As a follow up to my earlier post on how to prepare for your press trip, I thought it’d be a good idea to talk about photography tips to make sure that press trips goes as smoothly as possible. A lot of these 10 tips may be obvious but still it’s a great check list of things that I always keep in the back of my mind whether it’s preparing for a trip or when it’s “go go go!” chaos.
These are my list of 14 things you should think about when doing your photography on a press trip.
 Charge all your batteries the night before
You know what’s worse than having a bad hair day, it’s realizing you don’t have much juice left in your camera after a full day’s use the previous night. I’m not even joking when I say that the first thing you should do when you settle in at your hotel or wherever at night is to plug in your camera battery charger.
 Bring backup batteries
Sure you can have a full battery charge but if that one goes but what next? Running out of batteries suck. Plain and simple. If you’re out of juice that means you can’t take photos and no photos means no content for your blog.
Another brilliant idea is to bring one of those portable chargers like this Xiaomi portable battery pack.
 Create a shot list
You don’t have to go nuts with this but it helps to know where your trip is taking you and if there are any “money shots” you want to go for. I will usually do a simple Google images search of a city or landmark and either email myself those photos or save them to my phone. And if the press trip doesn’t take you to that exact location you’re wanting to shoot from, you can always ask and usually they’ll be able to accomodate.
 Take photos of signs to read later
This is an age old trick. Press trips are always rushed and the last thing you have time to do is read. Snap photos of those signs, plaques or even menus to read later because you sure as heck won’t remember the details later.
 Back up your images
I’m as paranoid as the come when it comes to losing images. For my phone photos I always sync up to Dropbox via my laptop or the app. For my actual camera, I have a nifty little device called a HyperDrive Colorspace which allows me to backup my SD and CF memory cards in this stand alone handheld device without the need for a computer or power supply. I usually do a full backup when one of my memory cards is full.
 Take a mix of horizontal and vertical photos
This is becoming more apparent than ever with the rise of Pinterest. Yes horizontal photos typically look the best on a blog but I noticed that my lack of vertical photos was making the creating of high quality pins difficult. So next time you’re out on a press trip, make sure you not only do great landscape photos but also capture a few portrait ones in between.
 Nothing wrong with shooting a lot
Having more is a better problem to have than not having enough. Sure it’ll take a bit more time to sift through all the photos but you’ll be kicking yourself afterwards when you put together your article to realize that the perfect photo you thought you snapped was photobombed by somebody in the background or
 Shoot with social in mind
This kind of goes with the idea of shooting more vertical photos but in general remember to take photos with your phone so you can instantly share on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. What I usually do is usually make sure I snap a few good photos with my phone before switching back to my camera.
 Take photos of you
Press trips should be more about you so start with those shameless selfies (selfie stick?) or better yet since a press trip is usually in a group, ask others to take a photo of you with your camera. You might not use it for your writing but it’s always nice to have something of you doing whatever it is you’re doing. I’ve definitely noticed over the years that it’s getting increasingly harder to find photos of me just because I’m always taking photos of other people. Plus if you keep #8 in mind, selfies kinda do well on social.
 Think wide and close
Sweeping landscapes are nice but everyone’s got those. it’s those detail shots that sometimes make for amazing photos. If you see something that catches your eye, zoom in or get close and you’ll capture something that nobody else
 Take photos of other people on the trip
Offering to take photos of others with your camera is a nice gesture and can go a long way. Firstly, you’d an awesome human being for doing so. Second, after you share the photo with them post-trip, there is a chance they might use it in their article and give you credit for it.
Having a good subject in your shot makes a difference as well. Just look at the photo above and see how Robert fills in the scene that much better because he’s in it.
 Remember to change the date and time
This probably annoys me the most when I come back home from a trip and realize I totally forgot to change the time on my camera. That means when I import the photos and catalog them in Lightroom, they get organized into the wrong date folders. Sure you can adjust the time after the fact but who wants to do that. Get it right and set a reminder on your phone to change the date and time when you’re waiting to board the plane.
 Clean the lens before you go
Have you ever gone through your trip photos only to realize there’s a piece of dust in ALL your photos? Don’t let that happen to you. Do yourself a favour and get a rocket blower and LensPen. I always go through my lenses beforehand to make sure they’re all clean and of course bring them with you so in case you’re in a super dusty area of you’re hit with something like a sandstorm.
 Bring more memory cards than you need
Just like how running of batteries suck, running out of memory is equally as sucky. Alternatively, clear your memory cards (after backing up of course) or swap to a fresh card the night before so you don’t have to fumble through switching memory cards during the day.
Shout out to Calculated Traveller for this post idea!
3 CommentsLeave a comment
Thanks so much for the shout out and for using my idea! I always shoot signs and shoot horizontal and vertical but I never thought to create a shot list (good one) AND I never selfie because I hate them – but I understand why I really should do them.
Great article! it’s nice to see all the prep broken down into steps, I’m usually rushing around trying to remember everything. Loving the Hyperdrive and Rocket blower.
Woot! Best of luck on that next press trip Asma 🙂 It’s all about preparation so you don’t feel like you’re scrambling when things get busy on the road.