Photography today is digital. Film, while to be missed, is the dinosaur. No doubt, you have a digital camera too. It may be a small pocket-sized model or an amazingly expensive digital single lens reflex (dslr) with equally expensive extra lenses or somewhere in the middle. But digital it is! And, no matter what you are photographing, you want it to be as good as it can be. Here are a few tips that will help you make sure those pictures you take make it home with you in all of their glory!
Your camera came with one (unless your model uses throw-away batteries). These things have a rather good life between charges, but you can be sure that you will forget to charge them one day, and they will die on you at the worst possible time. Buy a second battery that fits your camera. Yes, it is an extra expense, but so much cheaper then not getting that picture because you had a dead battery.
Don’t forget your battery charger! Without it you are out of luck!
Dust is the enemy of digital. That tiny speck of dust will become enough to spoil that picture. I suggest that you have a camera case to protect your camera. If your camera is small enough, keep it sealed in a baggie when not in use.
Buy one & use it. They are cheap.
No film anymore. Media cards are cheap. Be sure to bring enough with you. I can assure you that they are cheaper if you buy them at home instead of where you are going.
Ok, you now have a bunch of media cards. Take two baggies. Label one: Unused. Label the other: Used. (You can use a marker to write on the plastic.) Now, put all the new unused cards in the ‘unused’ bag. As you use cards and swap them, put the used cards into the ‘used’ bag. An easy way to keep them straight and not erase cards by error.
Back-Up Your Pictures
Digital media is wonderful. Things rarely go wrong. But rarely is not the same as never. Sometimes a card can go bad. It may be rare, but it does happen. I know, it happened to me. I still don’t know why, but I lost an entire media card of, to me, wonderful pictures.
So, back-up your pictures on a regular basis. You can copy them to your computer or to one of the many internet services. Then save your media card until you get home for a double back-up.
PS: Don’t forget the necessary cables to connect your camera to your computer.
Converter or Adapter?
If you are traveling outside your home country, two things may change: the electric outlets in the wall and the type of electric power deliver through them.
In the US, we have 120v for the most part. Most of the world has 220. Check with your owner manual to see what your camera can use. Some camera can use either. Some cannot. If yours cannot, you need a converter to change the electric power to what your camera can use. Your converter will also need to have the wall plugs that fit the electric outlets where you are visiting. It is amazing how many different types of electric wall plugs there are in the world. A quick and easy internet search will tell you what you need.
If your camera can use your host country’s electric current, then all you need is an adapter to allow you to plug your device into that wall socket. You can actually buy one device that has most of the various plugs in the world. Check the internet or Radio Shack!
Your Camera’s Clock
Most digital cameras today have a clock that time stamps your pictures. If you are going to a different time zone, change that clock to the new local time. It will help you greatly when you get home and begin to organize your photographs.
Remember film? We always had to hold the negative by the edges to avoid getting finger prints on the negative. Well, handle your media card just as carefully. Do not touch those contacts on the card. I know that the cards are small, but the oils from your skin could affect the transfer of images: both to the card from your camera and from the card to your printer!
Also, remember the dust topic above? Keep your cards in those plastic cases when not in use. All protection is good.
Know your camera!
My good friend Ken takes a lot of people on some amazing trips. Many of those people go on those trips with the latest and greatest equipment with the goal of taking pictures of a life-time. And they often do! I know I have.
But Ken, being the expert, is often peppered with questions about this piece of equipment or that. And he normally has the answer. He is that good.
BUT – when you are there in the moment and ready to take that picture of a life-time, that is not the time to wonder what that button on your camera does.
Ken, or someone like him, or your manual can help you – but that picture is gone.
Ken’s advice, which is the best advice I could ever pass on to you, is to learn how your camera works BEFORE you want to use it. Your pictures will be better each and every time.