Simple things photographers can do when traveling that solve problems from ever starting

by Douglas Hoffman on August 13, 2021

Regardless of what kind of camera, size of memory, speed of lens, people want to remember and share their experiences. Photography is the best way to do that. However, with all the last minute things that happen on the day of travel that sometimes problems arise.

Here are some travel tips for photographers. These tips are based on leading tours and workshops for 15 years. While I made some mistakes over my career many of the lessons learned have come from clients coming to Hawaii or an international destination and forgot something critical.

  1. Make a list of camera items that will be taken on trip. Be specific and identify each item by brand, item, and serial number. In the event you get robbed, or lose your bag, you have a list for insurance and the authorities. When traveling internationally, the list will make the customs forms easier to process.
  2. a list not only tells you what to pack, but allows you to double check that you in fact packed whats on the list. I can’t tell you the number of clients that forgot to pack the camera battery, charger, tripod mount, or filters.
  3. If serious about taking pictures on vacation, you might want to travel with a tripod and set of neutral density filters. Light changes and filters allow you to manage light so you can create quality images any time of day.
  4. Slippery rocks, sand, and uneven ground are common. Balance issues and falling, can be avoided by wearing appropriate footwear.
  5. Be aware of local conditions. In Hawaii, the tide changes twice a day. A low tide will allow access to locations that most often are underwater. The opposite is true as well. A high tide will will prohibit access from certain locations. Don’t get caught unaware.
  6. Create pictures from a different perspective. The majority of people taking pictures simply lean forward a bit and take an image from chest level. When you create an image from a lower or higher perspective you will increase interest as it’s different from everyone else’s.
  7. Try not to change a lens on the the beach, or on a boat. Wind happens and sand or dust could find its way inside the camera. Or even worse you could drop something.
  8. Bring a few lens clothes and some cleaner to keep lenses clean.
  9. Stay hydrated. Hawaii, is paradise but its hot and humid. Stay fresh!
  10. Always bring a back up battery, media card, suns screen, wind jacket, and a hat.
  11. Plan for traffic. If you want to make pictures at sunset or sunrise be sure to allow for drive and set up time.
  12. Patience – most of the people you encounter are not serious photographers and completely unaware they are walking into your frame, standing in front of you, or otherwise blocking you. So, If you go to Haleakala, Hana, Iao valley, Hookipa, and other places crowds of people go remember – be patient. Get there early and set up your camera on a tripod and stake out your spot. That said, people will come and fill in around and in front of you.
  13. When going on a whale watch boat arrive early and pick 2-3 spots that will be good to shoot from and as you board the boat, and claim one of them. Try to find a space when’re nobody can wiggle in front of you but be advised as soon as whales are sighted everyone on the boat moves, and kids make their way forward to get a better view.
  14. When shooting whales from a boat try not to hold on to the boat and if possible set your camera to 1/500th or 1/1000th of a second as this will help keep images crisp and in focus.
  15. Remember if traveling with your family to limit your camera time so you can create life long family memories. Schedule time for yourself at sunrise while they are sleeping.