Saturday, March 26, 2016

5 tips on planning a travel photography trip

After the success of my blog on the Travel gear I use, I thought it would be useful to give my top tips on getting everything right for a travel photography trip.  Like most things in life it requires a sizeable amount of planning. Here are my 5 key areas to consider to help you get everything right for your trip.
  1. What images do I need? 

  2. With travel photography its important to consider what the images will be used for? What will make them sellable? To capture something different should be your goal, an angle that will catch an editor or a stock buyer's eye. Ask yourself questions; Would this composition work better taken with a fisheye? Can I get higher to get a better, or more original view of the subject? Look at the great images of your destination already on the market and think about what you can add. By all means get 'the shot' that everyone gets too but thinking outside the box may help you get an image that is a bit special.

  3. Technical support.

  4. Technical failures happen, its just an unfortunate fact of life with photography so its important to have some support in place. Memory cards can fail, get lost or get stolen. As a starting point a tough case to protect them and keep them in one place is a good idea. Given how cheap they are now, its quite cost effective to take enough with you as actual image storage depending on the length of your trip (and how snap happy you are!). Remember to be brutal when editing your shots in camera. Theres not point in keeping poor shots or endless doubles they just take up space on your cards. If your trip is longer or you need to get images back home for deadlines, you should consider taking a laptop. Get into the practice of backing your files up and consider separating your cards and laptop in your luggage so if there are any accidents, theft or other disasters you'll still have some of your images safe. Also its worth hanging on to the cards that do fail as you'll be surprised what you can recover with data recovery software, with a bit of luck you'll get your photos back.

  5. Photography is an exchange.

  6. Getting great travel shots is not just about taking a flight to an exotic location, its about getting involved in local life and interacting with people, forming bonds and having enough communication skills to transcend language barriers.  So have a cup of Chai or a bit o food with someone, accept hospitality and go with the flow a bit. Sometimes your subjects may ask for money or for a copy of your photo. Its important to remember that you are taking something so its fair to give something back in return. If people offer to show you around its reasonable to pay them for their time. You'll get access to places you previously might not have and perhaps get a special image (see point 1!). In short give a little to get something back. I bring a selection of small prints to give to people and you can always get shots printed and send them to your photo subjects.

  7. There's an App for that.

  8. Smartphones are wonderful things (apart from the massive privacy issues...) and a great tool for photographers. There are a number of great apps I use that make a big difference to any work.  
    Easy release  - for model releases on the go.
    Long Exposure Calculator - to cut down on time faffing on getting the right exposure time. Calculate it first.
    Full Moon - To track the stages of the moon.
    Luna Solaria - To track the position of the sun and moon. - For accommodation deals.
    BBC Weather - To check the forecast of your location days in advance.
    TripAdvisor - to ensure you avoid the lousy hotels / restaurants.
    The Photographer's Ephemeris - Plan the position of the Moon and Sun.
    Tinder - just kidding...

  9. Security.

  10. Carting several thousand pounds of gear around can make you a target for crime. While there are always risks, there are a few things you can do to make yourself less of a target and keep you and your gear safe:
    Hide your camera model number some black duct tape, particularly if your camera body is high value. Use a security belt with a hidden pouch for emergency money. Eagle Creek do a great one. I've added some small discrete modifications to camera bags in the past that have made them more secure against opportunist crime. I added brass eyelets that allowed me to lock zip pulls shut and give me a secure point to lock my security cable to. Of course this will do little to stop persistent thieves  but if it can put off an opportunistic one its well worth it. Finally it's important to insure your gear. Keep hard copies of your paper work and back ups in the cloud / Google Drive. One final travel tip that will help you stay secure is to always get a hotel card with their address and number on it, so when you get lost you've got some way of finding your way home.

With this preparation in place you've done the hard yards to ensure your trip will be successful and you can concentrate on get yourself great images. With regards as to what kit to take check out my blog on the Travel gear I take on trips.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Street photography video for Wex

A little video I did with Wex Photography on the lenses I use for my Street and Travel work. In short 35m and 50mm primes and a 24-70mm 2.8 mini zoom. If you fancy some glass Wex recommend, check out this page.