How to Sell a Travel Story to a Magazine and Help Fund Your Travels

The post How to Sell a Travel Story to a Magazine and Help Fund Your Travels appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Kav Dadfar.

There is nothing quite like when you sell a travel story to a magazine. Seeing all your hard work in print gives you a great sense of satisfaction. Editorial work has changed a lot over the past few years, and you must prepare yourself for some rejection. However, if you follow this simple process of selling a story, and don’t give up, you will reap the rewards.

Also note, once you have built up a few relationships with editors, things get simpler. Once editors know and trust you, they will be far more receptive to your pitch for a story.

How-to-Sell-a-Travel-Story

Publication research

Once you have an article idea, it’s always a good idea to research the type of magazines that may be interested in printing your story. Magazines differ significantly from one another. To give your story the best possible chance of publication, aim to pitch it to the right place.

For example, if your story is about walking, then pitch it to magazines that specialize in hiking or outdoor activities. Go to your local shop and flick through the magazine you intend to pitch to and see if it would be the right fit.

Also, research their submission process. Many publications have clear guidelines on how to submit work.

Image: An example of a travel article in 360ºMagazine by Jennifer Bell.

An example of a travel article in 360ºMagazine by Jennifer Bell.

Find a fresh angle

When you have your list of possible publications, ensure your story is fresh and unique. You don’t want to pitch ideas that are the same or similar to articles already recently published.

Most publications publish their articles on their website too, so check that what you are pitching is different. Also, remember to check upcoming articles as well. It may be that your article idea is set to feature in the next few issues.

The publication’s media pack is usually a good place to search for this sort of thing.

How to Sell a Travel Story to a Magazine and Help Fund Your Travels

Destination research

Now that you have your angle and a list of preferred publications, it is time to research your topic. Researching your topic is one of the most important aspects of any shoot, and one rarely mentioned when discussing selling a story to a magazine. Many photographers will have you believe everything just comes together out in the field. But the reality is very different.

If your story is on the best museums in a certain city, then make sure you have a list of the museums you plan to visit. Write down everything from the best times to be there to the most important exhibits. If your angle is about hiking, then plan your walk to factor in the best times at viewpoints for photography.

The more you research, the better your shoot will be.

How-to-Sell-a-Travel-Story

Prepare for rejection

If you want to be successful in any industry, you have to accept rejection along the way. Even as a pro with years of experience behind you, not every pitch will be successful. If only it was…

The key is not to take rejection personally. Don’t let it discourage you from pitching a different story to the same publication. If you are lucky and the editor gives you some feedback, take note of their suggestions, and work on these areas. Never get angry or burn your bridges with anyone as you will have an impossible task to win them round again.

How-to-Sell-a-Travel-Story

Shoot plan

Once you’ve got your angle and completed your research, its time to start putting a shoot plan together. Your shoot plan should be more than just a list of locations – think of your shoot plan like an encyclopedia of your shoot. Include anything relevant like opening times, best times to shoot (sunset/sunrise), and logistics of getting to your required shoot locations.

Make a note of other potential locations you can visit. It’s also worth putting together some contingency ideas in the case of bad weather or unforeseen closures. The key to a good shoot plan is to make it as easy as possible to capture the shots you want to take.

The last thing that you want to be doing is rushing around, wasting valuable shooting time.

How to Sell a Travel Story to a Magazine and Help Fund Your Travels

Image variation

The reason that a shot list is so important is it ensures you cover the shots that you need to capture, and will also give you variety. Your images should include a range of details, people, buildings, landscapes/cityscapes, food, and anything else that would be relevant to your story.

The more variation and options you can provide an editor, the more chance you will have of selling your story.

How-to-Sell-a-Travel-Story

Tell a story

The big difference between a story and just documenting a place is the story you are trying to tell. You want to try to make sure your piece isn’t just a photographic list of places. The key is to take the viewer on a journey with you. It is also important to take notes of all the necessary information that accompanies your story. People’s names, places, names of food dishes – you never know what might be needed.

The final piece should be a coherent story that has a variety in the shots.

How-to-Sell-a-Travel-Story

The pitch

Some people prefer to pitch their idea before embarking on their journey. While this is a safe option in regards to knowing you wouldn’t be wasting money unnecessarily unless you already have a relationship with an editor, it can be difficult. Even if an editor does like your idea, it is very unlikely they will offer you a commission straightaway. Any agreement will usually be on a speculative basis so they will not be under any obligation to buy your article afterward.

I personally believe you are best to pitch a finished piece that’s ready to go to press. Whatever approach you decide to take, the pitch is the most crucial part of the process. You’ve put in all that hard work and investment, so it’s important to get your pitch just right so you make a great first impression.

Your email should be direct and well thought out, showing off your knowledge of your subject. It should be backed up with the credibility required to give the editor confidence in you and your work. Take your time composing your pitch email and run it by friends and family for feedback. It’s okay to send a follow-up email a couple of weeks later but don’t keep pestering the editor. If you haven’t heard back after a couple of emails, assume it hasn’t been successful.

How to Sell a Travel Story to a Magazine and Help Fund Your Travels

Submission

If you do get that great bit of news that your story has been accepted, make sure to follow all submission guidelines. Otherwise, your piece will more than likely be rejected. Your text should be proofread to avoid any spelling or grammatical mistakes. Even if you are just providing images, typos make you look unprofessional.

The majority of publications will also have strict guidelines for images, so be sure to follow these. It’s a good idea to read these before you start your edit as there will usually be guidelines on color space, sharpening and even cropping. Many publications prefer to do this in-house.

How to Sell a Travel Story to a Magazine and Help Fund Your Travels

What next?

So you’ve sent your pitch and nothing even after the follow-up. You can either try another publication or go back to the drawing board with a different story. However, even if your story has been successful, be sure to go back with other ideas. Even if it takes time, going back to the same editor might be a little easier now that they have seen your work.

How to Sell a Travel Story to a Magazine and Help Fund Your Travels

Publications have limited space for freelance photographers to pitch stories. Inevitably there is also a huge amount of competition for any available space. The best way to give yourself a chance is to really research the publication and pitch something that would be too good for them to turn down.

Do you have any other tips about how to sell a travel story to a magazine? If so, share with us in the comments below!

 

How-to-Sell-a-Travel-Story

The post How to Sell a Travel Story to a Magazine and Help Fund Your Travels appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Kav Dadfar.

How to Sell a Travel Story to a Magazine and Help Fund Your Travels

The post How to Sell a Travel Story to a Magazine and Help Fund Your Travels appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Kav Dadfar.

There is nothing quite like when you sell a travel story to a magazine. Seeing all your hard work in print gives you a great sense of satisfaction. Editorial work has changed a lot over the past few years, and you must prepare yourself for some rejection. However, if you follow this simple process of selling a story, and don’t give up, you will reap the rewards.

Also note, once you have built up a few relationships with editors, things get simpler. Once editors know and trust you, they will be far more receptive to your pitch for a story.

How-to-Sell-a-Travel-Story

Publication research

Once you have an article idea, it’s always a good idea to research the type of magazines that may be interested in printing your story. Magazines differ significantly from one another. To give your story the best possible chance of publication, aim to pitch it to the right place.

For example, if your story is about walking, then pitch it to magazines that specialize in hiking or outdoor activities. Go to your local shop and flick through the magazine you intend to pitch to and see if it would be the right fit.

