At some point in a photographer’s life you are going to be asked to travel to a location with a client; whether it’s across town or across the world, traveling with your gear is never easy and there are always risks involved. I reached out to past CreativeLive instructors to have them weigh-in with their best tips and tricks for traveling with your gear. Their knowledge is unique and their advice is extremely helpful – even to a hobbyist photographer like myself.
Travel insurance. Robyn candidly explains, “I know a lot of traveling humans who don’t have travel insurance. Just get it. It’s not worth having something possibly go wrong while you’re in a foreign country.”
Harddrives. “I travel with two (backups) plus my computer. One goes in my backpack and the other in my roller bag. Get something that’s practically bomb proof.”
Make your bag and camera look ‘crappy’. “I draw all over my bags, put tape on them, drag them through dirt and mud. Looks awful when I show up at a commercial gig, but when I’m out rummaging around in places that expensive gear has a target on it, I like to make my stuff look like less of a target.”
Canadian born and raised, Renee’s career started out years ago in the modeling world. Years later she’s swapped sides of the lens. Her style has developed into an ethereal combination of fact and fiction, merging together expertly shot photographs of unique and interesting subjects with hours of meticulous retouching in Photoshop to create easily recognizable imagery that is both stunning and distinctively her own. RSVP now for Renee’s upcoming class Creating Your Reality with Composite Photography.
24-105mm lens. Kashi explains that “for shooting stills and video I love the 24-105mm lens. It gives me nearly everything I need in the field and reduces the amount of gear. I’m a big believer in keeping my gear minimal and light, so I can be reactive and nimble.”
Light tripod. Additionally, “the other equipment tip is a light tripod, the Slik tripod, which allows me to have combination monopod/tripod for shooting video. It’s small and light!”
Ed Kashi is a photojournalist dedicated to documenting the social and political issues that define our times. A sensitive eye and an intimate relationship to his subjects are signatures of his work. As a member of VII Photo Agency, Kashi has been recognized for his complex imagery and its compelling rendering of the human condition. Be sure to tune in for his compelling class, Storytelling with Mobile Photography.
Micro cloth. Adler suggests absorbent micro cloths, “in case of emergency of you getting wet or have a spill.”
Light weight tablet. “Consider a lightweight tablet solution over a laptop to download and backup files. A full heavy laptop will bog you down.”
Image stabilization. “Lenses with image stabilization when shooting from a vibrating vehicle or when hand holding to get that perfect shot”
Fashion photographer Lindsay Adler has risen to the top of her industry as both a photographer, educator, and Canon Explorer of Light. Based in New York City, her fashion editorials have appeared in numerous fashion and photography publications including Marie Claire, Elle, InStyle, Noise, Essence, Zink Magazine, Rangefinder, Professional Photographer and dozens more. Her workshops can be found here.
Body heat. Burkard advises to “keep your camera batteries in your pockets/close to your body heat to avoid them losing their charge.”
Layers. Another piece of advice is, “instead of taking one big warm layer of clothing – take multiple layers. Layers allow for a lot of difference combinations and make it much easier to adapt to the location/climate.”
Chris Burkard is a self-taught photographer and artist, based in Central Coast California, whose work is layered by surf, outdoor, lifestyle and travel subjects. At the age of 29, Burkard has established himself as a known name in the surf and outdoor industries. His workshop can be found here.
Lithium and fully charged batteries. For lithium batteries, “pack only in your carry-on luggage. The FAA doesn’t allow them in checked luggage and they might be confiscated.” And “make sure all electronic devices have charged batteries when going to the airport. If you have an electronic device that can’t power up, it may be confiscated.”
Electrical tape. Greengo suggests, “tape over the logos on your cameras and lenses to tone down their appearance and make them less apparent to potential thieves.”
John Greengo is an award-winning photographer specializing in outdoor and travel photography. Shooting for over 3 decades, John has developed an unrivaled understanding of the industry, tools, techniques and art of photography. His workshops can be found here.
Bring something playful. Romeo says, “have a fun lens, instant camera, or photo accessory in your arsenal that doesn’t get enough use? Bring it along! Travel is an opportunity to see and experience new things, and that should apply to your gear, too!”
Sun Surveyor App. Romeo also explains that “not everyone has an internal sense of direction. If you don’t know which way is North but do know where some beautiful vistas are, the Sun Surveyor App will help you determine where the sun will be around golden hour.”
Carly Romeo is a feminist, artist, and workaholic determined to use her education in women’s studies and her feminist politics to transform the established wedding industry into a more equal and welcoming place. Her workshop can be found here.
Hard shell cases. Jirsa explains that “we love hard shell carry-on cases like the Pelican 1510 for our most valuable items, the cameras and lenses. These cases can take an absolute beating.”
Portable charging station. Another fantastic tip is to “bring a power strip! A simple power strip or two will allow you to create a portable charging station in your hotel room. Save the time and headache of having to find and plug in all of your electronics around different power outlets throughout the entire room.”
Director, photographer, educator. Founder and Partner of Lin and Jirsa Photography, a boutique Southern California wedding and portrait photography studio composed of an incredible creative team that shoots over 300 weddings each year, with nearly 1,000 yearly client commissions. Founder and Partner of SLR Lounge, a premium educational community geared towards providing photographer with real world shoot education. His workshop can be found here.
Q-Tip swabs. Corbell explains this unique tip: “I am pretty good about keeping Q-Tip swabs close by and handy for cleaning eye-cup areas from dust and grime on my camera where a blower brush just cannot help.”
Topping off the charge on your camera batteries. Also, Corbell suggests to ”get into the habit of always topping off the charge on your camera batteries at airport gates while waiting to board even if you have a decent charge already. Top it off anyway. You never know when you will find another outlet.”
Tony has been a photographer, an educator, and an author. His photographic works have been featured in publications throughout the world. While he has worked for some of the most discerning clients in the world, he is most proud of being acknowledged and included in more than twenty-five photographic books by other photographers. His workshops can be found here.
Whether you’re an expert or just starting out, the advice from these world class photographers is extremely thoughtful and has changed how I look at taking my camera out of the house.
If even after all of this advice you don’t want to travel with gear, you can always let someone else handle all of the traveling for you! Rent gear from BorrowLenses and have it delivered directly to your hotel or a UPS office at the destination of your choice in any of the 50 United States. Choose from their broad inventory of cameras, lenses, lighting and more to supplement or complete your arsenal of gear.