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01 Aug 2017

Technology is wonderful, and you know it’s true. Not only has it changed the way we travel, but it has also changed the way we document our travels! Back in the day it was scrap books with printed out photos or polaroids. Now you can store your photos on online photography sites, the Cloud, on Facebook and more. But for die-hard photographers, the choice between packing a DSLR or iPhone is still pressing. And if you choose to travel with both, the question is, is there an insurance policy that will cover your equipment? Well, we did the research! Read on to see the pros and cons of both, tips and tricks to get you snapping like a pro and ways to preserve those precious pics!

Smart phone vs SLR

Whether you’re a full-fledged professional photographer or an amateur, the SLR camera is a thing of beauty. Not as old school as the name implies, modern SLR cameras can be digital as well as manual. Of course, they’re not cheap! But if photography is your passion, then they’re a great investment. However, with the new iPhone, you can take SLR-like photos without having to travel with the heavy equipment and therefore, with lighter baggage too. With the iPhone, you’re not so much creating pictures as you would with an SLR than seeing them. When you travel with less gear you’ve got more time to spare because you don’t need to set anything up with your iPhone, you just point and snap. Taking great pictures has never been easier.

IPhone and smartphone photography shows you exactly what you’re going to get. You don’t need mad technical skills; you simply rely on your eye! Using phones for photography is a great way to work your “seeing” muscles. The beauty is that the more you look, the more you actually see. With your camera phone on you at all times, you’ll look at things differently and perhaps you’ll take photos that you normally wouldn’t consider. Incredible visual treats are everywhere when you travel, and easier to capture than ever with your mobile.

Selfies: The new icebreaker

One of the best things about taking photos abroad with your smartphone is how unostentatious it is. You’re not walking around Paris with a bulky camera around your neck; it’s simply in your pocket. Smartphone cameras are so discreet, you can take photos without anyone being the wiser - it simply looks like you’re checking your email or reading the news.

As for taking photos of people with permission, it can always be a little tricky when you’re asking with a classic SLR. With smartphones and the rise of the “selfie”, now you can walk up to natives and ask to take a picture WITH them! What an incredible way to document your travels and your experiences with the people of a foreign land without the barrier of being the so-called rich foreign tourist. The smartphone camera has helped you to create a memorable moment, rather than getting in the way of one, and the process could potentially lead to a true friendship to boot! Your smartphone or iPhone camera is a passport to meeting people and could help you have life-changing experiences that aren’t possible with a big, bulky camera.

Take great pics with apps

While it’s never been easier to take a great picture with smartphones and iPhones, a lot of the credit needs to go to the apps that make this happen. For instance, Pro HDR is excellent for landscapes, creating unbelievable skies with the richest detail imaginable. If you want to take pix like the pros, then you need this app!

Adobe doesn’t disappoint either, and you can get both Photoshop and Lightroom on your phones. The effects are limitless, but the main advantage is the ability to edit your photos instantly. With the right combination of apps, you’ve got the best editing room in the business in your pocket.

Other apps worth checking out are:

1. Snapseed

2. Filterstorm

3. PhotoForge2

Each are a pleasure to use, with interfaces perfectly suited to the iPhone screen. With other apps, the tiny buttons make them harder to use.

There are a few cons…

…and that’s inevitable! The main cons with using smartphone and iPhone cameras over digital SLRs are:

1. Those wondrous apps tend to drink the battery juice quickly.

Your mobile is basically a mini computer so it’s not surprising that battery life is tricky. That said, you don’t want to be thinking about charging it while you’re out exploring. Packing an extra charged battery is an option, and there are plenty of charge-as-you-go options that you can purchase such as the battery case, an iPhone case with a battery included, that recharges the phone from flat to about 80 percent pretty much doubling the battery life of the phone.

Turning on airplane mode helps too, but this also turns off all the Wi-Fi so you can’t make or receive calls, which isn’t ideal if you’re travelling with friends and you want to stay in touch while you’re out doing your thing.

2. Slow to Focus

The iPhone is slow to focus compared to a DSLR, making it slower to shoot. You’re not in some mad rush when you’re travelling abroad, but sometimes you want to be able to capture a scene quickly. It can get a little frustrating so you should think about pre-focusing the camera while you sit and wait for the perfect scene. The only downside of that is that it can be rather tedious if you’ve got a travel partner!

3. Low Quality Zoom

The iPhone has a zoom, but you won’t get a quality picture if you use it. It’s a "digital zoom," so it works like cropping a picture on the computer, and then enlarging the remainder of the image - not ideal. If you want to make the most of your mobile camera, you have to zoom with your feet. Get moving!

4. Lighting

IPhone and smartphone cameras give great quality pictures in bright light, putting up a good fight against DSLRs, but when the light drops that’s when you’ll see the advantages of travelling with a DSLR. Speckle and blurry pictures are par for the course, but there are apps such as NightCap that can help you in the lighting department.

Storage

Now that you’ve taken all of these great photos, what do you with them? Gone are the days of the physical photo albumand thank heavens! All of those sticky pages and terribly designed covers - we don’t miss them at all! Lucky for you have plenty of options when it comes to storage. Some you’ll already be very familiar with no doubt.

Facebook Photoalbum

On the go, you can easily upload your photos to your social media accounts. Facebook makes it easy allowing you to create specific albums, so you can separate your images into events and places.

Photobox

Photobox lets you create an actual book of the pics you’ve taken on holiday. You simply choose the ones you want to go in there, choose one to grace the cover, and pay a small fee. Voila, the modern photo album! And what a great way to reminisce with the family over and over again.

Flickr

Yes, you can do more than just use the photos already on Flickr, you can actually store your own. Flickr, not unlike Facebook, allows you to see your images, keeping your albums private or public. Then you can export them easily to print them into photobooks if you so desire.

Wordpress

One of the best ways to preserve your travel memories is through keeping a running blog while you’re travelling. Sure you might not have the time for written posts, but you can upload your images to your Wordpress to keep them safe until you’re ready to write up captions.

Cloud

iCloud and Google Drive are good places to store your photographs. Yes, hackers have been known to get in there, so make sure you keep your passwords secure.

Camera insurance

If you’re travelling with a DSLR, have you stopped to think about how much it and the rest of your equipment is worth? What would you do if it got damaged or stolen? Before you start your travels you should seriously consider travel insurance that can cover your gear.

Insuring your equipment is important if you’re an avid photographer and your regular contents insurance may or may not cover your gear, so it’s vital that you understand the level of protection you have in case you need to make a claim.

Depending on the specifics of your current policy, you may be covered for accidental damage, loss and/or theft. You might even have some level of protection abroad if you’re travelling with the equipment but be sure to check in advance. If your home contents policy requires you to name individual items over a certain price, keep your policy up-to-date with all your latest purchases.

The Choice is Yours

Travelling abroad is a life changing experience, and capturing memories is an important part of the journey. Taking photos with your smartphone will give you better interactions with locals, helping you create better memories and experiences. You can always pack your DSLR too! Whatever you choose to travel with, make sure you’re covered with the right insurance. We can help you get the perfect policy that will cover you, your health, and your baggage- including your precious camera, even if it is a smartphone or iPhone. Get in touch with us today to see how we can cover you on your travels, so you can spend less time worrying, and more time pointing and shooting!