Also, research their submission process. Many publications have clear guidelines on how to submit work.

Image: An example of a travel article in 360ºMagazine by Jennifer Bell.

An example of a travel article in 360ºMagazine by Jennifer Bell.

Find a fresh angle

When you have your list of possible publications, ensure your story is fresh and unique. You don’t want to pitch ideas that are the same or similar to articles already recently published.

Most publications publish their articles on their website too, so check that what you are pitching is different. Also, remember to check upcoming articles as well. It may be that your article idea is set to feature in the next few issues.

The publication’s media pack is usually a good place to search for this sort of thing.

How to Sell a Travel Story to a Magazine and Help Fund Your Travels

Destination research

Now that you have your angle and a list of preferred publications, it is time to research your topic. Researching your topic is one of the most important aspects of any shoot, and one rarely mentioned when discussing selling a story to a magazine. Many photographers will have you believe everything just comes together out in the field. But the reality is very different.

If your story is on the best museums in a certain city, then make sure you have a list of the museums you plan to visit. Write down everything from the best times to be there to the most important exhibits. If your angle is about hiking, then plan your walk to factor in the best times at viewpoints for photography.

The more you research, the better your shoot will be.

How-to-Sell-a-Travel-Story

Prepare for rejection

If you want to be successful in any industry, you have to accept rejection along the way. Even as a pro with years of experience behind you, not every pitch will be successful. If only it was…

The key is not to take rejection personally. Don’t let it discourage you from pitching a different story to the same publication. If you are lucky and the editor gives you some feedback, take note of their suggestions, and work on these areas. Never get angry or burn your bridges with anyone as you will have an impossible task to win them round again.

How-to-Sell-a-Travel-Story

Shoot plan

Once you’ve got your angle and completed your research, its time to start putting a shoot plan together. Your shoot plan should be more than just a list of locations – think of your shoot plan like an encyclopedia of your shoot. Include anything relevant like opening times, best times to shoot (sunset/sunrise), and logistics of getting to your required shoot locations.

Make a note of other potential locations you can visit. It’s also worth putting together some contingency ideas in the case of bad weather or unforeseen closures. The key to a good shoot plan is to make it as easy as possible to capture the shots you want to take.

The last thing that you want to be doing is rushing around, wasting valuable shooting time.

How to Sell a Travel Story to a Magazine and Help Fund Your Travels

Image variation

The reason that a shot list is so important is it ensures you cover the shots that you need to capture, and will also give you variety. Your images should include a range of details, people, buildings, landscapes/cityscapes, food, and anything else that would be relevant to your story.

The more variation and options you can provide an editor, the more chance you will have of selling your story.

How-to-Sell-a-Travel-Story

Tell a story

The big difference between a story and just documenting a place is the story you are trying to tell. You want to try to make sure your piece isn’t just a photographic list of places. The key is to take the viewer on a journey with you. It is also important to take notes of all the necessary information that accompanies your story. People’s names, places, names of food dishes – you never know what might be needed.

The final piece should be a coherent story that has a variety in the shots.

How-to-Sell-a-Travel-Story

The pitch

Some people prefer to pitch their idea before embarking on their journey. While this is a safe option in regards to knowing you wouldn’t be wasting money unnecessarily unless you already have a relationship with an editor, it can be difficult. Even if an editor does like your idea, it is very unlikely they will offer you a commission straightaway. Any agreement will usually be on a speculative basis so they will not be under any obligation to buy your article afterward.

I personally believe you are best to pitch a finished piece that’s ready to go to press. Whatever approach you decide to take, the pitch is the most crucial part of the process. You’ve put in all that hard work and investment, so it’s important to get your pitch just right so you make a great first impression.

Your email should be direct and well thought out, showing off your knowledge of your subject. It should be backed up with the credibility required to give the editor confidence in you and your work. Take your time composing your pitch email and run it by friends and family for feedback. It’s okay to send a follow-up email a couple of weeks later but don’t keep pestering the editor. If you haven’t heard back after a couple of emails, assume it hasn’t been successful.

How to Sell a Travel Story to a Magazine and Help Fund Your Travels

Submission

If you do get that great bit of news that your story has been accepted, make sure to follow all submission guidelines. Otherwise, your piece will more than likely be rejected. Your text should be proofread to avoid any spelling or grammatical mistakes. Even if you are just providing images, typos make you look unprofessional.

The majority of publications will also have strict guidelines for images, so be sure to follow these. It’s a good idea to read these before you start your edit as there will usually be guidelines on color space, sharpening and even cropping. Many publications prefer to do this in-house.

How to Sell a Travel Story to a Magazine and Help Fund Your Travels

What next?

So you’ve sent your pitch and nothing even after the follow-up. You can either try another publication or go back to the drawing board with a different story. However, even if your story has been successful, be sure to go back with other ideas. Even if it takes time, going back to the same editor might be a little easier now that they have seen your work.

How to Sell a Travel Story to a Magazine and Help Fund Your Travels

Publications have limited space for freelance photographers to pitch stories. Inevitably there is also a huge amount of competition for any available space. The best way to give yourself a chance is to really research the publication and pitch something that would be too good for them to turn down.

Do you have any other tips about how to sell a travel story to a magazine? If so, share with us in the comments below!

 

How-to-Sell-a-Travel-Story

The post How to Sell a Travel Story to a Magazine and Help Fund Your Travels appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Kav Dadfar.

6 Reasons Your Photos Might Be Lacking Sharpness

The post 6 Reasons Your Photos Might Be Lacking Sharpness appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Kav Dadfar.

Capturing sharp photos needn’t be difficult. Most amateur photographers who struggle to capture sharp photos make one of the common mistakes listed below. The good news is that with a little bit of practice and knowhow, you will be able to take sharp photos most of the time. At the very least, you should accept that you will make mistakes and have blurred photos from time to time when starting out. Instead of getting frustrated, try to analyze each blurred photo to understand why it might be lacking in sharpness. In the meantime here are 6 reasons your photos might be lacking sharpness.

Reasons-Your-Photos-Might-Be-Lacking-Sharpness

Reasons your photos might be lacking sharpness

1. Shutter speed too slow

Often this is the number one culprit for photos lacking sharpness. There are three potential mistakes when it comes to shutter speed. The first is simply the question of are you using a fast enough shutter speed for what you are photographing? For example, a cheetah running will need a much faster shutter speed to freeze the action. Whereas, a statue doesn’t. So the first thing you should do is understand what shutter speed you need for the subject you are shooting. As an example, you might be able to get away with something like 1/60th sec when taking a portrait. But for someone running, you will need a shutter speed of something like 1/200th sec.

The second issue is around the lens you are using. As a general rule, your shutter speed should at the least be the same as your lens focal length. So for example, if you are shooting with a 200mm lens, your shutter speed should be at least 1/200th sec. However, there is a slight caveat to this rule. Image stabilization in modern lenses is very good. It can allow you to shoot below the minimum required. But, to be safe, stick to this rule.

Lastly, how fast you need for your shutter speed also comes down to you. If you have steady hands, then you may be able to shoot sharp photos at a slower shutter speed than someone else. Test this out by photographing a scene at different shutter speeds to determine how slow you can go.

Image: Closer inspection of this photo reveals that there is a lack of sharpness.

Closer inspection of this photo reveals that there is a lack of sharpness.

