Travel photography can be exhilarating as you explore new places and cultures, but it can also be frustrating if you’re unprepared. Unlike a portrait sitting in a controlled environment, you’re at the mercy of your surroundings, and more often than not, if you miss a shot, there’s no do-over. Add to that the concern of keeping your expensive gear protected and at the ready, and this whole travel photography thing is starting to sound kind of stressful!
It doesn’t have to be. With a thoughtful selection of lightweight, portable gear, some planning for contingencies, and a little practice with new tools and accessories before you leave familiar territory, you instead can focus on taking and returning with beautiful photography to share with friends and family.
While this list is by no means a comprehensive one, we’ll cover the most important considerations when preparing for a trip and suggest products that can help you take better photos, and be more comfortable in the process.
Choosing a bag for travel depends on the type and amount of camera gear you’ll be carrying. For extended trips, it may be best to select two bags or cases: one to organize all of the gear you’re bringing with you and a smaller pack for day trips. Unless you’re bringing a huge arsenal of gear—consider a hard case like those from Pelican (pelican.com) or SKB (skbcases.com) if you are—you’ll probably want your main pack to meet airline carry-on requirements to keep your gear close.
The Xcenior 41T Trolley from Vanguard (vanguardworld.us) is an airline-friendly rolling case with room for a laptop, up to two camera bodies and four to six lenses, plus f lash and accessories, and even an external strap to secure a tripod.
For day trips with your camera, a few lenses and accessories, Domke’s Next Generation Crosstown Courier (tiffen.com/domke) has a customizable main compartment with room for your camera and a couple of lenses, plus removable side pouches and an expandable front pocket for f lash and accessories.
COMFORTABLE CAMERA STRAPS
The strap included with your camera was free because it was cheap. These straps are typically thin, unpadded and not at all comfortable to use even for a few minutes, nor are they particularly smooth to adjust. Leave that strap in your camera box and get yourself something that’s comfortable to wear for extended periods and adaptable to your style of shooting.
Peak Design (peakdesign.com/straps) is doing some interesting things with camera-carrying systems, like their Slide and Clutch straps. Slide is an easy-to-size strap that can be worn around the neck, as a sling or over one shoulder; Clutch is a padded, adjustable hand strap. Both attach to your camera using quick-release anchors for fast removal when using a tripod, but perhaps their best feature is that they can be used together, allowing you to deftly switch between neck- and hand-carrying options.