What To Take Along With You – Photography Equipment
When you’re packing your bags ready for your two week break and you suddenly look around you at all your kit, it can be difficult to decide what’s important and what’s not. Your camera’s an obvious answer but what lens should you take? Will a tripod fit in your case? And how many accessories do you really need? Well here’s our quick guide to make the decisions a little easier.
- Be sensible – unless you’re going on a photographic holiday you won’t need every single piece of kit you own.
- Pack wisely – spare weight is something everyone’s always short of when they head off on holiday.
- Be safe – keep your camera gear locked away when you’re in your hotel room and keep your camera bag with you at all times when you’re out. Make sure your travel insurance covers your camera gear too.
As you need something to carry your passports, reading book and other bits and pieces you need for your journey, you might as well take a bag that’ll fit all of these and some or even all of your camera gear too. Rolling bags can be carried on as hand luggage and can carry several lenses as well as a laptop and accessories. However, this may be a little over the top for a photographer travelling to Spain for an all inclusive holiday with their family so consider taking a rucksack instead.
Do remember you’re restricted on size so don’t take a bag that’s too big as you won’t get it in the cabin. Consider taking two bags too – one for transporting and the other for everyday use when you arrive at your destination.
If you’re a compact user put your camera in a pouch to protect it that’s still small enough to slip into a larger bag with your food, water and whatever else you’ve taken out for the day.
Messenger bags can be easier to access but if you’re heading out for a full day’s shooting, you may not want the weight of the bag hanging from just one shoulder. A rucksack will be more comfortable, distributing the weight across your bag.
It may seem obvious but the reason we are listing it is to remind you to check it’s actually working before you set foot on the plane. Both compact and DSLR users should take a few test shots with their kit just to double-check all is OK.
You’re restricted on how much weight you can take on the plane so don’t pack too many lenses and make sure they’re not too heavy. You also have to consider what you’ll be doing on your holiday; if you’re off to walk around the pyramids, for example, do you really want to be carrying heavy equipment around with you all day?
What you’re photographing will dictate whatlens(es) you need. Are you photographing buildings? Doing some macro work? Or is it just about snapping shots of people?
If you’re going to be taking photos in or of places that don’t allow flash a fast lens would be a big help. They’re also useful in low light situations such as night shots or inside churches and cathedrals.
Do think about how much money you want to spend on a lens, especially as they could be damaged or stolen. As mentioned previously, make sure you have the right travel insurance so you don’t end up empty-handed if something does happen to your equipment.
What to take?
A zoom lens is your best bet as you’ll have a wide variety of focal lengths to play with in one lens. A zoom will also take up less space, aren’t as heavy as several prime lenses and are usually reasonably priced.
Check Your Lenses
While you’re making sure your camera works do check your lenses at the same time. Check for dust spots as even though you can clone them out, the process will soon get annoying when you’ve reached your 50th holiday photo.
Monopod or tripod?
If you’re planning on visiting busy locations such as markets you’ll find a monopod’s the perfect support. For more serene landscape work or situations where light’s a little on the low side, the stability a tripod offers will be more important.
As you don’t want a tripod to take up too much space or weigh so much you have to leave clothes behind, you need something that’s compact and made from a light material.
If you’re packing a tripod make sure you pack a spare plate just in case you lose one.
Spare batteries and charger
Always carry spare batteries and if you’re using rechargeable or solid state batteries, make sure the charger is packed.
Taking just one memory card isn’t a good idea as they’re easily lost and can stop working. Pack several smaller cards instead of putting all your eggs in one basket with one large card.
Unless you’re staying in the UK you’ll need a travel adapter otherwise you won’t be charging anything. Make sure you pick the right one up too as you don’t want a European adapter if you’re travelling to the USA.
Lens cloth and a hurricane blower
Sand, salt from the sea and sun cream aren’t your camera’s friends. Make sure you have a lens cloth to wipe any grease off the lens before you take your shots otherwise they’ll be blurry and have a blower to hand to remove any dust or grains of sand.
If you’re taking a DSLR pack a polariser as it will cut down glare. An ND filter could be handy if you’re planning on playing with slower shutter speeds but not essential.
DSLR users may want to take a flash gun as it gives you more control over the direction and intensity of the flash. However, it is extra weight you don’t necessarily need so save this item until last and if you have the spare room/weight pack it.
Check that your household insurance covers your camera for accidental damage or theft if you’re using it away from home. You can purchase specialist camera insurance and some travel insurance policies do cover camera kit.
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