2. Not using the correct aperture

Your aperture determines your depth of field. This also has a major impact on the sharpness of your photo. For example, if you are photographing a landscape scene with a shallow depth of field like f/2.8, then only a small part of your scene will be sharp. Depending on where you focused, only things along that distance will be sharp. So in this scenario, where you want more of your image to be sharp, you need to use a smaller aperture (i.e., higher f/number).

For something like landscape photography, you need to use an aperture of f/8 or smaller.

Reasons-Your-Photos-Might-Be-Lacking-Sharpness

3. ISO is too high

Even though modern-day DSLRs have hugely improved in the amount of noise that appears in photos at high ISOs, unfortunately, it still does affect sharpness. If you set your ISO too high, your image will begin to look soft and as a result lack sharpness. Always remember only to raise your ISO as high as you need to.

Better still, if you can, use a tripod and keep your ISO low.

Image: This photo was taken at 6400 ISO. When zoomed in, as you can see the noise is making it feel...

This photo was taken at 6400 ISO. When zoomed in, as you can see the noise is making it feel soft.

4. Haven’t locked up mirror

A lot of amateur photographers may not be aware of this potential issue when using a tripod. Every time that you click the shutter button, the mirror inside the camera flips over to allow light to hit the sensor.

When you are using a fast shutter speed, this process doesn’t cause any problems. But when you are photographing using a long exposure where your shutter speed is very slow, when the mirror flips over, the vibrations can cause a lack of sharpness in your image. You can either use the function in your DSLR menu to “lock mirror” or shoot in live view mode for the same effect.

Image: An example of the lack of sharpness even when using a tripod when the mirror hasn’t bee...

An example of the lack of sharpness even when using a tripod when the mirror hasn’t been locked.

5. Poor quality tripod

Just like anything else, there are good quality tripods and poor quality tripods. Of course, buying a better and more sturdy tripod might be expensive, but isn’t that a price worth paying for sharper photos?

A poor quality tripod will put your expensive equipment at risk because it may not be sturdy enough even to withstand a gust of wind. However, cheap material can also be prone to vibrations, which, in turn, can mean a lack of sharpness in your photos.

So don’t take the risk. Ideally, invest in a good quality carbon fiber tripod.

6 Reasons Your Photos Might Be Lacking Sharpness

6. Not using a remote or self-timer

Even the faintest of touches can cause camera shake when photographing at long exposures. This means that even when you press the shutter button to take a photo, you are causing movement. The only way to be sure that your photos will not suffer from camera shake is to use a remote release or the self-timer on the camera. This will ensure you will not have to touch the camera when you take the photo.

Reasons-Your-Photos-Might-Be-Lacking-Sharpness

By far the best way to ensure that your photos are sharp is to use a tripod. But whilst that is not always possible or convenient, by following the advice above you can still ensure that your photos will be sharp.

We hope these tips help you achieve sharper photos! Do you have any other tips to add to the reasons your photos might be lacking sharpness? Share with us in the comments!

 

Reasons-Your-Photos-Might-Be-Lacking-Sharpness

The post 6 Reasons Your Photos Might Be Lacking Sharpness appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Kav Dadfar.

6 Great Lightroom Tricks You Probably Didn’t Know About

The post 6 Great Lightroom Tricks You Probably Didn’t Know About appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Kav Dadfar.

Adobe Lightroom is an essential tool for any photographer. Whether you are a professional or amateur, Lightroom can make your workflow faster and more efficient. But there are also a whole host of editing tools available. Some of which you may not even know existed. So here are 6 great lightroom tricks that you probably didn’t know about.

Crop overlay options

Cropping your photos can sometimes mean the difference between a good photo and a great one. You can access the Lightroom crop tool by pressing R on your keyboard in the Develop module. Perhaps you already knew that, but what you may not have known is that when your cropping tool is open, you can change the overlay that shows on your image.

By pressing “O,” you will be able to get a whole host of different overlays on the image to help you crop effectively. Everything from the “Rule of Thirds” to the “Fibonacci Rule” can be accessed to help turn an okay photo into a great one.

Lights Off Mode

Sometimes when you are editing a photo, it is easy to get distracted by all of the side panels and options available. A great way to really see your photo is by looking at it in the “Lights Out” mode. By pressing the “L” key once on your keyboard, everything dims except your image. Pressing it one more time, you will see just the image on a black background without the distracting side panels. Press it a third time to make the side panels re-appear.

Great-Lightroom-Tricks-You-Probably-Didnt-Know-About-2

Full-Screen Mode

Another useful trick, especially when working on smaller screens such as laptops, is to view your image at full screen. Because of the screen size, naturally the actual photo you are working on looks pretty small on a laptop screen.

To get a better view hit “F” on your keyboard and you’ll get to see the image as big as possible on the screen.

To come out of full-screen mode press Esc on your keyboard.

Know if your image is clipped

One of the key elements of taking a photo or post-processing it is to ensure that your highlights and shadows are not overexposed or underexposed to the point where there is no detail in those areas. This is a term that is known as clipping.

It can be difficult to judge by eye if any areas of your photo suffer from this. Thankfully, Lightroom’s clever tool can make it much easier to see where this occurs.

Click the little triangles on the corners of your histogram, and if there are clipped areas in your photo, they will show in red for highlights and blue for shadows. You can then tweak the different sliders to correct these issues. You can also access the clipping highlights by pressing “J” whilst in the Develop module.

Great-Lightroom-Tricks-You-Probably-Didnt-Know-About-3

Please note that on older versions of Lightroom these sliders might be different.

Pick and organise

I have over 100,000 photos in my collection. They are for a variety of assignments and clients, and they need organizing in a way that makes it easy for me to access them. One of the most useful aspects of Lightroom is being able to organize and flag your photos effectively. The three easy ways to organize your photos are 1) flagging them (i.e., putting a flag on the ones you want to), 2) adding 1 to 5 stars, 3) color-coding them in red, yellow, green, blue and purple.

You can access these by using the following shortcuts:

  • “P” flags a photo (to unflag a photo press “U”). You can also reject a photo by pressing “X”
  • Add stars by using the relevant number key between 1 – 5 (press zero to remove stars)
  • Color code your image by pressing 6 – 9

How you use these ultimately depends on your workflow. However, for example, you may decide to utilize the colors like a traffic light system (i.e., Green for the ones that you love, yellow for the okay ones and red for rejects). Alternatively, you may simply star the ones you really like with 5 stars. The choice is yours.

Speed up your editing

Often whenever you are at a location, you will take multiple photos. Sometimes you may even take a set of photos from the same scene. When it comes to editing them, it wouldn’t be very efficient to edit each one individually as the light and conditions won’t change much in a few seconds. Lightroom has a couple of great options to help.

Whilst in the Develop module, if you click on the “Previous” button (at the bottom of the right-hand panel), Lightroom pastes the same settings as the last image you were on to the selected image.

If you select multiple images on the film strip in the Develop module, you’ll notice that the “Previous” button changes to “Sync.” Press this and whichever image is selected will be used as a basis to paste the adjustment from to all images you’ve selected.

Once you have clicked on “Sync,” you’ll get a pop up where you can select which settings you want to add. This is a great option when, for example, you shot a scene in burst mode where all the conditions are similar from one photo to the next. You can always make further adjustments to a photo if needed.

Great-Lightroom-Tricks-You-Probably-Didnt-Know-About-4

Conclusion

These are just some of the simple yet effective editing tools that you may not have known about in Lightroom. There is so much more Lightroom can do. If you learn how to use it, it will become an invaluable software in your workflow.

