- Load capacity - Make sure it can handle the weight of your gear, especially if you shoot with a big DSLR and a big zoom lens.
- Max height - You want the monopod to extend up to your eye level without having to crouch down to see through the viewfinder.
- Folded height - The smaller the better here, because it'll be easier to pack and carry.
- Weight - Carbon fiber monopods weigh less, and the less you have to carry, the faster you can move.
- Foot - What's the foot made of? Is there a metal spike to help stabilize it?
- See prices and specs for 18-200mm lenses
- See prices and specs for monopods
- What Lens Should You Buy?
One of the keys to your success as a photographer is being able to work quickly and efficiently.
That's true whether you specialize in portraits, landscapes, street photography, or something in between.
So, when you grab your gear to head out for a shoot, you need to learn how to travel lean and mean so that you can work unencumbered and get the shots you want without a lot of fuss.
The question is, how do you prepare yourself to travel light?
Get the Gear
Traveling light means a couple of things when it comes to gear.
First, you have to make a decision about the lenses you want to carry.
Though many photographers enjoy using primes, the issue is that you usually need at least two or three primes to accommodate different subjects.
That means that if you want to travel lean and mean, you might want to opt for a zoom lens instead.
A good option that will allow you to take on just about any photography subject is an 18-200mm lens.
These lenses are great because they're usually small, lightweight, and extend from wide-angle to telephoto.
That means you can take close-up portraits, wide-angle landscapes, photograph architecture, cars, street scenes - you name it - all with a single lens.
If you're worried about price, don't be. If you look in the right places, you can find excellent deals on used 18-200mm lenses so you don't have to break the bank.
Another piece of gear that's great for traveling light is a monopod.
Instead of lugging around your big, heavy aluminum tripod, opt instead for a small, lightweight carbon fiber tripod like the one pictured above.
When looking for a monopod, there's a few things to consider:
Also consider the number of leg extensions the monopod has. On the one hand, you want something that can extend to meet your eye, but at the same time, you don't want to fully extend each leg section as that reduces the stability of the monopod.
You'll Need Something to Carry Your Gear
Of course, you need a means of carrying your camera, lens, monopod, and other gear in a way that gives you freedom of movement, easy access to your gear, and doesn't weigh you down, either.
Consider this: since the MoneyMaker puts your gear where you need it - at your fingertips - it helps facilitate quick access to your camera, lenses, batteries, and so forth. And the faster you can access that stuff, the fewer shots you'll miss.
What's more, the MoneyMaker distributes the weight of your gear over both your shoulders and your back, meaning you'll be more comfortable as you jet from one shoot location to the next.
As if that's not enough, the MoneyMaker is compatible with Holdfast's Explorer accessories.
You can add a lens pouch that holds two lenses and a flash, a traveler's wallet to keep your memory cards and other accessories safe, and even a water bottle pouch to keep hydrated.
Even better, you can add a Streetwise Fundy camera bag to the MoneyMaker system, giving you even more possibilities for storing and carrying your gear.
And one look at these accessories and you can see that they aren't just smartly made and durable, but that they were designed with traveling lean and mean in mind.
With big buckles that you can clasp and unclasp with one hand, you can easily open your pouch or bag to get the gear you need.
And when you're on the move, you want something that will protect your gear, and the Explorer collection does just that...
The waxed canvas and leather construction isn't just for looks, but it's also meant to protect your gear from the elements.
Inside, the sheepskin lining cradles your gear, protecting it from bumps and bruises along the way.
In other words, this mix-and-match system is ideal for photographers that want something that's easy to carry, offers tons of storage solutions, and keeps gear where you need it - right on your body within easy reach.
Cut Down on Clutter
Just because you have four lenses, two tripods, two camera bodies, a flash, a reflector pack, and a tablet doesn't mean you need to take all of it with you every time you go shoot.
The point of going lean and mean isn't just to be more mobile and agile to get better shots, the point is to challenge yourself with less gear.
That means working harder for the shot, concentrating on composition, and paying attention to lighting because you don't have your wide aperture prime lens with you.
That also means you have to spend more time planning your outing so you can tailor the gear you take to the places you'll be.
In other words, traveling lean and mean as a photographer is as much about becoming more creative as it is about learning to use your gear.
In the end, by taking just the bare essentials, your photo shoots will be more about challenging yourself to learn more and to be creative, and that will help you take better photos.
If you're embarking on a trip and want some fun ideas for travel photography, check out the video below by Brendan van Son: