Lucky you! Planning the trip of a lifetime can be exciting. Especially if you're traveling abroad. I've compiled a list of things to consider before boarding your flight.
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1. PASSPORT? Well you won't get far without one... a passport that is. If you don't have one, you'll need to get on that pronto! At 60 Minutes Photo we offer professional passport photos while you wait. Usually within 5-10 minutes your passport photo is ready. CLICK HERE FOR PRICING. US passports are the most common, however we offer Canadian, Greek, Brazilian, Australian, Chinese, Haitian, Jamaican and UK passport services as well. Click here for US Passport Forms and specifications.
2. DIGITAL DEVICES! Word to the wise. You may want to steer clear of using your American communication device for capturing your memories. Lock up that iPhone or Android in case of emergency and go "old school" digital. We, the general American public are so ingrained with clicking and sharing on social media, that astronomical roaming charges may be incurred if you're not careful. My advice is to purchase a decent point and shoot compact digital like a Sony Cybershot. More advanced photographers might appreciate the Sony E-Mount series with interchangeable lenses, offering a compact lightweight body.
3. MEMORY CARDS. SD Cards are equivalent to film rolls of film. Conveniently more compact and inexpensive compared to antiquated photography methods. My advice is to carry as much "film" as you can afford, unless you have an effective way to download your images at the hotel when you're done for the day. Honestly I can think of a better way to spend my vacation than sitting at a hotel business center, uploading digital content to my cloud, when I could be dining at a riverfront cafe enjoying a glass of wine.
4. CAPTURING PERFECT SHOTS. If you're an amateur photographer and want the best shots possible, shooting early morning or just before sundown can produce some amazing effects. Avoid shooting at high noon in direct sun, as these shots tend to create harsh shadows and minimal depth. Use pre-set HDR metering on compact cameras if you are looking for more dramatic images. The downside to HDR is the length of time between taking your next photo. If you're shooting fast moving images and need to shoot multiple images, switch to "burst mode" for great results.
5. COMPOSITION. A technique that I like to keep in the back of my mind when shooting, is the "rule of thirds". Envision a Tic-Tac-Toe board as you look through your view finder. Aim to keep the main focal points towards the intersections and lines rather than in the center. Your photos will inevitably be more dynamic and interesting.
6. BATTERIES & CHARGING DEVICES. You'll need backup batteries, and plenty of them. Before you leave the US, be sure to have them fully charged. Leaving the hotel for a day excursion? Double check to make sure you bring along extra batteries and SD cards. Electrical systems may vary from the US, so be sure that you have appropriate plugs / adapters for foreign voltages / frequencies.