Travel Photo Gear Hack!.

By Posted in - Photography Posts & Photos & Pre Trip & Travel Gear & Travel Resources on June 28th, 2010

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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(26) awesome folk have had something to say...

  • Erica -

    June 28, 2010 at 8:46 am

    So just making sure… you used a beer coozy for a Hoodman? I never would have thought of that.
    .-= Erica´s last blog ..Success and Letting Go =-.

    • beersandbeans -

      June 28, 2010 at 11:30 am

      Yup – it’s a beer cozy!
      Awesome huh?
      Now I can drink and shoot. hahahah 🙂


  • Leigh -

    June 28, 2010 at 11:01 am

    Very ingenious. Necessity is the mother of invention. I love the fact it only cost you a buck!

    Did you know that the TBEX is in Vancouver next year??

    • beersandbeans -

      June 28, 2010 at 11:31 am

      Hi Leigh,
      No, I didn’t know that! How exciting! Well if we can make it we will most definitely meet up with you – That would be a lot of fun! 🙂 @Leigh,

  • Troy -

    June 28, 2010 at 6:32 pm

    I just read some of your stuff on this site (i came over from an article at and have to say I love your work here. Please keep it up and will look forward to RSS feeds.
    .-= Troy´s last blog ..Faces of Cuba- 008 =-.

  • Brooke vs. the World -

    June 30, 2010 at 8:08 pm

    Beth, you are a photog genius! LOVE LOVE LOVE this idea.

    • Bethany -

      July 1, 2010 at 12:35 pm

      Thansk Brooke! I’m glad you like it – it should be useful under that Aussie Sun! @Brooke vs. the World,

  • Melvin -

    June 30, 2010 at 11:29 pm

    Great idea!

    Isn’t it just a bit annoying to always take the drink out of it, for checking a photo? LOL
    .-= Melvin´s last blog ..Rural Houses in Asturias- Spain- Europe =-.

    • beersandbeans -

      July 2, 2010 at 11:26 am


      Yeah your right Melvin – that is the only annoying thing about this set up. I might have to carry an extra one with me now. 🙂@Melvin,

  • Dina -

    July 5, 2010 at 8:16 am

    Wow, never thought of it, great idea! 🙂
    .-= Dina´s last blog ..Top 3 Temples by Travelers Around the World =-.

    • beersandbeans -

      July 5, 2010 at 9:52 am

      Thanks for your comment Dina!
      It is a pretty nifty little tool. 😉@Dina,

  • Catia -

    October 6, 2010 at 9:32 am

    That is brilliant and so simple! I’m definitely going to have to try it next time I try to take photos in the sun!
    .-= Catia´s last blog ..Strange Signs – WTF!!! Baguettes =-.

  • […] and apparently I’m not the only one. I asked my readers what they’ve done to be resourceful and save money for and during travels, and the list that’s been compiled is awesome. It ranges from daily […]

  • […] Remember when I wanted the ridiculously overpriced Hoodman ($80) to check my LCD screen in the sun? Luckily the store ran out and I made my own (which I still use and carted around Europe with me) for only $1 !!! Sure it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles, but it gets the job done and for a buck – I’m happy. If you missed that post check it out – Travel Photo Gear Hack. […]

  • Christy @ Ordinary Traveler -

    July 4, 2011 at 9:12 pm

    Ha! That’s awesome. I don’t own a beer cozy, but I may need to change that.

  • Fresh From Twitter -

    July 14, 2011 at 7:10 am

    […] – #travel RT @beersandbeans Travel Photo Gear Hack | Megan Fox & Brian Austin Green’s LAX Landing: Theyu2019re no strangers to constant […]

  • Vi -

    July 21, 2011 at 7:24 am

    LOL, I would never thing about using foam can cooler like this 😀

    • Bethany -

      July 21, 2011 at 2:14 pm

      So simple & cheap and works so well!


  • Dave R -

    August 11, 2011 at 1:42 am

    Great hack, love it. It’s on my shopping list for today. I too have looking at plunking down the $80 for a Hoodman, Thanks

    • Bethany -

      August 11, 2011 at 8:03 am

      Thanks Dave – yeah, this thing works great and for a buck you can’t go wrong!
      @Dave R,

  • Katherine | Kapcha The World -

    August 21, 2012 at 5:30 pm

    Awesome idea – love it. Definitely a bonus saving $79 but also great comedy value too!

  • Alix -

    August 30, 2012 at 8:49 am

    What a great and inexpensive idea! I just wanted to leave a quick comment to let you know about our awesome gadget for photographers of every level that is a great deal too. 🙂 The Hufa Holder lens cap clip was designed by photographers after they had, like many other photographers do, lost a TON of lens caps. The nifty little device just clips right on your strap and keeps your cap in place while you’re shooting! Turns out, we lose a whole lot less lens caps this way! 🙂 This also works no matter what camera you are using. Here is a video for you to check it out Thanks again for sharing your fantastic travel photo gear hack! Hope you’ll check out our gadget when you get a chance.

    Have a great day,

  • moraima -

    September 11, 2012 at 6:23 am

    haha!!! awesome idea!!

  • Alex @ -

    March 21, 2013 at 3:06 pm

    I would also poke two holes in the side and fix a leash for it. So you could fix it to something! Pretty good idea! I will try it out!

  • Daidri | Thee Getaway Gal -

    May 7, 2014 at 1:16 pm

    Briliant… As an amateur photographer I have to check my shots frequently and get so frustrated when I can’t see my view finder. I’m smiling from ear to ear because now I have something useful for my small collection of cozies and I just might not be so frustrated. Thank goodness I found this post.