We are very lucky to have Roy Riley, a Professional Photographer and Videographer with nearly 20 years in the industry, working with us at Inspired Camping. He has generously given some of his precious time to help us all develop our photography skills for when we go away.
Roy works on all kinds of projects from lifestyle shoots to around the world yacht races and PR campaigns. He is also a lover of the outdoors with a passion for surfing. You could say he is equally at home in a wet suit as he is in a suit.
Roy has put together the following advice for the casual snapper when they go camping armed with a camera phone or digital camera, and gives a few tips and tricks to help capture some great moments that you can keep re-visiting to inspire you for your next cool camping trip.
So you are all loaded up ready to go away and your car… camper van… caravan… backpack… camel is packed to the hilt. Who knows what wonders you might witness on your next camping trip, so it seems a shame not to capture at least some of them as permanent reminders of your golden days away.
Organisation is the key to happy camping and good photography. Make sure you have a nice little bag to keep all your photography gear in. You can then tuck it somewhere nice and safe and know exactly where it is when the beautiful sunrise wakes you up on the first morning. Store your spare batteries, charger and memory cards in here too and you will be all ready to go.
Shoot The Light
This is my photography mantra… “shoot the light”. I say it to everyone and repeat it to myself all the time as it’s the key to good photography. If the light is good then the pictures will generally be more than ok.
Make full use of the best light around sunrise and sunset to capture your images. You will find that everything looks great when the light is good, even your rumpled awning and the remnants of last nights meaty feast.
This is my photography mantra… “shoot the light”. I say it to everyone and repeat it to myself all the time as it’s the key to good photography.
I came up with this idea a few years ago when I got my iphone. I instantly loved the simplicity of the camera and eventually accepted that the picture quality was not great but it was always in your pocket and could easily be used to capture random thoughts and moments throughout the day. This can easily apply to any kind of pocket camera but seems to suit the camera phone perfectly.
Shoot pictures of everything. From close up details, shadows and colour to informal group shots or abstracts. Nothing is off limits. When you get home, bundle all the images together and get some little prints made. Get yourself a nice bottle of red wine, Some PVA and a scalpel. Don’t be shy. Chop ‘em out and stick ‘em randomly onto a piece of card. Frame it and you have the very best visual diary. The best keep sake of a trip away that you can ever imagine, and perfect for presents too.
The Souvenir Picture
I used to travel lots, I loved the idea of picking up perfect souvenirs from each place I visited, but never seemed to find the right thing and could not stand the idea of tourist junk. So I used to content myself with the idea of capturing one image just for me from each place I visited. Keep this in mind. Totally bi polar to the visual diary this is a contemplation on the singular image. Just look for that one shot that will remind you forever of the journey travelled. Images are much lighter than golden statues of the Dalai Lama or those damn wooden giraffes that everyone else seems to have.
Practise with your camera, hold it in your hand lots, fiddle with the controls and take lots of pictures of anything. Feel comfortable with it and then when the moment to snap the most beautiful sunset is upon you, you might have half a chance of not getting your fingers in the lens or shaking the hell out of your pictures or just not working out how to turn the tricky little blighter on!
Turn the flash off. Mostly this will help you get better, more natural photographs. Only use direct flash if it’s really dark and you want to see everything in the shot. Like for example a picture of people around a dinner table. Turning the flash off for landscapes, portraits and sunsets etc will help you get better pictures.
Keep the camera steady. This is really important. Just hold the thing steady and watch your images improve.
Experiment. There are no rules. Do whatever you like. Its your choice so explore every angle. Stand on the table, lie on the ground, and twirl the thing around your head on your spare dog lead. Whatever. Enjoy taking pictures and don’t worry about getting it wrong.
The Boring Bit!
Take plenty of spare memory cards or free up enough space before you start your trip. Take your battery charger and take every opportunity to charge your batteries. As soon as you get back home copy all of your images into a folder on your computer called something like “CampPadstow010812” and then copy that folder onto another hard drive, cloud or a DVD. They say there are those who back up and those who say they will. Your images are too precious to lose and should be treated like pure gold and fairy dust.
I’m always being asked what photography gear I personally use and can recommend, so here are some suggestions:
- The obvious iphone and ipad. Perfect camping photography companions. With the right apps such as CameraBag, Snapseed, Photoshop Express, Halftone and Splice For Video you can edit your images at the end of the day and share them with the world. However if you are going to take your precious gadgets away I would definitely recommend investing in an Otterbox Defender or Griffin Survivor.
- The Power Monkey range is a good way to keep your mobile device powered up on the road too. There are options for pretty much everyone including a portable solar solution.
- For digital memory I generally use Sandisk Extreme Pro cards. They are among the most expensive on the market but are very fast and work really well. These cards will last for years.
- The Olympus Tough compact digital camera range makes most other cameras look like dinosaurs. They are waterproof and shockproof and perfect for life under the stars… especially if you have kids.
- Look for film cameras on Ebay. You can pick up a really nice old manual SLR with a couple of lenses for less than fifty quid. Chuck a few rolls of film through that baby and you have yourself some retro prints in an envelope heaven.
- For bags I can recommend the Think Tank range at Snapper Stuff.
- Finally, if you are thinking of doing some videography I would definitely recommend the HD Hero. With this little treasure you really can get into any situation and record it for all to see. It’s easy to use and you don’t have to be a professional to get some amazing memories to share on YouTube. Just watch this… now That’s What I’m talking about!
Photo Credits: Roy Riley