Travel Photography hacks

What you brought, is the best you got.

When I travel is usually on business, space is limited, time is short, so what do you when you are at this amazing photo location, and a much needed tripod is left at home, or in situations where there just is too much light, and you need a strong ND filter. I guess many of these tricks is well known, they generally cost less than 10$ and you can throw it away afterward. Here is a list of either ideas I have tried myself or ideas I collected from friends and colleagues.


  • No reflector
    • Go for Foam Boards, perfect for bouncing light into shadows. This is your cheap reflector, which you can find in most handy stores.
    • Emergency Ready Thermal Mylar Blankets; they have a silver and gold side. Just what we need.


  • No Tripod
    • When you want to photograph a subject without a flash in low ambient light; such as when you are indoors in a museum, during dusk or early morning hours; your camera chooses a long shutter speed say 1/8, 1/4, 1/2 of a second, or longer. You need to stabilize the camera. The slightest movement you make during the exposure will actually cause softness in the image. In low lighting, even the act of pressing the shutter button itself can cause camera shake. I usually buy a bag of rice. Easily turned into a flexible base, on which you can place your camera easily and securely. Go for 1kg bags, good for the task and easy to carry.
    • The old string tripod trick, I have not personally used it but it looks effective. Make a triangle shape between the camera and your feet. Cut the cord or string to about three times your height. Tie the ends together. Then, pass the string through the eye of your Manfrotto mounting plate. With your feet spread about shoulder-width apart, pull the camera up to put tension on the string and steady your camera. Although it is not ideal for very long exposure shots, is it a dirt-cheap accessory works well when you are in a low-light situation and need to crank up the ISO.


  • Not there in the early morning, fake it
    • Mist Spray Bottle, this is perfect to freshen flowers making your photos like the flows has cached the morning mist. Spider webs, you name it is handy and the effect is amazing. If you cannot find a cheap mist spray, then venture into the super market and buy a hair fixation spray.
    • So you didn’t get their first, no biggie. Take at least a dozen photos in your ideal spot (set your camera in manual to preserve the same settings, and with the camera stabilized), and remove the Pesky Tourists from Your Photos in Photoshop. The steps in Photoshop is: File > Scripts > Statistics. Select “Median” for the stack mode and check “Attempt to Automatically Align Source Images.” Finally, click the “Browse…” button to select your set of photos and hit OK.


  • Too much Sun
    • A piece of welding glass, takes about 10 stops of light, and is easy to find in most hardware stores. I use two large rubber bands to hold them between my camera and the lens.
    • Lens hood at home, no problem, go to Starbucks and grab a coffee cup sleeve, at the same time upload your photo’s to a secure place in the cloud, and throw away their coffee.



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