Guest post by Lauren Sutton

When it comes to taking photographs on location, there are often a number of different things that you need to pack. Being outside of the studio means you will need to pack a kit containing everything you might need. The last thing you want is to arrive at your location and not have the necessary equipment to get the perfect shot.

Forward plan

Taking pictures of camelsOne of the easiest ways to ensure you don’t forget anything is to have a plan before you leave. Find out where the location will be if you are working with someone. If you are working alone, do as much research on the area as possible so you know what to expect. Build an itinerary, making sure you leave extra time for everything; if anything takes longer than expected, it won’t cause too many problems with the general running of the day.

Take the time to pack your kit carefully and bear in mind it’s usually better to take too much than not enough. The weather conditions that you face will influence what goes into your kit as different products will be needed depending on whether it’s very cold or very hot. Similarly, you’ll also need to prepare for wind and rain, as well as different light conditions. Check the weather forecast in the days running up to your trip to keep on top of things and give you a better idea of what to expect on the day.

Protect your equipment

In extremely cold conditions, it’s important to remember that batteries will drain faster so ensure you have spares. One set should be charging at your base, with the other set in use. If they do drain too quickly, it can help to keep them against your body to warm them up. This will normally give them a little bit of extra life. If you are in a cold, snowy location photographing the northern lights or the arctic wildlife, be sure not to change lenses outside. The snow and sleet makes for a moist environment and the last thing you want is condensation getting into the body of the camera or the lenses.

Aurora BorealisIt’s also worth taking rain covers with you. While you probably won’t experience rain in these icy locations, snow is still wet and the covers can help to stop the lenses and bodies from getting too damp. You also need to make sure that the memory cards are well looked after. It can be easy to forget about these but if you’re photographing in somewhere like the deserts of Jordan, the hot weather can take its toll on your memory cards. They can overheat and actually pop, which isn’t an ideal situation, particularly if you’re at the end of your project. Sand can cause a lot of damage to lenses and the inside mechanics of your camera so try to keep your equipment in an airtight bag as much as possible. It may be worth using an airbrush to clean the lenses as well because an ordinary cloth can pick up dust and sand grains, causing more damage than it prevents.

If you make sure you have planned enough time to get everything done and have packed everything you need, your photography expedition should be a fun and successful adventure. It’s worth packing a few extras just in case. This way, you are likely to be covered for every eventuality, making the whole experience easier.

About the Author: Amateur travel photographer and blogger Lauren Sutton writes this post on behalf of Northern Lights trip organiser Weekend a la Carte, which recommends Abisko, Sweden, as a world-leading Aurora hunting spot.