Heading off for a travel adventure in 2024? If you’re keen to capture some amazing images of your trip, then you may be wondering whether to invest in an expensive camera or rely on the camera on your smartphone.
Weighing this up can be tricky, but luckily, we’ve got all the information you need to make a decision.
When Traveling with an Expensive Camera is a Good Idea
In most cases, traveling with an expensive camera is an unnecessary risk. However, if you’re planning on capturing images for professional purposes – perhaps for an online travel magazine – and already own an expensive camera, then taking it with you may not be such a bad idea.
Further, if you’d like to have the photos blown up and printed out when you get home to frame, a high-resolution camera may be the best tool for the job.
If you are going to be taking a pricey camera on your travels, then insurance is a must. But this doesn’t have to be a hassle. Remember that renters insurance covers your camera for theft and other ‘named perils’ even when you are away from home, meaning that getting your camera covered could be as easy as making a quick call to your current insurance provider.
Traveling with an Expensive Camera: Pro Tips
If you’ve got a pricey camera and a lot of gear to go with it, take a leaf from a professional photographer’s book and consider sending your equipment ahead. Pros often send their cases of photography and audio gear ahead of them, using a trusted courier service that allows them to track where their stuff is every step of the way.
If your camera equipment takes up more than a backpack’s worth of space, sending it ahead to your accommodation could be much more convenient than schlepping it through the airport. Don’t forget to let your hotel know to expect it, and when.
And if you’ll be traveling by car? Bear in mind that trunks can get very hot, which can cause damage to delicate equipment like sensors. Keeping your camera out of the trunk is recommended.
The Risks of Traveling with an Expensive Camera
There are three main risks to taking an expensive camera on vacation with you: one, it could be stolen; two, it could get damaged; and three, it could get lost. None of these eventualities make for a stress-free trip.
The cameras on most smartphones are now so advanced that they can take photos that are comparable with even pricey cameras, while simply paying attention to things like lighting and composition can help raise your photography game. Before splashing out on an expensive camera, it’s worth thinking about what’s actually undermining the quality of your photos. It could be the case that it’s fixable without the need to spend a cent.
How to Capture Great Photos with Your Phone Camera
If you decide to leave the pricey camera at home, there are plenty of tips you can use to capture beautiful, striking images with your phone’s camera. Before you head off on your travels, take some time to actually get familiar with all the features offered by your phone’s camera. You may be surprised at how many tools are available. Check out how to manage the focus and exposure, the filters, and other basics.
Once you’ve mastered your phone camera’s capabilities, use these hacks to get the best images possible:
- Use the burst setting to capture moving subjects – and later choose the best of the images.
- Most smartphone cameras will capture the best photos in natural light.
- Use HDR (high dynamic range) for clearer details and a more balanced exposure.
- Deploy the rules of thirds: visualize the screen as split into a three-by-three grid. Getting the most interesting parts of the picture near the corners of the segments, where the gridlines meet, allows the eye to flow around the picture.
- Alternatively, if you want a crisp and clean vibe, place subjects symmetrically within the screen’s frame.
- Rest the phone on a flat surface if taking pictures in dim lighting to reduce blurring.
You may also wish to explore the apps available that can help you edit your photos for the best effect. And, of course, practice makes perfect!
Traveling with an Expensive Camera: The Takeaway
Whether or not to take an expensive camera on your travels is, ultimately, a personal choice, but it’s important to weigh up the pros and cons of each option. If you’re not seeking to get into a photography career or side hustle, you may well be able to use your smartphone camera to capture high-quality, frameable images that you’ll be proud of. Use the tips above to uplevel your photography skills and prepare to get some photos that are as vibrant as your travel memories.