Don’t forget to let us know your great Lightroom tricks below.

 

great-lightroom-tricks

The post 6 Great Lightroom Tricks You Probably Didn’t Know About appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Kav Dadfar.

7 Ways To Take Your Photography To The Next Level

The post 7 Ways To Take Your Photography To The Next Level appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Kav Dadfar.

It easy to stagnate as a photographer. It’s a lonely hobby where you often work alone spending hours in pursuit of one photo which may not materialize. You can begin to lose interest and become lazy. This loss of interest can manifest itself in your photos which, in turn, demoralizes you further. As with many hobbies, the great thing about photography is you can reignite your passion. So here are 7 ways to take your photography to the next level.

1 - 7 Ways To Take Your Photography To The Next Level

1. Photograph Something Different

One of the things many photographers are guilty of doing is photographing the same things over and over again. If you did the same thing again and again, eventually you’d get fed up with it. So, a great way to boost your passion for photography is to photograph something completely different. For example, if you are a travel photographer, spend some time photographing wildlife. If you take portraits, start photographing food.

Not only will this help reignite your passion, but it can also add more skills to your repertoire. You never know, you may find a new passion you never knew you had.

2 - 7 Ways To Take Your Photography To The Next Level

2. Work On a Brief

Remember when you were at school and had to work on projects set by the teacher? It required you to learn about the subject, think about it and create a piece of work to present to your teacher. The concept of working on a brief is the same. You are given a topic or subject to photograph, and you take photos that answer the brief.

The project could be anything from a simple task of documenting a local event, to photographing a remote tribe in another country. Many people who take up photography as a hobby take photos of things that they come across rather than a specific brief. Working on a brief can help focus your photography and make you think about things differently.

Ask a friend or family member to set you a brief. It could be on anything. After you receive the brief, go about creating a set of images that respond to it.

3 - 7 Ways To Take Your Photography To The Next Level

3. Set Yourself a Challenge

Another way to improve your photography is to set yourself challenges. These can help diversify your portfolio. For example, you may have lots of photos but are missing some nice close-ups. So, set yourself a challenge to capture one close-up image every day. Perhaps you have a weakness in a specific area of photography? Set yourself a challenge to improve that one element.

If you are a shy person and struggle to approach people to take their photo, set yourself a challenge to photograph ten people in one day. You’ll be surprised how much more confident you feel after doing so.

4 - 7 Ways To Take Your Photography To The Next Level

4. Read, Watch, Follow

One of the best ways to improve your photography is to be inspired by photographers whose work you admire. Follow photographers on social media whose work inspires you. Look at the work of the masters like Ansel Adams, Steve McCurry, and Robert Capa. Read books such as the ‘Bang Bang Club‘ and watch documentaries and movies about photography. Even flicking through photography books or magazines can help inspire you. However, remember the objective should be to be inspired, not copy someone else’s work.

5 - 7 Ways To Take Your Photography To The Next Level

5. Get a Photo Buddy

Photography is usually an isolated hobby and can be difficult to judge how well you are doing. Having someone who shares your passion can help motivate you while also giving you someone to bounce ideas off. You can learn from one another and push each other to capture better images. If you don’t know anyone who has a passion for photography, join your local camera club where you can meet likeminded individuals.

6 - 7 Ways To Take Your Photography To The Next Level

6. Rent or Buy a Film Camera

There is no doubt that cameras are better and more powerful than they have ever been. You’ll find it hard finding many photographers who still shoot in film.

Still, one negative of digital photography is that it makes the decision of taking photos easy. Back in the days of film, every single photo you took cost money. Meaning, you had to be sure of what you were photographing to avoid wasting money. So you didn’t waste money, you had to think a lot harder about a scene. You had to think about your settings and if it was an interesting subject. You didn’t have the luxury of looking at the picture on the back of your camera.

Try it out. Rent film camera for a day, or buy a second-hand one, and see if it makes you think differently about photography.

7 - 7 Ways To Take Your Photography To The Next Level

7. Go On a Photo Tour

Photo tours are quite common these days. Tours usually entail going to a country and touring it with the purpose of capturing photos. Ranging from a few days to weeks, tours are one of the best ways to boost your photography. You are away with likeminded individuals who share your passion, and you are joined by a professional photographer who can help you with your photographic weaknesses.

Nevertheless, arguably the most significant benefit of a photo tour is you are immersed in photography every day for weeks. If you keep practicing and doing something for hours every day, it’s natural for you to become better at it. So, if you haven’t tried a photo tour or workshop, give it go. It could be the best way to boost your photography skills and passion.

8 - 7 Ways To Take Your Photography To The Next Level

Like any other hobby or profession, you need to continually challenge yourself, set goals and have the motivation to create great photos. Sometimes that comes naturally, like when you are heading to a fantastic destination. At other times you have to make an effort to push yourself to be able to take your photography to the next level. The above tips should help you on your way, but ultimately it is down to you to push yourself.

What do you do to improve your photography? Tell us below.

The post 7 Ways To Take Your Photography To The Next Level appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Kav Dadfar.

5 Tips For Keeping Your Camera Safe And In Working Order

Besides the obvious cost of camera equipment, they are also a key part of photography. A damaged camera, especially when away in remote places, can mean no photos. Those missed photos might be something that you can’t replicate. So to keep your camera equipment safe and in working order is an essential part of photography. Here are 5 tips for keeping your camera safe and in working order.

5 Tips To Keep Your Camera Safe And In Working Order - Kav Dadfar Photography

1. Clean, repair, service

There’s an age-old saying ‘prevention is better than the cure.’ So your first step in ensuring that your camera is in good working condition is to keep it that way. Get into the habit of regularly cleaning your camera. There are plenty of camera cleaning products out there, and it only takes a few minutes. Wipe your camera clean of dust and any other build up of dirt. Carefully clean your lenses using the relevant material. It’s best to avoid touching or cleaning your sensor unless you are confident in what you are doing.

Even if your camera is working, if there is a minor fault with it, get it fixed rather than leaving. It’s also worth getting your camera serviced professionally every now and again. Yes, it might be an annoying expense to have to pay, but it is a small price to pay to ensure that your camera is in perfect working condition.

5 Tips To Keep Your Camera Safe And In Working Order - Kav Dadfar Photography

2. Be aware of the elements

Water and sand are two of the biggest dangers to cameras. Anyone who has a scratched lens glass or sensor due to sand knows the cost involved in fixing these things. However, there are ways to protect your camera equipment to ensure you minimize the risk. The first thing you need to know is how well sealed your camera is. For example, high-end DSLR cameras often specify that they are ‘weather sealed.’ While weather-sealing offers good protection from things getting into your camera, you should still be cautious.

  • Start by always carrying a plastic bag with you. They are great for protecting your camera from rain and water.
  • It’s also worth carrying a small towel at all times to wipe your camera clean. It is especially vital near the coast where the salt in seawater can be corrosive.
  • Avoid changing lenses, especially when windy. Dust, sand, and water can all get into your sensor. If you must change lenses, do it quickly and make sure you protect your camera from the wind.
  • Remember to wipe and clean your camera after you finish your shoot at these places as there may still be sand or water on your camera.

