If you’re constantly disappointed by your travel photos and looking to up your game by purchasing a DSLR or some other high-priced equipment, you should stop first to consider your skill level. If you spend a thousand dollars on a camera and only shoot on automatic mode with the flash on, you’re not getting your money’s worth. DSLRs can create impressive, beautiful images, but only if you know how to use them. Here’s everything you should consider before committing to an expensive camera for travel.
What to Consider Before Buying an Expensive Camera for Travel
Where Are the Photos Going?
These days, our travel memories hardly ever leave the digital world. If the main place you put your photos is on social media, you really don’t need a high-tech camera. At a certain point, megapixels and sensor size stop mattering when your photos are only ever going to be viewed on a small screen.
However, it’s a completely different story if you plan on actually printing out your photos. If you want to make large prints for memory books or decorate your home with your own photographs, a camera with higher-resolution capabilities can help you get the best image possible.
Have You Ever Used an Expensive Camera Before?
Making the financial plunge into the world of expensive cameras can be pretty scary, especially if you have never actually used one or are unfamiliar with basic camera settings. A good way to start is by playing around with the “pro” settings on your phone or point-and-shoot camera. You can also ask a friend with a DSLR to show you the basics so you can test it out before buying.
Are You Committed to Learning?
When you buy a camera for travel, you don’t have to read the whole manual, but you should do your research and commit to learning how to use it. There are plenty of online tutorials that can help you get a handle on the camera’s basic functions. If you’re planning on bringing the camera on a trip, take the time to practice using it before you go, so you know what you’re doing when you arrive.
Your Phone Is Actually Pretty Powerful
Mobile photography has come a long way, and you’d be surprised how powerful the camera on your phone really is. New features like Portrait Mode on the iPhone 7 Plus can create stunning images with a camera that’s not only ultra-portable, but also the one you’re most likely to always have with you.
Maybe It’s Not Your Camera
Before you spend a lot of money on a new camera for travel, think about what it is you don’t like about the photos you’re taking now. Is it the depth or the quality, or do you just think they look “unprofessional”? It might be your fault, not your camera’s. If you’re rushing through every photo without thinking about light and composition, your pictures will reflect that.
Consider taking a photography class or photo walking tour to get tips from a professional that you can bring with you on your next trip.
More from SmarterTravel:
- 10 Camera Accessories That Will Make You a Better Travel Photographer
- How to Make a Great Travel Video (Without Any Previous Experience)
- How Instagram is Changing Travel
Jamie Ditaranto is a travel and photography lover and learning to cope with these very expensive passions. Follow her adventures and photography on Instagram @jamieditaranto.