What could be better than traveling to a beautiful destination? Traveling to that beautiful destination with your camera gear!
Of course, we all know that getting to your destination is probably the worst part of the trip. Is it just me, or do the airlines try really hard to make it a miserable experience?
That misery is often exacerbated for photographers because of all the gear we need to bring along.
Not only is there a concern about protecting your expensive gear, but you also have to lug it around which only adds to the displeasure of the experience.
But what if there was a way to improve the travel photography experience?
That would be nice, right?
Less stuff to carry, fewer bags to worry about, less stress about all that gear and whether it will arrive at your destination safely...
Sounds good to me!
I've got a few critical tips to share that can make that dream a reality.
Let's get to it!
Take the Right Lenses
It's easy to sit here and type "take the right lenses."
Of course, the right lens for you might not be the right lens for me.
Some photographers like yours truly prefer to travel with a couple of zoom lenses that cover a huge focal length.
Others prefer the prime lens route.
Both have their benefits and detriments.
On the one hand, zoom lenses can be more versatile, allowing you to tackle many different types of photography with a single lens.
And as mentioned above, you can lighten your load by bringing along one zoom as opposed to two or three primes to cover the same focal range.
Of course, zooms are more expensive, heavier, and typically aren't as sharp as primes, so there's that to consider.
On the flip side, prime lenses are cheaper and have excellent image quality. They're also smaller, so in theory, you could carry three or four primes in the same space as a couple of zooms. See why Mark Wallace of AdoramaTV thinks a 35mm lens is the best travel photography lens in the video below:
When it comes to traveling light in the lens department, it really comes down to two steps.
First, you need to decide if you're a zoom or a prime shooter.
Second, you need to determine which zooms or primes will give you the best bang for your buck.
I know plenty of travel photographers that carry nothing but a 24-70mm zoom. I know others that travel with a 24mm prime and an 85mm prime.
But notice the common thread here: in both cases, they carry one or two lenses.
If you're like me, choosing which lenses to take on a trip is like trying to decide what to watch on Netflix - it takes forever. And more times than I'd like to admit, I just throw three or four lenses in my bag and call it good.
That's definitely not how to travel light!
So do as I say, not as I do: whichever way you go, pick one or two primes or one zoom for your travels. You'll find it's a challenge to accommodate all shooting situations, but that challenge will make you a better photographer.
Declutter Your Camera Bag
Something I'm certainly guilty of doing is having a camera bag that's full of things I simply do not need, especially when I travel.
If you want to travel light, going through your camera bag before you leave on your trip is an essential step.
Not only should you take the time to clean out your bag - and I mean really clean it by wiping it down and vacuuming it out - but you should also remove any unnecessary items.
For me, that means getting rid of the fruit snacks and dirty facial tissues in the exterior pockets.
That also means streamlining the accessories I take.
I leave my flash at home, as well as my full-sized tripod. I attach my filters to various lenses so I have them, but so they aren't taking up extra space in their pouches.
These steps might sound superfluous, but even if you slim down the weight you're carrying by a few ounces, it's a few ounces less that you have to carry through the airport and wander around your destination with day after day.
Get a Good Travel Bag
As important as it is to take the right lenses and to declutter your camera bag, the camera bag you take is itself an important consideration when traveling light.
You want a bag that's durable so it stands up to whatever conditions you put it through.
You also want something that's comfortable to carry (and looks good while you do it).
Having a travel bag that's versatile and adaptable to your needs is another bonus, that way you can customize what you can carry (and how you carry it) from one day to the next.
A bag that has all those features and more is the Holdfast Sightseer.
This bag isn't just aptly named for travel; it's also purpose-built with the traveler in mind.
The Sightseer bag's exterior is made of American Bison leather and waxed canvas, so it's a durable, weather-resistant rig that will go with you anywhere you want to go and provide plenty of protection for the gear inside.
Speaking of the inside, it's lined with Aztec flannel fleece, giving your gear a soft, secure resting space that maximizes its safety.
The Holdfast Sightseer is the quintessential versatile bag too.
Carry it using Holdfast's MoneyMaker shoulder straps, and you've got easy access to the Sightseer so you can quickly pull out your camera, swap lenses, or grab accessories without missing a beat.
You can start your day with just the Sightseer for short, quick trips that don't require as much gear. Then, when further duties call, you can bring along another lens, add a camera pouch to bring a second camera, or even carry your cell phone.
How you carry these add-on accessories is even a versatile undertaking - add the pouches to the MoneyMaker shoulder strap, attach them to the Sightseer bag itself, or even thread your belt through the pouch loops for access to your gear right on your hips.
Heck, there's even a backpack version of the Sightseer if that's more your style.
The point here is that you can pack all the right gear and streamline the accessories you bring all you want, but the linchpin is having a camera bag that not only accommodates what you need to bring but does so in a way that's comfortable and easy to carry.
The Holdfast Sightseer does just that.
If you want the ultimate travel photography experience, choose the right lenses, get your camera bag in order, and do yourself a favor by adding a Holdfast Sightseer to your collection of gear.
Trust me - you won't regret that decision!