5 Tips To Keep Your Camera Safe And In Working Order - Kav Dadfar Photography

3. Know your surroundings

One of the dangers to your camera equipment is theft. With a little bit of common sense and caution, you can avoid being a victim. The key is to know your surroundings and take action accordingly. For example, if you are walking on a busy sidewalk, keep away from the curb and keep your camera away from the roadside where snatch and grabs on motorbikes happen. Alternatively, if you are sitting on an outside table in a restaurant, put your camera away in your bag or have the strap around your arm.

Even in quite countryside car parks, it’s important to take precautions. Don’t leave cameras or valuables on display. Hide them away, or better still take them with you. As long as you use common sense and know what it is happening around you, you shouldn’t have any problems.

5 Tips To Keep Your Camera Safe And In Working Order - Kav Dadfar Photography

4. Use your tripod wisely

My only ever accident with my camera was when I was using a tripod. As I rushed to put my camera on, I didn’t clip it in, and the camera fell straight into a muddy puddle. Luckily the mud stopped my camera bouncing off into the river that I was photographing, and it also avoided the rock that I was standing on. With a bit of cleaning up, I was able to use it straight away. I was fortunate on this occasion.

I am always astonished when I see people setting up tripods, and they don’t evenly distribute the weight, causing it to fall over, or people putting expensive DSLRs on cheap tripods that are not secure enough to take the weight.

Whenever you are using a tripod, the key is to take your time. Make sure your tripod is secure, and the legs are taking the weight evenly. When you put your camera on the tripod, hold on to the strap for a few seconds to ensure it’s not going to topple over. Only when confident it’s not going to fall should you let go. Be especially careful when there are high winds as a sudden gust can easily knock over your tripod and camera.

5 Tips To Keep Your Camera Safe And In Working Order - Kav Dadfar Photography

5. Store your equipment safely

Depending on how much photography you do, there are always periods when your camera is not in use. So, where you store your camera is also essential in keeping it safe. Avoid storing your camera in places where there is high humidity like laundry rooms. You should also avoid leaving it in direct sunlight. Try to store it in a cupboard rather than just leaving it out to gather dust. A great tip is to keep your camera equipment in your camera bag and place your bag in a cupboard. Not only does it protect against dust but also ensures everything is one place and out of sight.

5 Tips To Keep Your Camera Safe And In Working Order - Kav Dadfar Photography

Additional tip for keeping your camera safe

While you hope you never have to use it, it’s always best to ensure that you have appropriate insurance in place for your camera equipment. Make sure that it covers you for things like damage at home, in transit and even in cars. It’s also worth noting the details of their claims policy, so you are aware of things such as whether they pay for or replace damaged or stolen equipment. It is also important to know these details, in case you may have to wait six months for your equipment to get replaced. So always make sure you have insurance to cover your equipment.

5 Tips To Keep Your Camera Safe And In Working Order - Kav Dadfar Photography

There’s nothing more frustrating than seeing an amazing photo opportunity in front of you and having no camera. However, with a little bit of care, forward planning, and common sense, you can avoid this happening to you by keeping your camera safe and in working order.

Anything else that you can think of? Let us know below.

Want more? Check out the latest photography tips on our blog.

The post 5 Tips For Keeping Your Camera Safe And In Working Order appeared first on Digital Photography School.

8 Elementary Travel Photography Mistakes to Avoid When Starting Out

Starting out in photography may seem like a daunting task. There are so many things to learn and practice that sometimes it can seem like an impossible task. Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts and if you want to take better photos then you need to be willing to put the hours of practice and learning in.

The good news is that these days there are lots of resources online that can help you. To get you started here are 8 elementary travel photography mistakes to cut out when starting in photography.

temple in asia in golden light -  Travel Photography Mistakes

Mistake #1 – Setting Your Camera On Auto

It always amazes me when I see newbie photographers with the latest expensive DSLR, using the auto mode. Besides capturing better quality photos from a resolution point of view, the other main benefit of DSLRs is the amount of control that you have over the photo taking process.

Admittedly auto functions on cameras are a lot better these days. But often it means compromises which are not necessarily best for the image. For example, if your camera is setting your ISO too high you will get a lot of noise in your photo. Instead, you may decide that actually underexposing your image slightly, which you can then adjust in post-production, will be a better compromise than extra noise.

But the biggest reason you should avoid auto mode when starting out is that it will stop you from learning. You need to learn to be able to set your shutter speed and aperture. You need to learn when and how much to raise your ISO by because it’s the only way that you can have full control over the final outcome.

auto mode on DSLR -  Travel Photography Mistakes

Mistake #2 – Shooting in JPEG

I can’t see any reason why anyone would want to shoot in JPEG format with a DSLR camera. Unless you are on a specific brief that requires instant upload of the images to the client, capturing JPEGs shouldn’t be an option. The only reason that people use JPEG mode in the camera is to save disk space.

But ask yourself if it’s worth compromising the quality of the photo for the sake of buying a couple more memory cards?

If your camera has RAW files (which all DSLRs and most mirrorless and compact cameras do these days) that’s what you should use. It gives so much more flexibility when it comes to post-processing, supplying images to clients, and even printing them out.

Even if you plan to only use your images on social media you are better off capturing the images in RAW, post-processing them and then saving them as JPEGs.

raw setting on a DSLR menu -  Travel Photography Mistakes

Mistake #3 – ISO Too High

A few years ago I remember bumping into an amateur photographer in Vietnam. As we got talking it became apparent that he didn’t understand what ISO actually was and how it affected his photos. He just assumed it was a number that allowed him to take photos in most conditions. So while his ISO was at 6400, his shutter speed was 1/4000th.

For those of us who were photographing in the days of film, ISO was the sensitivity of the film to light. So if you wanted to capture photos in darker conditions you would use a roll of film with a higher ISO.

This concept is exactly the same now in digital photography. The higher your ISO the more sensitive the camera’s sensor is to light. The downside of this is that the higher your ISO is, the more noise you will get in your image.

So while the amateur photographer I met was able to capture photos in any and lighting conditions, all of his images when zoomed-in were soft and grainy. So one of the biggest tips for any aspiring photographer is to always keep your ISO as low a possible and only increase it as much as you have to in order to get the shot.

The Kremlin -  Travel Photography Mistakes

Image taken at 4000 ISO means noise and an image lacking sharpness.

Mistake #4 – Shutter Speed too Slow

One of the biggest struggles for newbie photographers is often capturing sharp images. One reason could be that the camera has been focused on the wrong part of the image. The other big reason is often that the photographer didn’t use a fast enough shutter speed.

At slow shutter speeds of 1/60th or slower, you simply will not be able to hold the camera steady enough for sharp photos. Even 1/60th for some people might be too slow so it’s worth testing this when you are starting out.

Start capturing photos of the same subject at 1/100th all the way down until the image is blurred. You’ll then know how slow you can go. But your shutter speed is also dependent on how fast the object that you are photographing is moving and the lens you’re using.

For example, you might be able to capture a photo of someone running with a shutter speed of 1/250th. But a fast-moving car would need a faster shutter speed to freeze it. If you’re using a 300mm lens you will also need a faster shutter speed (keep the shutter speed as a reciprocal of the focal length so 1/300th).

With experience you will learn what shutter speed you will need so make sure you practice photographing different moving objects.

blurry trumpet player -  Travel Photography Mistakes

Shot at 1/40th of a second. This was not fast enough to freeze the action so the image is blurred.

