Photography Posts, Photos, Pre Trip, Travel Gear, Travel Resources

Travel Photo Gear Hack!

Ok, so if you’re like me and the other millions of photographers there is one thing that drives you crazy when shooting outdoors.

Yup, you guessed it – attempting to review your photos on the LCD screen in broad daylight.

(If you look closely, you can see the picture in the LCD but the sun glare makes it really hard to see.)

Forget about it! You simply can’t really see if you got the exact exposure or not. This is not a big deal when you’re tooling around a new city just shooting for yourself but it becomes a big deal when you have a big paid shoot (like a wedding or travel assignment) or you are under deadline and don’t have time to screw around trying to find a shady spot to check your frames.

(The same photo but viewed indoors where you can see it clearly on the LCD screen.)

Now if you are shooting a lot, you technically shouldn’t have to worry about double checking your photos because you should be dialed in with your camera enough to know you got it. When we all shot film we didn’t have the option of double checking exposures but in today’s digital world this is a luxury that no one wants to do without. It is REALLY nice to be able to double check your photo instantaneously and know you got it right.

Because this is an issue, there are a couple things on the market that you can buy that can help you with this problem. This issue is that they either suck or cost a lot of money.

I tried to go the cheap route once and bought this pop up shade which promised that it would shade my screen and I could see my photo. I couldn’t. Don’t buy anything like this – it will be a waste of $15. This thing sucks and further more I hit myself in the eye with it more than once when it was open on the back of my camera. I hate this thing.

This week I have a big wedding coming up and I have been trying to decide over the past 2 weeks if I want to buy a Hoodman. The Hoodman is pretty sweet and it works like a charm (I got to test one out yesterday) but coming in at $80 it is expensive! I also want something I can travel with and the Hoodman isn’t exactly small. It would be a disaster to keep hanging around in a travel bag and I really don’t want to spend $80 for something I will only use occasionally and could break on the road.

Well I got lucky because yesterday I decided to buy one. I went into the camera shop and the sales guy erroneously told me that they were sold out. I was bummed but I went upon my merry way looking at photo bags (for the 15th hundred time). After I was done I saw someone else checking out a Hoodman. They actually had one left in the back. Well I also checked it out for a bit and in all honesty I was pretty sold on it. I decided that piece of mind on a wedding day was probably worth $80. It just so happened that guy decided the same thing and he bought it. They double checked in the back but this time they were out of them, for real.

So I got in my car and started wondering if I could make my own. I decided to swing by Michaels and buy some foam core board for my construction of a black box I could put over the screen. However on the way through the store they had a dollar bin with some foam can coolers in it. It’s about the same length as the Hoodman and it has a hole on the bottom for condensation drainage (or my eye!) – perfect!

I bought one and ran home to try it out. I took some practice shots on the deck of the boat in FULL sunlight and it works like a charm! It may not have the magnifying loupe feature or be as fancy as the Hoodman but I saved $79! Plus it has the added bonus of keeping the canned drink of my choice chilled! Sweet.

I did decide to make the bottom (eye) hole a little bigger but that was the only adjustment I made. I love this thing! It’s lightweight, portable and has dual functions. A perfect piece of travel gear! The best part is that I don’t have to worry about it. I can squash it into my bag, lose it – who cares? It cost a buck and I can buy another one if I need to. It may not be the most professional tool on the market but I only need it for a few seconds each time I use it so it’s not really a big deal.

I wanted to share this little tidbit with our readers because this is a great travel tool and if you shoot a lot outdoors you will really appreciate a budget way to view your photos in full sun.

Stay tuned because I have some more photo “hacks” coming your way as well including how to find a great camera bag!

Also please let me know in the comments if you try this out and if it works for you.

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*Please remember all photos on this website are copyrighted and property of, & Bethany Salvon. Please do not use them without my permission. If you want to use one of them please contact me to ask first because I do love to share and I would be flattered. Thanks!

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