5 Travel Photography Mistakes That Could Prove Costly
By Kathy Wilson
If you were a born with the wanderlust star over your head, you would probably kill to find a job as a travel photographer. Not only do you get to travel, you also get paid to do what you love to do. But being a travel photographer is not all that glamorous a job – on the downside, it involves a lot of waiting, frustration, danger, and of course, living out of a suitcase for the better part of your life. There is no permanency or routine (although this is what some people love about this job), and you don’t know where your next assignment will take you.
That being said, travel photography is one job that most people would stand in a queue to secure, so if you’re lucky enough to be working as one, you want to make sure that you don’t make the below mistakes:
- Dress inappropriately: If you’re headed for the outback, you don’t need dress shoes or fancy clothing, and if your destination is Finland, you need enough warm clothing to prevent frostbite. If you’re going to shoot wildlife in Africa or in the jungles of the Amazon, you need clothing that camouflages you and lets you blend in with your surroundings. And if you’re traveling to a conservative country like those in the Middle East, some kinds of attire are not acceptable there if you’re a woman. Dressing appropriately so that you fit in with your surroundings leaves your mind free to focus on your job.
- Forget your travel documents: If you’re a frequent traveler, you probably know that documents are very important and that they must be in order if you want to avoid unnecessary hassles at airports and borders. If you’re new to the job or if you’re sloppy when packing, you’re going to find that travel photography is not your cup of tea, no matter how good a photographer you are.
- Carry too much luggage: It’s always advisable to travel light, and except for your equipment, which you must not compromise on, don’t carry too much luggage. Also, when packing, do not forget new airport restrictions and stricter security measures that are in place because of terrorist strikes and hijackings. Speaking of equipment, while it’s ok to carry all that you need to where you’re going, when you’re out on a shoot, especially one that requires you to go to inaccessible locations where roads and paths are practically nonexistent, it’s best to carry only what you absolutely need so that you don’t have to lug it all over rough and hostile terrain.
- Are not aware of your location: When you’re in a different country, especially one you don’t know well or never visited before, it’s important to seek the help of local guides who can take you to the best locations and provide you with access to locales that are off the beaten path. Also, it’s advisable to read up on local customs and culture and bring along a translation book so you’re able to converse in the vernacular with the citizens of that country. Not every nation in the world is full of English speakers, so be prepared to say at least a few important words and phrases in the local lingo.
- Forgo technology: You’ll need to upload your pictures and send them back to your base if you have a clock ticking on your assignment. So make sure that you have your laptop, mobile Internet connection, and all the other technology that you need to connect you to your office or company. Also, when going out on a shoot, ensure that you have enough memory and battery backup to last you for a while so that you don’t miss out on great photo ops.