Top tips to help protect your photography gear
Bad weather can often make for more interesting images, so protecting your photographic equipment is critical when braving the elements. Whilst most high-end cameras are weather sealed, they will not withstand prolonged exposure to rain, snow or intense humidity. Moist conditions are your camera's number one enemy.
So additional cover is important, and this starts with a great bag. Here's our top tips to protect your photography gear in all conditions.
Make sure your camera bag is waterproof, or use a rain cover
When choosing a waterproof camera bag, you'll probably make your decision based on three criteria – practicality, capacity and its aesthetic appeal. Whether you want your bag to turn heads, or always offer up a hidden compartment for another piece of gear, you'll ultimately judge your bag on performance (how dry it keeps your kit). There's a huge range of bags to choose from – so something to suit every budget. If you can't afford a good camera bag, then any sort of effective rain cover will do.
Upgrade your strap
Your bag is only as good as the strap that it hangs from. And different straps will appeal to different types of photographers. Manufacturers such as Black Rapid and Peak Design make camera straps that do the job and look great in the process. There's some fairly impressive tech that goes into these straps considering that they might have to hold as much as 200 pounds in weight!
Put an ultra-absorbent microfiber wipe at the front of the lens and the sides of the camera if they get wet
This will save your equipment from that scourge of camera gear – oily hands. There's nothing worse than a smudgy lens ruining all your pictures. Use the microfiber cloth in concentric circles working out from the centre of the lens. The microfiber will become a staple of a larger lens cleaning kit which you can use carefully and methodically after each shoot. There's a multitude of lens cleaning accessories out there - it's rather overwhelming for photographers so read the specs and reviews carefully to work out what you want.
Cover your camera equipment from wet weather AND intense heat
An umbrella or parasol is an excellent way to keep the rain or sun off your back and photo gear. Duct tape is your friend here, too — we have used it to secure an umbrella to a monopod on at least one occasion. The monopod is a great friend to a wildlife or landscape photographer, providing accuracy and stability, and a bit of improvisation allows you to use it in wet conditions. Wind can be the enemy of a photographer. On a windy day why not anchor your gear using sandbags, or simply hang your camera bag from the tripod to provide extra resistance.
Fight condensation with a plastic bag
There's nothing worse for creating liquid on your camera equipment than constantly having to transition between indoors and outdoors. Put the camera in a baggie before you go inside and leave it in there until it gets to room temperature before you take it out. You can also use silica gel pouches which come in a bag to help dry out your kit.
Use a UV filter
While a UV filter may not be necessary with today's high-tech cameras, they are a great hack to provide quick protection to your camera as they create a barrier against smears, scratches, dust and grime. They may even prevent damage to the lens in the event of dropping the camera, though this depends on how hard the impact is. If you don't have, or don't want to buy a UV filter then always carry a spare lens cap as this will do the business.
A good photography insurance policy will cover you for theft, accidental damage, in vehicle and worldwide protection (exclusions may apply). Check that you are happy with the excess and consider optional extras as you build a policy that suits your needs, whether you're an amateur or a professional photographer.