A professional photographer is no stranger to traveling to faraway places. He can end up on the hinterlands, deserts, mountains of snow, and, basically, wherever his work takes him. Photo shoots are exhausting enough, even if it’s just in the studio or somewhere close. But doing photoshoots on the road is a different kettle of fish altogether.
Traveling for photography is not just about getting your gear inside your trunk, driving a few miles down the road and setting up the shoot. If you are going out of town, you will need to be very organized with your equipment since these are absolutely essential for good work to be done.
If you stop and really think about it, preparing for travel does not actually involve a lot. You just need to know what the top professional photographers do, replicate the parts that are relevant to you and you are well on your way to having a well-organized trip. You will not have to worry about misplaced items, forgotten fees and just focus on taking great pictures.
This article will teach you some handy tips from the pros when they go traveling for photoshoots. So, pay attention so your next trip will be smoother than your last one.
How to Prepare for Travel Photography
- Never over pack
That is not to say that you should not be prepared. You should always be prepared because forgetting just one item from your list could spell additional hours of work or an extra expense for you. However, just stick with the items on your list. If you need just one camera body and a few different types of lenses, then don’t bring any other extra components and accessories. It’s good that you’re preparing for that “what if” scenario, but those what-ifs have little chance if you’d just prepared for your trip properly.
Most places have stores or shops that can rent out a photography kit if you really need it, so unless you are traveling to the middle of nowhere then you don’t need to pack a really big bag. Besides, you wouldn’t want to lug around extra luggage when you’re burdened with your own cameras and accessories, would you?
- Invest in carry-on cases
You know how you always hear about airport luggage handlers mishandling stuff. Unfortunately, those happen to be quite true. You won’t know what’s happening to anything that you don’t have your eyes on inside the plane, that is until the end of the flight and you are getting ready to leave the airport. You don’t want those “handlers” coming within a hundred feet of your expensive camera equipment because there’s no telling what might happen to them. Pros usually buy a carry-on size case so their gear is in no danger of being subjected to less than stellar handling.
- Get clearance for customs
This might be one of the most important tips that you can get from the experts, especially if you’re going to other countries for a shoot. For example, you are returning back home from an overseas shoot. Customs agents may ask to see proof that your gear was bought in your home country before you left. If it was, there would have been no worries. If it wasn’t, it is a whole new matter since your equipment could be taxed if you can’t substantiate your claim that the photography equipment that was bought locally.
There is also a chance that you may not be able to bring in your gear, and more importantly the photos or footage, if you don’t have the required information for customs. Different countries have different ways of handling things, but it is better to be safe than sorry, especially if your work requires you to travel from country to country. Call border authorities or customs ahead to make sure all the paperwork and information are in order.
- Get insurance to protect your stuff
Photography gear is likely to be damaged in transit, especially on a long trip. It is unfortunate but there is a real possibility. Bumps on rough roads and other external environmental factors could cause a sizable amount of damage to your cameras and accessories. There may be unexpected situations which call for multiple airline or border authorities to handle your gear, while knowing very little about them. That could be a disastrous turn of events and would definitely increase the risk that your gear will be damaged.
The best way to combat this is to take an insurance policy on your photography equipment and make sure that the coverage is adequate. If you have a current policy, make sure that it covers certain conditions such as when the equipment is outside of the country or when you ae on a trip.
- Take steps to make sure that photography is easier
There are some things that you can do in order to make your shoot easier. For instance, before you take on an assignment, you can research the location you’re supposed to go to and choose the spots beforehand so you will waste no time searching. Choose your lenses before you pack and bring only those you have chosen or find a shop where you can rent equipment and save yourself the trouble of bringing your own.
If you decide to bring your gear, make sure that you pack holsters instead of straps. These carry devices make it easy for you to be more mobile. The SpiderPro carrying systems are perfect if you are using DSLRs. If it is a mirrorless camera you will be bringing, the SpiderLight holster set is your best match. These accessories are the most ergonomic ways of carrying your cameras in any shooting environment. You can shoot conveniently with your camera at the hip and the system allow you secure your camera if you need to shoot from different angles or heights.
You will also need the best carrying systems for your camera accessories. This is where Spider Monkey products shine. Having a holster for your water bottle, utility pouch, flash, rain cover and more will surely make your photography experience more comfortable and whole lot easier.
It is a big headache when you are traveling with a good amount of photography gear. There are a lot of unknowns that could damage your camera or prevent your photos from entering back into the country. Always remember to travel light, carry your gear yourself, prepare all necessary paperwork in advance and get your gear insured.
Remember to bring an ergonomic carrying system that won’t compromise your gear, as well as your body, and make the photoshoot a comfortable one. No more straps for you, which means no more neck pains, shoulder pains and chafed skin. You will be more mobile and your cameras and accessories will safe and secured at your side. See this video to learn about holster systems as alternatives to camera straps.
Check out which camera carrying system from Spider Holster will work best for you on your next trip now.
Cameras and other photography stuff are by no means fragile instruments, but they do have delicate components. And taking care of these components is key to getting your gear working for a longer time than average.