If you enjoy photography, Cuba never disappoints. From the architecture and classic cars to the World Heritage sites, there’s plenty to fill the frame. Here are a few suggestions for photographers heading to Cuba:
Before You Go:
- Don’t waste your travel time learning how to operate a new camera, flash or lens. Practice at home until you know your gear well. Also, make certain that your camera is clean, and everything is functioning perfectly.
- If you’re an amateur photographer with costly equipment, consider travel insurance. It’s inexpensive and usually covers a lot. (Note: Most claims will be denied if the insurance company learns that you make money from shooting.)
- Be sure to pack everything you’ll need, ideally including a way to back up your images each day.
- Pack light (just one prime lens and one zoom), and place your camera gear in your carry-on luggage to increase the likelihood of a gentler trip and decrease the probability of theft.
- Make a general shot list. What are you particularly eager to see in Cuba? Old cars? Beaches or landscapes? Tobacco plantations? Colonial architecture? Musicians? You don’t have to live by the list, but your photos should highlight the reasons you chose Cuba.
While in Cuba:
- Plan your schedule around the best light. Get up early to capture the morning sun and places coming to life. At this time of day, fewer tourists will be out wandering into your frame. Another ideal time to shoot is from late afternoon until after sunset.
- Cuban nightlife is legendary, and the cities come alive after dark. Play with your camera’s settings to capture the movement, colors, and lights of Cuba at night.
- Get away from the crowds. The best way to explore the rhythm of a place is to act like an anthropologist and observe carefully. Wander down alleys and sit in cafés to watch passersby.
- Always have your camera with you. You never know what you’ll see. Serendipity is a photographer’s friend.
- As you would anywhere, ask permission when you photograph a person at close range. Learning how to ask politely in Spanish might make it easier: ¿Puedo tomar la foto, por favor?
Written by Lise Waring