Tip of the week: Travel kits, what you need and when you need it!
Traveling with photo gear is always a challenge. Whether your journey is for leisure or for business purposes you always need to take some extra care of your not-so-cheap gear. Here are a few of my personal experiences and what I've learned from them:
1. The most obvious tip is of course Travel Light. Do you really need to bring all the stuff you own with you on a holiday? Even on a business trip where you want to document your journey there's a good chance you can do it with a small part of that backpack. Think of the general purpose of whatever you gonna shoot: if it needs to be professional quality, then your best lenses (usually 2 complementary zoom lenses or 3 prime lenses should cover all the needs) should make room in your luggage. If it's leisure only, then a small mirror-less camera with a decent zoom lens will do the trick. Keep all the other accessories to the minimum as well like flashes (1 usually is enough for most situations), batteries (only take 2 or 3 at most with a portable charger if possible), tripod or monopod depending on what you're shooting.
2. Research your destination for photo/video opportunities. If you do that before arriving there, you will have a rough idea of how much you will have to walk/drive from one place to another and also what are the best camera/lens choices for that specific destination. You will discover that if you visit a place for the landscapes you gonna use more often than not a wide angle lens in favor of a telephoto lens.
3. Do you really need your kit on a leisure trip? I often found myself taking my backpack wherever I go. On one hand, that is good, I have some pretty awesome family memories but I'm also taking any opportunity I can to shoot some stock for instance. The drawback is that you'll always be absent from the images. Now remember that most of today's smartphones are getting incredibly good at taking good quality photos and videos. Sometimes it is better just to forget about all that professional equipment and enjoy the fun while still capturing some memorable moments.
4. Photo gear undercover. While it never happened to me, having your gear stolen during a trip it's an issue, especially in some areas. If your trip involves such a destination (again, do your homework about where you're traveling), then it might be a good idea to bring a smaller camera/lens combo which won't attract too many unwanted attention. Also in this case having a small package will make it easier to take care of it in crowded places such as markets where many eyes are watching.
5. Finally, as always, use common sense when it comes to packing your bag. You've probably spent a reasonable amount of money on it and you want to keep it safe along with everything you capture. Strip your kit to the minimum if that is more than enough for what you want to achieve.
I would love to hear about your experiences regarding that time you carried more than needed with you or when you went completely "mental" and went on a trip with only a small camera/smartphone.
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