Here’s an all-too-familiar vacation nightmare: you’re ready to snap that perfect photograph—documenting the magic of a wonderful place or capturing a special family moment—but you can’t.
Some camera failures are unavoidable. But a little advance planning can stave off self-inflicted glitches.
Start by packing extra supplies—most importantly, backup batteries and memory cards. Different cameras may use different kinds of batteries, with some requiring proprietary batteries specific to that model. Have at least two. If using rechargeable batteries, make sure the backup battery is fully charged. Don’t forget to bring the charger.
If using disposable batteries, be aware that some types may work better than others. Digital cameras use power in short bursts, as opposed to how a battery is used by slower-draining devices such as a clock or radio. With batteries for short-burst devices, it may be worth it to spend more for a lithium or nickel-metal hybrid (known as Ni-MH) battery.
Don’t forget the memory cards
Be sure to carry spare memory cards. Memory cards come in different capacities (which affects the number of photos they can hold) and speeds (the speed with which the card can transfer data), with those having greater capacity and faster speed being more expensive.
The capacity and speed of the card you need will depend in part on how you use your camera. A casual photographer snapping a few pictures won’t need a top-of-the-line card. Those who plan to shoot pictures at a high rate of frames per second, or to film using the camera’s high-definition video function, could benefit from a card with a higher speed class and more capacity.
Taking high-resolution photos will fill up your card faster, but they will be more versatile in case you want to use a picture for a high-quality framed print, for example, or if you want to submit it for possible publication to a magazine like Kentucky Living.
Check your camera’s user manual for battery or memory card recommendations.
Photo kit essentials
It’s smart to bring along whatever connector cord or device you typically use to upload photos, either to a computer or for storage online, because uploading photos regularly can provide a backup, invaluable should the memory card become corrupted or lost. A small tripod can be a good idea—consider a folding, flexible model. Camera cleaning supplies (brush, lens cleaning solution, cleaning paper) can save the day, particularly when shooting outdoors in sandy or gritty conditions. Protect your camera with a padded case or pouch. In a pinch, use a zippered plastic storage bag to keep out dust and moisture.
Vacation photo checklist
• Extra memory cards
• Cleaning supplies
• Power cords/cables
• Camera bag