Mistake #5 – Photographing at Midday

For any outdoor photography, light is often the key component of turning an okay image into a great image. As such photographing at midday when it’s bright and sunny will usually mean your images will look flat as the harsh light washes out shadows. So try to avoid photographing around midday and instead build your shoot around early morning or late afternoon/evening.

 Travel Photography Mistakes - two guys by a lake

The light is too harsh and so the image looks flat.

Mistake #6 – Not Being Ready

One of the great satisfactions for photographers is capturing those fleeting moments that would otherwise be missed. But to do that you have to be ready.

That means having your camera out of your bag, turned on, with the lens cap off. You should also get into the habit of adjusting your settings as you are moving around to cater for the conditions so that you are ready to capture the image when the opportunity arises.

rural farm with pigs in Asia -  Travel Photography Mistakes

Mistake #7 – Highlights / Shadows Clipped

One of the key tools for you as a photographer is the histogram. Even if you don’t fully learn or understand how to read one, the one thing you should know is how to use it to see if your highlights and shadows are within an acceptable range.

Highlights are bright areas in your photos and shadows are dark areas. If your highlights are too bright they may actually be completely white with no detail at all. Similarly, if your shadows are too dark they will be completely black. This is called “clipping”.

The best way to check this at the time of taking the photo or in post-production is to use your histogram. If any part of the histogram is cut off on the left there are pure black areas in your image and if it is cut off on the right there are pure white areas in your image.

By spotting this on your histogram you can either adjust your settings to avoid clipping or fix any issues in post-production.

photo with clipped areas -  Travel Photography Mistakes

The areas highlighted in red are pure white and the areas highlighted in blue are pure black. In other words, those areas are “clipped” and will have no detail.

Mistake #8 – Photo Not Straight

Whether you are an advocate of post-processing or someone who doesn’t believe photos should be altered, the one thing that you should always do is to ensure that your images are straight.

Of course, it is best to get things right in-camera when you are taking the photo. Some DSLRs have various elements to help you get your image straight when you look through the viewfinder or on the LCD screen.

But if you find that your image is not straight, make sure you fix it in post-production.

grid view on a DSLR screen -  Travel Photography Mistakes

Conclusion

Most people who start out in photography will make some of these mistakes along the way. The important thing is to learn from them and move on. But if you can cut these mistakes out from the start you’ll be well on your way to capturing better photos.

Have you made any mistakes that others should avoid? Please share your experiences below.

The post 8 Elementary Travel Photography Mistakes to Avoid When Starting Out appeared first on Digital Photography School.

The First 10 Things You Need to Buy After Your Camera for Travel Photography

You’ve just splashed out a vast sum of money on a shiny new camera to do amazing travel photography, but what’s next? There are so many different lenses, accessories, and even filters to choose from. Most people would not be able to afford to buy everything they need in one go. So what should you buy first?

Fear not, here is a simple guide on what to purchase, and in what order, after you have bought a new camera.

photo on the back of a DSLR camera - The First 10 Things You Need to Buy After Your Camera for Travel Photography

1. Lens

It may seem pretty obvious but you won’t be able to do much without a lens for your camera, so naturally, this should be the first purchase.

But the lens you choose will impact on the quality of your photos. For travel photography, you will be able to get away with only using one lens most of the time so try to buy the best lens that you can afford. Look for something that has a good focal length range and is fairly fast.

Something like a 24-70mm lens will often mean you can get 95% of the shots that you would take.

24-70mm and 70-200mm lenses - The First 10 Things You Need to Buy After Your Camera for Travel Photography

Left: 24-70mm f/2.8. Right: 70-200mm f/2.8 lens.

2. Memory Cards

The next vital purchase is at least one memory card to be able to store your photos.

Again this is something that is worth spending a little more money on in order to buy a higher capacity memory card. If you are going to be shooting in RAW format (which you should be doing) then your file sizes will be large. This means memory cards can fill up pretty quickly. Something like a 32gb or 64gb memory card should usually last a few days, depending on what you’re shooting.

Whether you buy more will come down to your budget. Using one card will mean that you have to clear your memory cards each day or every few days. So if you can afford a couple more, it will be worth the investment.

CF memory cards in a case - The First 10 Things You Need to Buy After Your Camera for Travel Photography

3. UV Filter

A UV filter might seem like an unnecessary expense, but the real benefit of buying one is to protect your lens’s glass.

They are pretty cheap to buy compared to having to repair a lens so consider getting one straight away. I fit every one of my lenses with a UV filter the day that it comes out of the box.

Canon L-series lens with a UV filter fitted on the front. The First 10 Things You Need to Buy After Your Camera for Travel Photography

Canon L-series lens with a UV filter fitted on the front

4. Tripod

Most travel photographers would put a tripod at the top of the list of their accessories. This is with good reason. If you want to capture the best possible photos at the best possible time of the day a tripod is a must.

During low light conditions, you simply will not be able to hold a camera steady enough to take a sharp photo. The only way will be to raise your ISO which will in turn mean noise in your final shot.

But it’s also worth investing in a good tripod rather than something that is cheap and flimsy. I always find it astonishing when I see people with expensive cameras using poor quality tripods. Not only are poor quality tripods subject to vibrations which cause camera shake and blurred photos, but they are putting their expensive camera at risk of falling over.

So, always look to buy a good quality tripod that can support the weight of your DSLR.

camera on a tripod overlooking a landscape scene - The First 10 Things You Need to Buy After Your Camera for Travel Photography

5. Camera Bag

Over time most photographers will end up with a collection of different bags for different scenarios. For example, a long hike will require a bigger bag, whereas day to day, you will need something more compact.

But most people can certainly get by with one bag to start off with so look for something that you can use day to day. I would always recommend buying a day backpack as a first camera bag as opposed to a top-loader or sling bag.

Look for one that is carry-on approved as you should always take you camera equipment on board rather than checking it in when you’re flying. It’s also worth buying one that you can strap your tripod to and has space for a laptop.

There are so many choices out there so do your research and even test them out at your local camera store before buying one. It’s an important purchase that will not only keep your camera equipment safe, but also mean carrying things in comfort.

camera bag full of gear - The First 10 Things You Need to Buy After Your Camera for Travel Photography

6. Graduated Neutral Density Filters

Once you’ve purchased the above items it’s time to start building up an inventory of the more specialized things you might need.

Graduated Neutral Density filters are incredibly useful anytime you are photographing at sunrise or sunset. They help to even out the light across your image when you are faced with one area being too bright (the sky) and another area being dark (the foreground).

They will generally come as a glass rectangle that fits onto the front of a lens with an adaptor. There are also screw-in versions (like traditional polarizing or UV filters) but frankly, they are a poor substitute in my opinion.

There are a whole range of brands and options and buying a complete set can work out to be pretty expensive. But you will find them incredibly useful and use them for years.

Canon camera with filter on the lens - The First 10 Things You Need to Buy After Your Camera for Travel Photography

7. Polarizing Filter

The next thing that you should look to purchase is a polarizing filter. Primarily used for suppressing glare or reflections these little screw-in filters can be really useful when photographing water, metallic objects, or even glass (like shop windows).

They also have the added benefit of darkening blues and greens which makes them very useful for landscape and travel photography. Like most photographic items you are better off purchasing a better quality version rather than cheap alternatives that can have a detrimental effect on the sharpness of the image.

beach scene tropical location - The First 10 Things You Need to Buy After Your Camera for Travel Photography

Use a polarizing filter to darken the sky to a rich blue like in this image.

