Why a van is perfect for photo adventures

Why a van is perfect for photo adventures

Summer is here and you might be thinking of getting away for a photography adventure, but sitting in an airplane, eating in restaurants and staying in hotels might not be all that appealing at the moment.

There is another option, and it is an option that I LOVE!

Here are the top five reasons why renting a van is the most fun you will ever have on a photography adventure.

5. with a Van, you have power.

Photographers need electricity. Photographers need power. You have got so many things that need charging up. When you are in an RV, you can charge all your devices at the same time. I can charge my phone or any devices that need 12 volts through a USB port and I have numerous USB ports. I can charge my laptop, my camera batteries, and my drone batteries, and all of those need 110 volts to charge them up. Most rental RVs come with a built-in generator. I will have the generator running for maybe an hour or two, just long enough to charge the batteries on these devices.

There are large batteries inside the RV on my camper. I charge them up during the daytime with solar panels that are on the roof. And if I run the generator, that also charges those batteries and they will power the lights inside the camper at night.

Editing in an RV
Edit your photos out in the fresh, open air with an RV

4. you can do your photo editing in the field.

What I enjoy about my van is that I can put my laptop on the table in front of me and there’s room for the laptop and the mouse beside it. There’s space and room to breathe and I can do my photo editing during the evenings, right after I have taken those photos. I have the power to charge that laptop, I am in a safe, warm, dry, secure environment and I have music going on the stereo.

I really like the ability to be able to edit photos in the field so when the trip is over, I already have a good selection of photos that have been edited and processed.

3. you can make really good food

Just because you are camping doesn’t mean you have to eat crap. And I like to eat nice food when I camp with my wife in the camper. She is a gourmet cook and she loves to create just beautiful gourmet presentations. She likes to cook appetizers, colorful salads, and of course beautiful main courses. What is nice about having a camper or a van is that you have all the amenities of a regular kitchen right there. We have a three-burner stove, an oven, a fridge, a freezer, and cover space for the pots, the pans, the cutlery, the plates, the glasses, and there’s something really awesome about having an excellent meal when you are way off the grid in the middle of nowhere.

There is just something extra special about it and it makes the trip way more fun. So, we can bring all the ingredients to create good dinners, good lunches right there inside the van.

Photography van
When there are no planes to catch, you choose your own photography schedule. You don’t have to pray for better weather. Stay a day late, or leave a day early as you please!

2. You have all the comforts of home

Inside most RVs, there is a queen-size bed with a high-quality mattress. And that is important because everyone wants a good sleep. RVs have a compact bathroom where there is a toilet, a sink, and a shower, and they have a water tank with a hot water heater so you can have a warm shower or have hot water coming out of the sink. Vans also have insulated walls and doors, so when it is cold outside, you’re warm and cozy. On the inside. My vans have a thermostat so you can set the temperature for 20 degrees Celsius or 70 degrees Fahrenheit and stay nice and warm on the inside.

Also, RVs are secure, they have hard walls, they have locking doors, so you’re safe from wildlife, you’re safe from bears, and you just have a safer feeling being inside in RV than you do compared with sleeping in a tent.

1. In a van you can go anywhere and stay anywhere

We have stayed overnight on the way to photo locations at highway rest stops or in Walmart parking lots or wherever we are permitted to stay. But not only that, when you get to where you are going, it may be a location that’s completely off the grid in the middle of nowhere. I really enjoy being in locations that are not in established campsites but are truly in the wilderness where there are no other people. So this means you can camp at your actual photo destination and you’re self-sufficient there so you can be warm and dry and safe.

Van Life doesn’t cost any more than flying

In terms of costs, I have calculated out that if you rent an RV and buy all your own food and cook your own food inside the RV, it is the same price or just even a little bit less compared to renting a car, staying in a hotel and eating out at restaurants for the whole trip. The bottom line is this: All my best experiences on photo trips have been on van trips. I absolutely love it. It’s much more enjoyable than camping in a tent or staying in a hotel. I like the fact that I do not have to drive long distances between the hotel and the photography location first thing in the morning or at night, which just rushes and compresses the whole trip.

So, if you are thinking of a trip this summer then perhaps you will want to consider renting a van and having a photography trip to remember.

How to use that extra time when traveling

The greatest part about having so much freedom is that there’s time to do more of the little, but important parts of running a business. I personally used that extra time to edit my photos, and develop my presets. Lightroom presets are extremely powerful tools that every professional photographer creates. They not only speed up the editing workflow, but they ensure that you’re building a cohesive library in a style that suits your personality.

I talk about presets and so much more in my Lightroom Jumpstart course! Sign up today to learn how the pros use Lightroom to create stunning, fine-art landscape photos.

Tim Shields

Tim Shields is the founder of Photography Academy, the author of The Photo Cookbook, and the creator of the Photography Transformation 4-Step System. He holds the designation of Master Photographer in Fine Art from Master Photographers International.