...
If travel is something you plan on doing frequently in the years to come and you are in the market for a new or upgraded camera, consider the new-er class of cameras called mirrorless. These cameras are smaller, lighter, and less obtrusive than a traditional DSLR but they pack a punch when it comes to the quality of photos you can get. In many cases, they fit into a purse or messenger bag, thereby increasing the chance that you'll take it wherever you go.
There are many brands to choose from: Sony, Olympus, Fuji are a few. I discuss the Sony A6000 in my free 20-minute class "Which Camera Should I Buy?"
If you would like to hear more about this, I also did an Instagram TV episode which explains it a little more and shows you the lens. You can watch it here on the mobile app.
Not sure if you have the right camera for the job? Let me help you determine if it is time for an upgrade in this article.
Andrea Ferenchik, Founder
Andrea started The Big Girl School because she loves sharing her passion of photography with other women. As a former trainer at Microsoft and current professional photographer, she has the unique ability to break down technical jargon of the camera into easy to understand language. She loves nothing more than to see her students grow and thrive in their photographic journey.
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