How To Travel With Photography Gear
Traveling the country as a wedding photographer has always been a dream of mine! But like all photographers, the first few times are quite nerve-wracking. What should I bring? How do I pack and make sure my gear stays safe? What is the best backpack for my gear?
Here are a few easy steps I use to make sure that I’m able to travel with photography gear and make sure that it all arrives safely!
Do Your Research
Whether you are driving or flying make sure you do plenty of research about the destination you are arriving at. A few things to consider:
What is the weather like?
This might seem a little obvious, but also check to see if there are any unusual weather concerns! For example, in some areas of the South, it may get muggy during the summer and rain, even if there is no rain on the radar. Always be prepared with an umbrella, change of shoes, and even a raincoat or warmer coat.
Does your insurance cover travel?
Always check with your Business Liability insurance to make sure that it covers all of the US.
Do you have a packing list?
I always go into each destination shoot with a complete list of every single item I need from the gear to my clothing!
Do you have plenty of downtime or additional buffer time?
This is especially important if you are flying! Flights often get delayed, so make sure you have a ton of time just in case. I always like to fly or drive the day before, so I have at least 24 hours before the event. This way I can explore the venue, get settled, and have plenty of buffer in case of a travel issue. I also make sure to add in an additional buffer day if I am traveling across multiple time zones.
Where are you going to stay?
I suggest staying in the same hotel as the bridal party or the same hotel where the wedding is. This will make photographing those early morning getting ready moments a breeze and eliminate excess travel time on the day of!
Book all of your own transportation.
Some might offer to arrange flights or cars for you, but I suggest doing this yourself and having them reimburse you (or have it built into your travel fee!). This way you can pick the best flights for you and ensure you can get any travel points on your card if you have them.
How To Pack for Driving
When driving, it is up to you how much you want to bring in your vehicle.
If you are driving, make sure your vehicle is maintained and plan your route, so that there are rest stops and restaurants along the way in case you need a break, use the restroom, or are hungry.
Once you get to your final destination, go through and organize your gear. I like to keep most of it inside the hotel safe when not in use. And when I go out for the day and want to just bring my camera and one lens, I will keep the rest inside the safe. I also make sure that if I have a car, all of my items are on me, and not in my car. This way I don’t have to worry about my car being broken into and my gear stolen.
How To Pack For Airline Travel
Flying involves numerous baggage fees unless you fly with an airline that doesn’t charge any baggage fees. If you want to avoid the extra baggage fees, travel light. Make sure you take on the plane anything valuable or what you can’t survive without when you land. If your luggage is lost, and you are going to shoot a wedding, you don’t want to be without your equipment! That is why I suggest having your cameras and gear in your check-on bag.
I like to keep my luggage to one carry-on suitcase, and my WANDRD Backpack!
If you plan on bringing carry-on baggage there are a few brands of bags that safely protect your gear while traveling. I use WANDRD. It’s a backpack that carries everything I need, and I use it for hiking. But I know many photographers who use Pelican cases and Thinktank, and both have foam interiors to protect your gear. The WANDRD backpack is great for on the plane because there is a spot for your laptop.
If you plan on flying, always plan to travel with the idea that there will always be delays. If you are photographing an event, make sure to fly the day before and book a flight in the morning that way there is time to move your flight to a later time in case of a delay.
I also highly suggest getting TSA PreCheck. This way you won’t have to worry about removing your shoes, laptop, and your camera gear during the security checkout.
How to pick the right photography gear for traveling
Depending on the destination, choose the right gear. Think about what you are photographing. Are you photographing portraits, landscapes, details? Some lenses can do all three and some work better for one type of photography. You do not need to bring everything you own. You will find that you will not use every single lens. However, make sure you have plenty of batteries, memory cards, and a way to back up all that you photographed.
If you are planning a local wedding or destination wedding and need a photographer, reach out! I would love to hear all about your big day and what you have planned so far!