Geotagging is an aspect of photography -- especially DSLR photography -- that has grown quite a bit in popularity in recent years.
Essentially, geotagging involves adding information to a photograph’s file that includes the location of the photo, the time of the photo, and the date of the photo, among other items. Such items don’t appear in the picture, but they’re embedded with the file. With the right equipment, you can have your camera automatically add this information to each photo file, which can be especially helpful during travel photography.
Use these tips to more efficiently use a GPS unit with your camera.
- If you’re going to purchase and use a GPS unit with your DSLR camera, make sure the two units are compatible. Some DSLR manufacturers recommend specific GPS units for their camera models. If you want to be certain your GPS unit’s software and your camera’s software will be compatible, purchasing a recommended GPS unit is a good idea.
- Although most GPS units connect to the camera through the hot shoe, they also may connect to one of the camera's ports through a cable. Make sure your GPS unit includes the proper cables that will fit with your camera’s ports. For example, some GPS units will connect to the camera’s USB port, which, on most cameras, is a mini-USB port, rather than a full-sized USB port. Other GPS units will connect to a different port, such as the accessory terminal.
- Some GPS units will be external, meaning they'll only connect to the camera via cable, rather than attaching with the hot shoe, which may be a bit of a hassle, having to carry two separate items.
- With many GPS units -- especially those designed specifically for use with a particular camera -- you can secure the cable to the camera body with a locking nut. I would recommend that you always use the locking nut whenever connecting a GPS unit, as it can be easy to knock the cable loose from the camera while you’re shooting photos.
- Before you connect the GPS unit to the camera, it’s recommended that you turn off both the GPS and the camera. Then, turn them on again once they’re connected.
- Some cameras indicate that the connection between the camera and GPS is active when a GPS icon appears on the camera’s LCD. Before you begin shooting photos for geotagging, make sure you see this icon.
- In most cases, a GPS unit designed specifically for use with a camera draws power from the camera itself, so you’ll probably want to have an extra battery on hand if you plan on using the GPS unit extensively. GPS units that are designed as stand-alone units should provide their own battery.
- You should be able to see your geotagging data when you play back the photos on the camera’s LCD. Depending on your camera model and software, you might need to activate a special menu during playback that displays the geotagging information; check with your camera’s user guide to figure out how to display the geotagging data.
- Finally, if all of this seems like too much of a hassle, you always can seek out a camera with a built-in GPS unit. That way, the geotagging will be automatically done for you. However, keep in mind that some built-in GPS units aren't quite as powerful as the ones you add through your DSLR camera's hot shoe.