Professional photographers shoot in all sorts of conditions. Rain, snow, hail, dust storms, and the rest of the gamut are all on the table. Thus, learning how to protect your equipment is a vital task.
While it is fairly obvious that purchasing a travel case for camera equipment is a wise investment when heading out to capture destinations around the country and across the world, figuring out ways to protect your gear while in the field is a whole different animal. That said, even local wedding photographers need to know how to safeguard their equipment if it suddenly starts pouring rain.
To help amateur and seasoned photographers alike ensure the safety of their equipment while shooting in less-than-ideal weather conditions, we have assembled five ways to protect your gear while working from anywhere.
Without further ado, let’s get started.
1. Invest in a Waterproof Case
Ask any seasoned photographer and they will tell you that storms can sneak up on you rather quickly. While things might look fine at the beginning of the day, you can find yourself in the middle of a storm before you know what is happening.
For this reason, investing in a waterproof case for all of your camera gear is one of the best ways to protect your equipment. It’s also important to have a laptop hard case to protect your laptop and any information saved on its hard drive. While it is good for your case to be waterproof, this should just be a baseline. When researching your options, you should also look for ones that feature additional protective elements, such as internal padding, a crushproof exterior, and similar components.
2. Buy or Make a Rain Cover
Rain is the natural enemy of electronics and cameras are no exception. Unless a camera is specifically designed for underwater use, rain can cause irreparable damage.
Therefore, it is wise to purchase a rain cover for your camera. There is a multitude of them on the market and they come in different shapes, sizes, price points, and materials.
However, if you are not willing or able to buy a rain cover, you can also make a quick DIY rain cover using a bag, shower cap, or similar item and a bit of tape.
3. Heed the Heat
Rain is not the only element that is adversarial toward electronics, as heat is just as nasty.
While many of today’s cameras are built for extreme weather, heat is still a considerable problem. The reason for this is that, whatever the temperature is outside, the internals of your camera is likely to be even hotter. Prolonged exposure to extreme heat can permanently damage camera components such as lenses, image sensors, and other sensitive elements. Thus, establishing strategies for protecting your camera in the heat is vital to maintaining your equipment.
Fortunately, there are a variety of ways for you to mitigate the dangers heat possesses to your camera gear. First off, gel packs are a simple and affordable way for you to lower the temperature of your camera. These only cost a few bucks apiece and can be placed in the freezer to freeze and then placed into your camera bag to keep the temperature low. Alternatively, ice packs for lunch boxes can serve a similar purpose. However, these are not as good of an option as a soft gel pack.
At the same time, you might opt to purchase a white camera bag or paint your existing one white as this will help to reflect sunlight and keep the internal temps down. In fact, many larger camera lenses are painted white by the manufacturer for this exact reason.
Another idea is to use multiple camera bodies, switching them out periodically so that neither of them gets too hot. However, this may not be a financially feasible option for some folks.
Finally, while it might be the most cumbersome option of the bunch, you can also bring along an umbrella to keep direct sunlight off your camera.
4. Protect Lenses When Swapping Them Out
Whenever you do a lens change, dust threatens to make its way into your camera and under the lens. This is particularly true if the wind is blowing rather hard.
Lots of photographers have different ways of protecting their cameras from dust, dirt, and rain while changing lenses in the field. However, one of the easiest is to simply change lenses beneath a jacket.
This is an old-school trick that doesn’t require any fancy gear or new purchases but still works quite effectively.
Additionally, you could also get out of the wind entirely. Ducking into a building, inside a car, or even just hiding behind a tree will be more helpful than being out in the open.
5. Invest in Insurance
If you are going to take your camera into a myriad of environments, many of which can be harsh on your gear, the best way to protect it is to invest in an accident protection plan, product warranty, or another form of insurance.
Guarding Your Gear in the Field
While Mother Nature can be cruel to electronics like cameras and laptops, there are a variety of steps you can take to protect your equipment, no matter where you are shooting.
Try out the tactics listed above and you are likely to find a mix that works well for you and your gear.