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Written by Jenny McWhirter on 07 / 12 / 2017

Gap Year Advice

The Best Ways to Capture Your Gap Year

On your travels’ you’re going to come across some of the most magical and memorable times of your life. That's a guarantee. You’ll never want to forget what you’ve seen and experienced, so taking pictures is essential - either to make your family and friends jealous or just to keep for a fond recollection at a later date... But which Camera should you take?

So, ever helpful (!) we have looked into your best options and drilled down to give you the pros and cons of each. How kind are we!

1. The iPhone

Yes, we love them. iPhones really are quite something, and it’s clear why they are so popular, have you seen the quality the recent iPhone 8 and iPhone"X"? (pronounced "10" to celebrate 10-years since the launch of the iPhone) This beauty uses two different megapixel cameras, with different lenses sizes and depths, allowing for incredible detail. Pop that on your Christmas list!


• Multipurpose – It’s not an extra thing that you don’t have room for in your bag, it’s your phone, iPod, map and Gameboy

• Variety – The number of ways you can capture your travels on an iPhone is vast- from a video, slow motion, time-lapse and panoramas…the iPhone has it all.


• It’s not waterproof – the newer versions are water resistant, but you wouldn’t be able to take underwater photos unless you invest in a super-duper waterproof cover.

• Likely to smash – let’s not lie here...who hasn’t smashed their phone at some point.

• Steal worthy – the risk of your iPhone getting stolen or lost is fairly high, so you have to be prepared to lose not just your phone, but all your pictures too (remember to back them up on iCloud…)

2. A Polaroid Camera

Polaroids have been around a long time, and are currently having a “moment” as they provide quick and easy ‘instant pictures, and the filter makes them really flattering too. The old-fashioned way of creating these pictures (rollers inside the camera use a negative from the pack and hold it in front of the lens) means they are great for that retro/ vintage look. Waiting for the picture to develop in front of your eyes makes the experience even more exciting.


• Memento – because each picture is so precious, and because the picture is printed there and then, each picture you take feels special. It becomes a memento you’ll always want to keep.


• Expensive – The price for a film for polaroid is quite expensive and may cut into your already tight gap year budget. Most Polaroid films will give you about 8-10 negatives, but it depends on what you buy.

• Big and bulky – They aren’t the most conveniently shaped cameras, so hauling it around with you could be annoying.

gap year photos

3. A GoPro

GoPro’s are perfect for the adventurous amongst you and really popular. This video camcorder allows you to take not only videos but pictures too. It’s ultra-wide-angle view and extreme sharpness means the quality is amazing. Gopro’s go one step further and allow you to capture a scene at different intervals to create a time-lapse movie.


• Small, waterproof, durable, light... – the list goes one


• Expensive – The newest GoPro is now being sold for around £500.

4. A Digital SLR Camera

These are for the serious photographers out there. DSLR Cameras provide excellent picture and video quality and allow you to control the outcome of your picture. They work by combining the optics and the mechanisms of a single lens camera with a digital imaging sensor instead of photographic film… easy, right?


• They don’t require film so the memory in them is endless.

• You can look at the picture you’ve just taken, zoom in, change, delete etc.

• The picture quality is unbeatable and so is the camera itself.


• Expensive - a camera like this is a serious investment so you have to be sure which one is best for you.

• Risk - losing it or having it stolen…

5. The Good Old Pen and Paper

With all this modern technology, people often forget about this classic. Whether you’re a budding Picasso or not, taking a sketchpad and pencil with you can be a great way to capture memories. Just doing a 5-minute rough drawing of a view, or some local culture can create a really nice moment to have later on.


• How you see it - your impressions of a place will be different to other people, jotting down what catches your eye will remind you of how you saw that place, and what it means to you.

• Safety - no offence, but unless your drawings are that of Michelangelo, no one will want them…


• Time - sometimes you might not want to devote your time to draw when you could just take a picture instead.

Capture for the Future…

Whether it’s that secret beach you found, the local food you tried, or the couple who helped you when you were lost, you won’t want to forget your time exploring the world…luckily in this day and age you don’t have to…but how you capture it is up to you.

Check out our gap year programs

We have award winning programs across Africa, Asia, South and Central America. All include a mix of projects and adventures. All are supported. All involve team work.

Gap year programs

Need inspiration and direction?

Get in contact with the gap year travel specialists.

Here at The Leap we can help both team traveller through our programmes and/or the backpacker.

Jot a message below or call us on +44 1672 519 9222

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Yes please, let's keep life simple.