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Introduction Getting Started Camera Care Photographing People Landscape Photography Street Photography Documentary Light Exposure

Bollywood movie poster, New Delhi, India. © Beren Patterson. All Rights reserved.

Looking After Your Camera

Your camera requires a bit of regular care and maintenance. Some of the best places for you to take photographs are your camera's worst nightmare. The beach, for example, not only has salt water but sand which will get into all the smallest cogs in your camera and make a nauseating ratchet sound before killing it. Underwater housings or a disposable camera are good options.

Preventative measures always pay. Because cameras are fragile instruments a small, accidental bump can easily break your camera. Invest in a bag that offers a good level of protection from bumps and the environment.

Cameras don't like extreme temperatures. Cold drains their batteries much faster and can stop them working altogether. Extreme cold can also cause film to become brittle and snap and digital media to stop working. Ensure that if you are moving from a warm room to a very cold environment outside you should check for condensation. Hot conditions can ruin your film turning it bright pink in hours. Avoid leaving your camera or film in the full sun or other hot places like a car's glove compartment.

Refrigerating film is an excellent way to store it. Keep it sealed in the original pots and let it warm up unopened for 30 minutes before using it. Always process film as soon as possible after exposure.

Fungus is common in lenses. If you get fungus in a lens have it removed as soon as possible as fungus will damage the coating on the glass permanently. Store your camera equipment in a cool, dry area and pack them in an airtight box with silicon gel packs to remove the moisture. A tupperware-style container is ideal and cheap. If you don't have an airtight container consider wrapping the camera in an airtight plastic bag with a couple of silicon packs.


As mentioned in the Getting Started any lens capable of having a UV or Skylight filter on it should have one on AT ALL TIMES. It is considerably cheaper to replace a scratched filter than a lens.

Cleaning Proceedure

To clean and care for your camera properly you will need the following:

  1. Lens cleaning fluid
  2. Lens cleaning tissues
  3. A blower brush
  4. Soft cloth
Step 1

Clean the outside of the camera with the blower brush and soft cloth. Ensure that you pay particular attention to buttons, viewfinder and battery hatch. Grit in your camera's mechanics can easily break cogs and motors.

Step 2

Wait untill you don't have a film in the camera. Open the back and use the blower brush to gently and carefully remove any grit and dust. Be careful to never touch the shutter.

Step 3

Gently blow and brush dust and grit from the front of your lens. Put a couple of drops of lens cleaning fluid on the front of the lens and, using a tissue wipe clean in a circular motion from the inside out.

Common photographic terms explainedLinks to useful and interesting websites, books and DVDs
Hindu carving, Kathmandu valley, Nepal. © Beren Patterson. All Rights Reserved. Camera care, maintanance tips and tricks for Nikon, Canon, Minolta, Olympus, Leica, Hasselblad, Pentax, including info on Compact Flash (CF), Secure Digital (SD) and other degital media formats. Clear examples with lots of practicle information. This course is designed for travel photographers, but will be useful to any keen photographer.