A photography trip is an exciting adventure that you can look forward to for months and dream of the things you will see and have an opportunity to photograph. The time leading up to your trip is likely riddled with moments of anxiety as well as you look at your list of must-have items you want to take, and realize there is no way you can squeeze it all into your travel bags.
Aside from the obvious gear - camera bodies, lenses, filters, and the like - you’ll need to narrow down your list to just the essentials. If you’re having trouble doing that, consult our list of seven items you just can’t leave home without!
When traveling, who wants to lug around their huge tripod with them? Even for many of the most gung-ho photographers who don’t mind carrying their tripods around, there are still times and locations where you simply can’t have one. This presents a problem because you obviously need your camera still, especially in low light situations.
Our number one pick for resolving this problem is the cool gadget pictured above called HandlePod. HandlePod is the ultimate tripod alternative because it allows you to stabilize your camera in a wide variety of ways. Brace it by hand on any support, like a wall or even a fencepost. If you need to be hands-free, use its elastic cord to secure it tightly in place with no worry of slippage.
HandlePod also has a stabilizing hand grip to give you additional support when you have to hold your camera in your hand. In fact, you’ll find that you can hold the camera so still that you can effectively shoot in low-light situations. This is obviously a great feature for photography, but it’s also handy for situations in which you want to shoot smooth, shake-free video.
Head over to HandlePod’s website to get pricing details and learn more about this incredible product and its many applications for travel photography!
Just like you don’t want to drag your giant tripod around on your trip, you also don’t want to have your big camera case in tow with you wherever you go. Assuming you have a secure hotel room to leave your big items, you can travel light and fast by taking the essentials in a smaller, more comfortable shooter bag.
Shooter bags come in a variety of styles from messenger bags to backpacks to sling bags and everything in between. They are small enough that you can go about your business of seeing the sites without fatiguing your neck, shoulders, and back. But they are also large enough to fit all the essentials like an extra lens, filters, memory cards, batteries, and personal items like your wallet, mobile phone, and car keys. Shooter bags also have the advantage of being unobtrusive, so if you’re visiting a busy location or one with tight passageways, you don’t have to worry about your bag hitting someone as you walk by. That’s a good thing!
Regardless of where you travel or what you photograph, you need to have some means of backing up the photos you take. External hard drives have become quite inexpensive compared to what they used to be and are the go-to storage option for many photographers. In addition to having a smaller price tag, external hard drives also have a smaller body, meaning it won’t take up nearly as much space in your camera bag. If you go this route, look for something with a bit of ruggedness that can withstand the bumps and bruises it’s sure to get while you travel.
There are other options, of course. Cloud storage services like Dropbox have become ubiquitous and make for an incredibly easy backup solution that allows you to access your photos from anywhere without the worry that’s associated with losing a hard drive. Flash drives are another option, but are more limited in terms of their space and are more likely to get lost because of their size. You could even spring for a personal cloud system that you leave at home and access via the web from wherever you are.
Shooting while traveling will drain your batteries, so taking extras for your camera, flashes, and other gear is a must. But those incredibly long days full of shooting photos may drain your primary and backup batteries, so you don’t want to be left in a lurch if you need a way to give your gear a recharge.
There are several power sources you might consider. A cigarette lighter inverter is a great tool to power up your gear on the go. You never know when you might find the next power outlet, but you’re sure to find a 12V plug in your rental car. Give your camera some juice while traveling from one destination to the other and you’ll be good to go.
When traveling abroad, plug adapters are a must as well. Get a set with multiple styles of plugs so you’re assured of having the right fit for plugs whether you’re in the United States, Europe, Asia, or elsewhere in the world.
The chances are that you have your gear insured already (which is a good thing!), but if you don’t you need insurance today, right now.
One thing to check is to make sure that your insurance policy covers you for the destination to which you travel. Another factor to consider is the type of policy to have. If you’re a professional shooter, different insurance companies offer different coverage, usually under different names as well. If you’re an amateur shooter, you can most likely cover your gear under your household policy, but some companies might have a geographic restriction on the policy.
What’s more, you will need to read the fine print to determine if your policy will cover your gear for its actual worth. You certainly don’t want to damage your 500mm lens while on vacation, only to find your insurance covers just one-fifth of the expense to have it fixed.
Bulk Power Options
As noted above, finding yourself in a low battery situation is the worst, especially when traveling. To make powering up your devices the simplest and fastest possible, invest in power options that allow you to charge multiple devices at the same time. This might take the form of a power strip that gives you the capability of plugging in six devices simultaneously. It might also take the form of a USB charger for the ever-increasing number of devices that charge via USB, like your smartphone and tablet, among others.
Fancy Camera Straps
The factory straps that come with your camera aren’t all that comfortable, nor are they maximally functional. If you want to get the most out of your travels, switch to an aftermarket strap that offers more in the way of padding so you can carry your camera longer without getting shoulder fatigue. Many straps today also have handy security features, like embedded metal to prevent cutting or slashing from would-be thieves and small pockets added on for carrying memory cards. You might even spring for a hand strap or hip holster to give yourself maximum freedom of movement!
At the end of the day, making it easy on yourself is what it’s all about. Traveling is fun, but tiring, so there’s no need to make life more difficult. Whether it’s charging your gear, carrying it around, or selecting gadgets that have tons of functionality in a small package, there are plenty of opportunities to better your workflow when you travel. The next time you travel, follow the guidelines we’ve set forth here, and you’re sure to have a more fun, more productive, and less stressful outing!