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In certain locations around the world, lone travelers are prime targets for petty crime, and carrying around your treasured and most likely valuable camera can be, or at least feel like, a risky activity. At Foto Ruta, we lead photo tours around Buenos Aires and Santiago. We’re experts on the cities we operate in, with knowledge on where to photograph and how to stay safe. Our excursions enable photographers to shoot comfortably while enjoying photography in a social context.

Here are some tips we follow on our tours and encourage others to adopt as well.

1

Use your camera strap.

Keep your camera strap secure on your body at all times to reduce the risk of a grab-and-run.

2

Shoot with company.

By shooting in pairs or small groups you're making yourself a lot less attractive to thieves, and you've got someone to watch your back while you line up the perfect shot.

3

Make your camera look cheap.

A useful trick used by pro-documentary photographers is to give their $6000+ cameras a 'make-under.' Scratch it, cover the brand name in sello-tape, etc. Works on other expensive pieces of gear as well.

4

Move with confidence.

Walk like you know where you're going and what you're shooting. A professional photographer with a purpose (or someone who looks like one) is much less likely to get robbed than a lost tourist.

5

Engage with your subjects.

Start a conversation with someone before taking their picture. This is not only ethical (as you ask for permission to photograph them), but will also help you come across less like a nervous tourist.

6

Keep your gear where you can see it.

We would never advocate the rucksack-on-backwards look (not cool!), but keep your bag and camera in view at all times.

7

Follow your instincts.

If you feel uneasy about a particular situation or place, turn around and try somewhere else. You'll forget a missed shot, but you won't forget your stolen camera.

*In the MatadorU Travel Photography course, you'll learn the skills you need to become a travel photographer.

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