8. Neutral Density Filters

Whereas Graduated ND filters are used for darkening part of the image, these filters can darken the whole scene. They are essentially a square or rectangular piece of glass that come in different darkness levels (representing the same effect as stopping down you aperture).

You might be wandering when you will ever need to darken the scene? Well, for example, if you are photographing water during the day you could use a Neutral Density filter to help you capture a smooth moving water effect. Or cloud movements in the sky.

Again a full set of these filters can be expensive so build up your collection slowly over time.

waterfall and a river flowing - The First 10 Things You Need to Buy After Your Camera for Travel Photography

9. Spare Batteries

While most people can get by with one battery, it’s always worth having a spare. The last thing you would want is to run out of power mid-way through a shoot.

Keep in mind that long exposure photography will drain your battery more quickly than photographing during the day. So if you are going to be doing a lot of this kind of photography or if you’re heading to a remote place with no electricity, this item may move up on your priority list.

I tend to travel with around six batteries in total and charge the ones I have used each night.

camera batteries - The First 10 Things You Need to Buy After Your Camera for Travel Photography

10. GorillaPod

It could be argued that a cable release should be on this list, but as you can use your camera’s timer instead, I feel a GorillaPod will be a better purchase.

The great thing about these small bendy tripods is that they will often draw less attention than a regular one. So in places where tripods are not allowed, you might get away with a GorillaPod. The other great thing about them is that you can set them up on tables, which makes them great for food photography on the go.

Just make sure that the GorillaPod you select can support the weight of your camera and not collapse.

gorillapod - The First 10 Things You Need to Buy After Your Camera for Travel Photography

Conclusion

There you have the 10 items that you should buy in order after you’ve purchased your camera. There will always be exceptions and you might need to tweak this order for your needs. Building your camera and accessories collection up is expensive, so the key is to plan out your purchases in order and take your time.

What do you think? Have I missed anything? Anything you would swap with the 10 on the list? Share your answers below.

The post The First 10 Things You Need to Buy After Your Camera for Travel Photography appeared first on Digital Photography School.

6 Tips To Help You Improve Your Documentary Photos

Documentary photos can have a powerful impact on viewers. They can notify people of an issue that they wouldn’t otherwise know about. Documentary images can help focus attention on different cultures that are rarely seen by other people. They can inspire, tell stories, and above all they can take the viewer on a journey that they may not go on themselves.

It’s important to remember that documentary photos differ to the conventional travel photographs. Yes they can overlap sometimes but documentary photos need to tell a story first and foremost. Here are 6 tips to help you improve your documentary photos.

woman burning leaves - Documentary Photos

1. Tell a Story

Before even a single photo has been taken, you need to decide on the story that you want to tell.

Are you trying to capture a specific event or ritual? Do you want to shed light on an environmental issue? Or do you want to document a different aspect of an already well-photographed location by focusing on say the grittier side of it away from the glitz and glamour?

Whatever the story is, your first action should be to write it down in a sentence. That will become your brief and with every photo you take, you should be looking to ensure it meets that requirement.

Not only will this help you to begin to build a shot list of potential things to photograph, but it will also ensure that you are always focused on the subjects you are photographing.

man cooking over a fire - Documentary Photos

2. Brainstorm Shots

Once you have an idea of what your story is about, you can begin to create a shot list based on that headline. So for example, if you want to photograph a traditional festival, some of the things that might be on your shot list could be things like:

  • The performers getting ready
  • Close up of the costumes
  • Head and shoulder portraits of the performers and audience
  • Action shots of the festival in action (for example dancing, singing, etc.)
  • Wide-angle shots capturing the entire event (for example to show the scale)
  • The venue (if it is in a place of special interest)
  • Any traditional foods or drinks served

This will help you plan your shoot and make sure that you cover different aspects of the story you are trying to tell.

Clearly, while you are there you may find that this list changes and other things get added or crossed off. The key is to make sure you capture a variety of shots based on your initial brief.

two men in red costumes - Documentary Photos

3. Planning and Setting Up

It’s not by accident that documentary photographers seem to be in the right place at the right time to capture stunning shots. This is not by accident or luck. There has likely been a lot of planning and research that’s gone into the shoot to ensure that they can maximize their time and capture the best photos. So, do your research before you start shooting.

For example, if you are photographing a parade get to that location a day before and work out the best place to be. Ask the locals if they know anything that might help you. Or if you are planning to photograph a remote tribe, contact local guides that can help you get there and also translate if needed.

Preparation is a huge part of documentary photography and you should spend time making sure you are fully prepared before you start.

parade with a religious float - Documentary Photos

4. Be Ready to Shoot

Once your research is done and you have planned everything, it’s time to execute and capture the photos. There is no magic formula for choosing your camera settings when taking documentary photos, as every scenario is different.

But you can prepare for it in advance by understanding your camera and predicting the scenario that you might face. For example, if you are photographing locals in their home where you are likely to encounter low light conditions, you can safely assume that you will need to raise your ISO level to be able to capture the shot. So, practice at home so that not only can work quickly but also you know your camera’s capabilities at high ISO settings.

Or if you are going to be photographing a dance festival where there will be fast movement practice being able to focus accurately and capture sharp photos. Trying to predict the scenario you are working in will often help ensure that you don’t panic when you are actually there and taking photos for real.

demonstration by doctors and nurses - Documentary Photos

5. Story Over Aesthetics

Arguably this is where documentary photography and travel photography differ.

While often in travel photography you want to try and tell a story, you also need to convey that in a beautiful and aspiring way that will make people want to travel to that destination. But documentary photography is about telling the story first and foremost and if the aesthetics have to suffer to capture it, then so be it.

So, don’t be afraid to break away from convention if it means you will capture the shot that will help tell that story.

protestors in the park - Documentary Photos

6. Edit Ruthlessly

Once you have captured all of the images that you wanted to get, then arguably the really hard work starts.

You need to edit and select the best of those images with which to showcase and tell the entire story. Flick through magazines and you will see that generally, a photo essay is anywhere between  6-10 photos maximum. You need to be ruthless in your culling and only feature photos that contribute to the overall story.

Try to detach yourself and think like a photo editor, not a photographer. The end result should be a collection of photos that are strong enough individually but also work as a collective.

Lightroom browser of images - Documentary Photos

Conclusion

Well done documentary photos can be mesmerizing to view and they tell an incredibly powerful story. It could be argued that they are often more powerful than the words that go along with them. Even the simplest stories can be phenomenal in a series of photos.

But capturing a set of photos that are different and yet can work together as a series and also tell a story is incredibly difficult. Follow these six simple tips and you will be on your way to capturing amazing documentary photos.

Now it’s your turn. Share your amazing documentary photos below.

The post 6 Tips To Help You Improve Your Documentary Photos appeared first on Digital Photography School.

5 Camera Bags That Every Travel Photographer Needs At Some Point

One of the great things about being a travel photographer is that you are almost always working outside. Sometimes this might be in a city and sometimes in the wilderness. Either way, one of the main attributes you will need is to be organized. This involves everything from research and planning, to your shot list and efficiency. It also includes being organized with your equipment and what you will need on a day to day basis.

There is a fine balance between carrying too much unnecessary equipment and what you actually will need. A vital part of carrying your equipment is choosing the right bag for the scenario you are going to be photographing. Not only are camera bags important in keeping your equipment safe and dry, but a good bag will also make it easier to carry equipment.

