Most Vietnamese are happy to have their pictures taken by you, especially in less touristic areas. However, don’t forget to ask their permission. People can be a little too shy to speak English, but they understand quite a bit. Keep in mind that you may not be allowed to take pictures all over Vietnam; always ask permission and show restraint when taking pictures. Refrain from staring at your subjects, as it can unsettle them. Try saying a couple of words in Vietnamese when you do meet people. Always try to make them laugh. This will open so many doors for you. But don’t overdo it: be very natural.
Electricity in Vietnam is 220 Volts, alternating at 50 cycles per second. If you travel to Vietnam with a device that does not accept 220 Volts at 50 Hertz, you will need a voltage converter. The electrical sockets are different from those you’re accustomed to, so it’s best that you bring along a universal plug adapter. You will need a plug adapter for two pins (European style) or two straight prongs (US style).
One problem photographers find in Vietnam is humidity: try to keep your equipment as dry as possible. You may find that after a couple of days on the go there is a white colouring inside your lens. This is a sort of fungus, which is harmless. You can get your camera lens cleaned very easily in Hanoi.
Even though Hanoi has a low crime rate, don’t let your guard down. Otherwise, your nice camera will walk. It goes without saying: “Don’t flash your gear”. Make your camera look old. Cover up camera names with black tape. Don’t use camera straps advertising your camera, better to use one without a name at all. Keep the camera strap around your neck or your wrist. Try not to bring a lot of equipment because you’ll travel a lot here and that equipment is heavy. If you don’t have the lens you need why not rent one? I’ve included a contact below if you need to rent equipment.
Vong Duc is a great little street not too far from the Old Quarter, which usually supplies Hanoi’s legion wedding and fashion photographers. You can get lenses cleaned, cheap repairs, and that lens cap you lost!
May Anh, May Quay Ky Thuat So
142 Thai Ha Street, Hanoi
Phone: +84 (0)4 353 795 94 / 357 206 33
A Dong Photo Company
No. 128 Hang Trong,
Hoan Kiem, Hanoi
Phone: +84 (0)4 213 4732
No 11 Vong Duc Street,
Hang Bai, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi
Phone: +84 (0)4 382 497 20
No.12, Block 98, Alley 26, Thai Thinh Street,
Dong Da, Hanoi
Phone: +84(0)98 688 8857 – Mr Cuong
Phone: +84(0)904 405 655 – Mr. Dinh