How To Travel Light With Photography Equipment

By | 04/12/2022

Air travel is a fact of life for jobbing apprentice and professional photographers alike. At some indicate yous demand to stuff your gear in a bag and go on a airplane. Hither are my summit v rules for air travel.

The starting point for any travel photography slice is almost determining how much gear you are going to take. This isn’t nearly the best camera bodies, lenses, lighting gear, or tripods to buy, but rather how you tin optimize the kit you exercise have and the space you fit it into. Forth the way I’ll encompass my v rules.

Your Bag

If yous drive to a task, so you invariably take every believable piece of gear you might demand, shoving information technology all into the body. You could have the same approach with air travel, just that would mean a lot of bags and checked luggage. For any trip, I work on the premise of taking everything in bear-on luggage because that’southward both cheaper and safer for my camera gear. Nine times out of ten that works. By bear-on luggage I am working on the broad definition of 56x45x25cm which are EasyJet’southward current standard (with no weight limit). Most airlines in Europe are similar although some are smaller.

Rule i: Ever Check Your Luggage Restrictions

Before you can even brainstorm to think about packing, you demand a pocketbook beginning. Phone call me a Philistine, but roller bags are pure evil. If in that location is something I’d like to put in Room 101, then roller numberless would exist up there. Sure they save your back, simply that’s where their benefit ends. You trip over them, someone else trips over them, you can’t make them smaller if they are too big, you can’t behave them on your back, you tin’t fold them away and, well, they are only shocking for public transport. They are hands wheeled stacking boxes. Catamenia. Dump them if you can.

Given the above, you lot can probably judge that I’m a fan of rucksacks as offering groovy flexibility for travel. They’re not perfect: there is a tendency to hit people when you turn effectually, the straps are easily snagged, and they pack from the top making access difficult. However this leads on to rule two:

Rule 2: Don’t Take a Photographic camera Bag

Yup, zilch screams “lensman” more than than a camera bag making y’all an immediate target for theft. To add insult to injury, they are damned expensive, for what is a padded bag. My preference for whatsoever kind of bag that is going to hold my photographic camera gear is to get a standard purse that is designed to exist, well, a bag! Inside that you can and then put any number of bespoke padded case inserts to hold your gear. Non tailor made, but ultimately flexible. For travel I now use The North Face Base of operations Army camp Duffel pocketbook (a multifariousness of manufacturers make something similar) which sports bomb proof construction, adaptable size, rucksack conversion, and foldable design. For carry-on luggage, go for the small size. Throw in a couple of luggage padlocks and it’s a secure setup.

Your Gear

Before you lot tin consider how you are going to pack your gear y’all demand to know what you are going to take which leads to dominion three:

Rule three: Take What You Need

This might seem obvious, except many people work to the principle of “take what you might need”! Brainstorm with the style of photography you are intending to shoot (e.g. street) and then research the locations that you intend to visit. If you know what y’all are going to shoot and where, then yous tin can draft a shortlist of the kit you will need to achieve that.

On a recent trip I decided I wanted to do a mix of landscape, architectural, and street photography. With my preference for shooting with prime lenses, that meant taking my Nikon D700, 85mm f/1.8, 50mm f/ane.8,

and 24mm f/2.8, along with my Lee Filters, and 3Pod travel tripod.

I now solely use a ThinkTank Speed Changer for packing my kit. This takes a DSLR body in one half, and then ii stacked lenses in the other. The pocket on the front holds accessories, with a separate neoprene case used to pack any extra lenses. That all stows neatly in the bag leaving plenty of space for extras (like dress!).

Your Accessories

A good exercise in de-cluttering equally a pre-cursor to travel is to take the camera purse y’all usually use and, subsequently removing the camera and any lenses, take
everything else
out. What have you got there? Probably more than you lot were expecting to run into. Accessories are essential to successful photography, however this leads to dominion 4:

Dominion 4: Question Everything You Take

Power is the first port of call. I use a 4-port USB charger with interchangeable mains plugs, forth with whatever cables I need. If your photographic camera charges straight via USB that’southward corking (virtually Sony’s do), however many camera systems supply a bespoke mains charger. Ditch them and become for a generic USB version (e.g. a Nikon one). A spare bombardment is a skilful thought, along with a power bank.

Accessories I use for the camera itself (which I’ve talked about before) include stepper rings (for the Lee filter holder), a wired remote command, lens hoods, and a cleaning cloth/lens pen.

Of course accessories don’t really finish with the camera, equally yous’ve got a whole bag total of stuff! Which ways that rule five is a variation on dominion four:

Rule 5: Question Everything Yous Have. It’s Non All Well-nigh the Camera!

Other bits of kit I routinely throw in include a folding silicone h2o canteen (great for not having to always buy water), a folding silicon coffee cup (bring-your-own cups seem to be the latest matter!), USB bombardment charger (for AA and AAA), and a packable rucksack (useful to use during a visit).

No ane likes to travel with more they need and when yous can have advantage of the benefits of deport-on luggage then it’s worth investing a scrap of time to fine tune that. Have yous got any gear tips for traveling?

Lead image courtesy of JESHOOTS-com via Pixabay, used under Creative Eatables.


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Originally posted 2022-02-13 00:13:21.