Especially when you will potentially be walking around all day. There are so many bags to choose from, so here are the five types of bags that you may need at some point.

person on a cliff overlooking the water - 5 Camera Bags That Every Travel Photographer Needs At Some Point

#1 – Day Bag

A day bag is usually the first bag that most people would purchase. It will also be the bag that gets the most usage. So it’s vital that you take into account the different options available to fit your needs. Before you rush out and buy one, consider the following factors:

day bag for camera gear - 5 Camera Bags That Every Travel Photographer Needs At Some Point

  • Size – What will you generally be carrying day to day? Most travel photographers will carry a telephoto lens and possibly a couple of smaller lenses. You may also carry a flash as well as memory cards, batteries and possibly a second camera.
  • Tripod – The first day bag that I ever purchased, didn’t have a way to attach and carry my tripod. I quickly realized how frustrating and tiring that was. Carrying a tripod means you are constantly having to put it down every time you want to take a photo. So when fleeting moments arrive you are not ready to snap away.
  • Non-photography space – Another big consideration when purchasing a day bag is how much additional space you will have to carry non-photographic items. For example, can you carry a bottle of water? Or a rain jacket? Is there somewhere safe and hidden away that you can keep your keys, mobile phone or even cash?
  • Accessibility – Would you really want to take everything out of your bag to get to those plasters right at the bottom? How quickly and easily you can access the various compartments of your bag is very important. For example, some bags will allow you to get your camera out from a side zipper without having to open the whole thing up.
  • Comfort – As a travel photographer you will often be out walking for hours. Being able to carry your equipment comfortably can mean the difference between going back to the hotel because you’re uncomfortable and in pain or carrying on.
  • Airline carry-on – Another consideration is whether your bag complies with the carry-on regulations of airlines. I always carry my camera equipment on the plane (I put my tripod in my suitcase) rather than check it in so have to make sure that my bag isn’t too big.

All of these are factors that need to be considered before purchasing a day bag. It’s taken me a few attempts to find the perfect day bag but my choice is the Lowepro ProTactic 450 camera bag.

It has plenty of storage for two cameras as well as a couple of other lenses and things like memory cards and batteries. It has a top zip, as shown below, that makes it easy to access my camera without needing to open the whole bag. I can also carry a large tripod attached to the bag as well.

5 Camera Bags That Every Travel Photographer Needs - Lowepro ProTactic 450 AW Camera Backpack

#2 – Hiking Bag

While a day bag is great for everyday use, sometimes it’s simply not big enough. For those photographers who like to hike or camp overnight, then a day bag won’t be able to hold all of your camera equipment and additional things needed like a tent, food, and water.

So the next bag up from a day bag is a hiking bag. But again it’s important to consider the factors below before purchasing your hiking bag.

5 Camera Bags That Every Travel Photographer Needs - man sitting on a rock by the ocean

  • Size – The first criteria for your hiking bag is the size that you will need. This will come down to what you are planning to photograph and the duration of your hike/trek. For example, if you are planning to camp overnight you will need space for a tent and sleeping bag. But if your hikes are one day ones then you could get away with something smaller. Factor in all the items you will need such as spare clothes, a first aid kit and even cooking utensils as well as your camera gear. Then find a bag to fit what you will be carrying.
  • Water reservoir – This might seem like a trivial point when considering a bag, but being able to have a drink without having to take your bag off is incredibly useful. So one thing that I would always recommend is buying a bag that either comes with a water reservoir or one that you can fit one into. You don’t want to have to constantly stop and take your bag off every time you want to have a drink.
  • Waterproof – Most outdoor bags these days will be somewhat shower proof, but some bags also come with a rain cover that you can place over the bag. These sometimes sit under the bag and can easily be accessed when you need them.
  • Adjustable – On any long walk or hike, comfort is vital. So look for a bag that allows you to be able to adjust the straps to fit your posture. The best thing to do is to try out your given bag for a few hours with your equipment locally before setting out on your trip.

My personal choice for a hiking bag is the Lowepro Pro Trekker 650 AW camera backpack. As I rarely camp overnight, this bag is big enough to carry my camera equipment and any additional daily items. There is also a side pocket for a water reservoir (not included) and you can strap a large tripod to it as well.

#3 – Sling Bag

There are times that even a day bag is too big and cumbersome to carry around. Sometimes all you need is a small bag to carry your camera and a few additional accessories. Sling bags are useful for this purpose and also because you can get things in and out without having to take your bag off.

There may also be occasions (i.e. in busy events) where you can keep your bag in front of you thus making it less inviting to pickpockets and thieves. You won’t be able to carry a lot of equipment or strap your tripod to it, but a good sling bag should still have plenty of room for what you need.

I pack my sling bag into my suitcase (it folds flat) and will use it on occasions when I don’t need to take a lot of equipment. For example, some museums or viewing platforms don’t allow backpacks whereas you’ll be okay with a sling bag.

My sling bag of choice is an older version of the Lowepro Passport Sling III camera bag. It’s surprisingly spacious for its size and I can fit my DSLR as well as a wide-angle lens and a telephoto lens inside. It also has space for memory cards and batteries as well as outside pockets which are useful for things like a water bottle.

sling bag - travel photographers camera bags

#4 – Toploader

These small camera bags are only big enough for one camera and one lens (if you want it for a telephoto lens make sure you purchase the bigger size). The real benefit of these bags are that you can keep your camera on your hip for easy access. So rather than having to take your bag off to pack or unpack your camera you can simply place in this bag as and when you need to.

I find that this is especially beneficial on long hikes or treks when I sometimes may not take a photo for long periods of time but I still have it on hand when a moment presents itself.

The less obvious benefit of these bags, which I realized recently, is when traveling by air. Airlines can be very picky about the weight of your checked-in luggage. So if you find that you are over the limit you can place some items from your luggage into this bag and take it onboard. For example, on a recent trip I was able to place the head from my tripod and few other small but heavy items into this bag and avoid paying the excess weight charge.

I take my Lowepro Toploader Pro 70 AW II camera case with me on every trip. If I can, I pack it in my suitcase and use it where necessary. If my suitcase is full, I put my camera in it and carry it onto the plane in addition to my day bag.

Lowepro Toploader bag - travel photographers camera bags

#5 – Hard Case

Another option to consider for traveling are hard cases. These are suitcases which are made of a tough material which is waterproof and dustproof. They are especially designed for transporting camera equipment.

The benefit of these cases is that your equipment will be safe inside from damage. But they are generally only useful for transportation rather than day to day use. Some of the latest models are designed with a camera backpack inside which allows you to wear it like a traditional day bag. But having tested one a while ago, they are not as comfortable as the traditional day bags.

Personally I have never found a need for one to date as I carry all my equipment in my backpack. But if you are going to be traveling to harsh conditions or face the likelihood of your equipment getting wet than it would be worth investing in a hard case.

Summary

Camera bags might not be the first accessory that comes to mind when building your photography equipment inventory, but they are incredibly important. Not only will they keep your equipment safe, but they might stop you from being uncomfortable or even in pain because of the weight you are carrying.

The important thing is to not rush out and buy all of the above at once. Over the years as the need arises, you can invest in a new bag. So, think carefully about what you need and do some research into the different types of bags available.

What camera bags do you have or find useful? Please share your recommendations below.

The post 5 Camera Bags That Every Travel Photographer Needs At Some Point appeared first on Digital Photography School.

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