Cameras will suffer on the road and they may get broken, lost or stolen. But there are so many good shots in Brazil that you’ll kick yourself if you don’t bring a camera along on your travels. If you’re nervous about losing an expensive camera, disposable ones are readily available in most large cities.
Kodak and Fuji print film are sold and processed almost everywhere, but for high quality results you should use a large lab in Rio city or Sao Paulo. If you’re shooting professional-quality print film or slides it’s best to bring film with you. Slide film is expensive in Brazil (around US$15 a roll) and high-ISO slide film is only obtainable in a few cities. For camera repairs and professional needs in Rio, Unimagem ( Tel: 0xx21-2507 7745; Rua dos Andradas 29, Centro; 9am-6pm Mon-Fri, to noon Sat) is recommended.
Heat and humidity can ruin film, so remember to keep it in the coolest, driest place available. Use a lead film bag to protect film from airport X-ray machines. This is especially important for the sensitive high-ISO films. Useful accessories include a cable release, polarizing filter, lens-cleaning kit, plenty of silica-gel packs, and a bean bag or clamp or monopod. Don’t carry a flashy camera bag – it may attract the attention of thieves – and make sure your equipment is insured.
Video cameras are no longer a big deal in Brazil so you won’t get any weird stares as you shoot.
Technical Tips & Restrictions
Photography in the rain forest requires attention to the dimness of the light. You’ll have to experiment with a combination of fast film (400 ISO and upward), a tripod, flash unit and cable release. When exposed to the forest’s humid conditions for an extended period, your cameras and lenses may have their functioning impaired by fungus growth. The standard preventative measure is to keep your gear sealed in plastic bags together with silica-gel packs.
When shooting on beaches, remember to adjust for the glare from water or sand. Don’t take a camera to a beach unless it will be closely guarded – see Dangers & Annoyances.
Some Candomble temples do not permit photography. Avoid taking photographs or video in banks or near military bases or other sensitive areas.
Be respectful of the locals and don’t photograph anyone without asking their permission.