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Photo gear while traveling:
There are many articles and opinions on how to prep your gear or plan for a photoshoot when traveling. Whether it is packing gear to fly, to hike with, or for a long road trip, I have experience in all of these scenarios. I continue to learn each trip I take on how to be more efficient and prepared.
1. Flying with gear
There are so many variables to consider when you plan to fly for a shoot. My nerves are always going as I worry I will leave something behind. But there are ways to help calm those nerves and feel prepared. I would first recommend that you make a list of essentials – camera body, two or three lenses, two batteries, back up charger for batteries, and at least two memory cards. These are just the essentials! Depending on what kind of trip/job/traveling you are doing, there may be some additional items you wish to bring. But, these are a MUST for me!
I like to use a solid camera backpack that carries all of those things, so they are on my back and with me at all times. You do not want to check-in your camera gear.
If traveling overseas, check to see the weight limit of carry on bags. It is a terrible feeling when they are asking you to gate check your most valuable items. Also, some places like to see proof of ownership/purchase of the gear you have. I was coming back from Mexico and they wanted to tax me for what was in my bag because they questioned if I purchased any of it while visiting Mexico. From that experience, I learned its better to be safe and prepared for anything like that. You are not always aware of laws in different countries. I keep a little pouch in my camera bag with proof of purchase or warranties so I can prove that it is in fact my gear, not a new purchase!
When traveling, the big question of what gear to bring is very hard. To me, my first question is, “how much am I gonna be on foot?” You have to think of weight on your back, as well as what lenses will provide the most coverage and help you in the majority of situations. With those two questions in mind, I love to bring my 24-70mm lens and my wide 28mm lens. If i plan to photograph a lot of food while visiting somewhere I also bring my 50m lens. This also acts as a wonderful portrait lens. With those three lenses, I feel pretty solid.
If you have a place thats safe to leave gear, once you arrive to where you are going, an extra camera bag with more lenses and an extra body is always recommended. An example of that is shooting a destination wedding. You need external flashes, more memory cards, 70-200mm lens. Again, you can usually have two cary-on bags. So, you still can keep gear on you. Split up the weight so you feel comfortable while traveling via airport.
I am in love with my photo sport 200 AW backpack from Lowepro. You can surprisingly fit a good amount of gear in there, and its so comfortable on your back. When traveling on hikes and venturing in nature, It is not necessary to bring all the extra gear. I leave my chargers behind, and make sure I charge my batteries prior, and have one in my body and one extra. I know most people love tripods when shooting nature photos, but, if i am hiking, it does not come with me! I get creative and use ledges, rocks and whatever I can find to rest my camera on if I want to shoot a long exposure. My favorite lens for hiking is my Canon 11mm-24mm lens!
3. Road Trip
I am a proud owner of a camper van. Her name is Parker and she has been all over the US. I have driven her across country a handful of times and it is by far my favorite way to travel as well as photograph. In my car, I have designated areas where I keep my camera bag(s). I usually have a smaller bag that just holds my Canon 5D IV and 27mm-70mm lens on it, ready to use at any given time! Then, behind the passenger seat I have my larger main camera bag with my Canon 6d body and my wide lens on it. Also in that bag you will find a good 3 more lenses. That is mainly my ‘storage’ bag. In the main zipper compartment is my chargers, external flash, laptop, etc. I also have my tripod attached to the side of that bag. Then I have my Lowepro sport bag with two other lenses in it. That is the bag I grab along with my main camera rig that I have in the front seat when I stop to explore a rest area, or hike on the side of the road. When I travel long distances, and know my gear is safe, and on me, I can bring more with me. It allows for you to not be as picky with your gear, and have more readily available to use. This is why this type of travel has its perks. Though- there are some downsides as well. Too much gear on you, makes for more choices to make while in any given situation. Sometimes, thats helpful. You don’t feel as limited. Though, worrying about more than a handful of lenses can be stressful if your still learning what lenses you feel most comfortable with or how to implicate them in different situations, subject matter, and lighting.
For further info or questions, please feel free to write me bellow!