How to Keep Your Camera Gear Clean and Safe this Summer

How to Keep Your Camera Gear Clean and Safe this Summer

Summer is full of outdoor excursions, worldwide travel, and photo/video projects which take advantage of the long sunlit hours. Among all the wonderful outcomes of summer exploration, it’s good to keep in mind how to best protect your gear when the tides may turn for the worst. Here are a few tips for gear safety to think about this summer.

Gear Safety for Sea, Sand, and Sun

Considering your next photo shoot or outdoor adventure at the beach or on a boat? Do it! Just be prepared for the elements. The beach and open waters are littered with hazards that can be potentially harmful to your gear.

  • Use a UV filter and lens hood to protect your lens from loose sand or sea-spray.
  • Bring an umbrella to shield your bag from blowing sand.
  • Wrap your camera in a plastic bag when not in use.
  • Keep your gear in a shaded place to protect it from intense sun exposure for lengthy stretches of time.
  • Never change lenses or memory cards while on the beach. If sand finds its way into your camera it could be devastating!
  • If sands makes its way onto your gear use an air blower first to avoid scratching the glass elements before wiping it gently with a microfiber cloth.
  • Video tip: bring a wind screen for your microphone.

Gear Safety for Condensation: Fungus is Among us

Summer (and winter) have big temperature shifts when going from indoors to outdoors and vice versa. Condensation will occur and over time could wreak havoc on sensitive internal mechanisms.

  • Place your camera and lens in a plastic bag when going from AC to humid outdoor weather to ensure condensation collects on the bag rather than on your camera. Squeeze as much air out of the bag as possible before sealing.
  • Place packets of silica gel packets in your camera bag to absorb moisture from the air. These come with so many products you already buy – resuse them!
  • You should let your gear gradually adjust to the temperature of the location, allowing approximately 30 minutes before you begin shooting.

Upon Us All a Little Rain Must Fall

Whether it be a swift and unexpected rain shower, the capturing of a once-in-a-lifetime event, or a magical shot that can not be passed up, sometimes photographers get stuck shooting in the rain. You’d be wise to keep an emergency rain kit handy for times like this.

  • Invest in a rain sleeve, or make a DIY version by cutting the corner of a plastic bag and wrapping it around your lens, sealing it with a rubber band.
  • A clear shower cap can be used to wrap around the body of your camera, which will enable easy functionality of all the operating buttons while being protected.
  • Use that handy-dandy umbrella to shield your equipment from rain or act as a shield from wind.

High Alert: Gear Safety and Theft

Summertime shooting can sometimes involve scenarios with big crowds of people. Keeping your gear protected also means keeping it safe from opportunists or professional thieves looking to lift your gear.

  • When in large crowds, unfamiliar neighborhoods, or public transportation keep your bag on your front side. It may look and feel a bit awkward, but you’ll look more aware and more likely to be left alone!
  • Beware of feeling safe just by having your camera strap crossed over your body. One trend in camera theft is using scissors to actually cut it right off an unsuspecting person.
  • Invest in Pacsafe gear or something of the like if you are traveling solo. Pacsafe makes a huge amount of travel safety gear and their stainless steel mesh bag protectors are popular with backpackers. They are very difficult to cut off or slash open.
  • Change memory cards often! Large memory cards can be enticing. However, if something goes wrong and your gear is stolen or lost you won’t want your entire memory card housing thousands of images gone with it. By changing cards frequently, or uploading files to a backup drive often, your misfortune will sting a little less.
  • Write down your serial numbers or, better yet, register with Lenstag for free to combat the re-selling or pawning of your stolen gear, if the worst should happen.

Being prepared is the absolute key to success, enabling you to avoid costly gear repairs or replacements or lost time re-scheduling shoots. You can take advantage of a great scene instead, worry free!

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Cortigiano is a food, lifestyle, and event photographer with a contemporary aesthetic. She received an undergraduate degree in photography at Drexel University and has gone on to work as a freelance photographer and teaching artist in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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