Hand luggage only: 7 things i pack for photography on the road

Travelling Light - Photography Gear List by Leonie Wise_
My photography-related gear for our recent trip to Wellington

I’ve had a few trips away in the past 6 months, most of which I’ve only taken hand luggage for. So, to save on space, I take my ipad and not my laptop. This means, if I want to share photos, I also take a set of tiny travelling photography tools.

(If my travels are primarily for photography, my gear list is a little longer… but most of the time, on the shorter trips, this kit is pretty much all I need.)

1. camera

Clearly a travelling (indeed, any) photographer needs one of these! For me, it’s the Canon 5d mkii or the Fuji x100s, depending on my luggage constraints and the type of trip I’m doing. For my week-long trips to Australia last year and again in Feb/Mar, I took the Fuji x100s as I wasn’t going primarily for a holiday where I was making lots of photographs. I took the 5d when we walked the routeburn track at christmas time, and the x100s last weekend when we went to Wellington.

2. battery charger

Even when taking a spare battery with me, I will pack the charger. Nothing worse than running out of batteries halfway through an awesome day out. Yes, this has happened to me more times than I will admit to any of you.

3. spare battery

Which I carry in my pocket, or handbag, rather than leaving it in the car or at my accommodation. Because, there are fewer things worse than needing to switch batteries when something awesome is happening, having to go somewhere to retrieve a battery and totally missing whatever amazing photograph I was attempting to make.

4. spare memory card(s)

Like spare batteries, spare memory cards are a must as I’m not offloading and deleting on the road. Sucks as much as flat batteries seeing the CF Card Full message on the back of my camera screen with no empties on hand. There’s usually no time for reviewing & deleting (and I don’t like doing that anyway until I see my photos on a screen that’s larger than the one on the camera). I tend to use smaller sized cards, so if I did happen to lose one somehow, I haven’t lost weeks worth of photos. Risk mitigation strategy, photo edition :)

5. iPad

I don’t offload all my photos when travelling, just the ones that I want to do something with whilst I’m away. I keep them all on the memory cards until I get home and can transfer them to my photo storage and view them on a larger screen. I just do a few minor edits on the ones I want to share, then upload them, or email them, or whatever my plan is.

6. USB camera cable

Essential for having the camera talk to the iPad as I don’t have an eyefi card. The cameras I have don’t use the same sized cable, so checking to make sure I have the right one for the camera I’m taking is high on my priority list. I think I’ve only had the wrong one with me once (so far)!
(Do you have/use an eyefi card? I’d be interested to know what you think of it.)

7. the ipad camera adapter

This little dongle, made by Apple, is the Lightning to USB Camera Adapter. Plug it into the iPad and USB and I’m ready to offload the photos I want to play around with.

… then of course, there’s all the photography apps!

I’ve tried a number of photography apps, most of which I deleted after the novelty had worn off. I do have some favourites that have stuck around a while though, usually ones that go beyond novelty factor and into being useful for minor edits or location info. Depending on the situation, the photograph and my mood I might use one, many, or all of them.

[update 03 May]

… and what about the bag?

I went crazy over camera bags a few years ago. I have bought lowepro ones, billingham ones and crumpler ones, as well as hand-made ones from etsy. I was looking for the one bag to rule them all, and none of them were right for me. Too many pockets, not enough pockets, too fiddly, too uncomfortable to carry when full, too hard to get my camera out of in a hurry! I did often wonder if anyone who designed those bags had ever tried to use one for any kind of photography-related travel. Now, I have a massive Gura gear bag that, if I’m not going on a photography expedition, is where I store all my gear when at home. Now, when I travel, my camera usually goes straight in my handbag, along with the accessories in a small case to keep them together. If I think there might be a few bumpy rides, I will take the roma bag insert made by ona that a friend put me on to years ago (thanks Kiki!), and the ipad travels in a padded sleeve made by Ally Capellino for Tate that I bought in London a few years ago.

I’d also LOVE to get my hands on the Roam Camera Bag by Future Kept in collaboration with Rural Kind. It looks like it would be a great size for small adventures!

What about you?
Do you use anything different when you’re home vs. travelling?

6 thoughts on “Hand luggage only: 7 things i pack for photography on the road

  • Travel gear usually changes to my 3-in-1 Tamron lens — So I have a macro & zoom in one — Many memory cards, a smaller camera bag, and my laptop. I am not crazy about relying on my phone, just a personal preference. Love photography (as much as you do!) – As long as a camera is with me — I am happy!

    • I used to always take my laptop, but as my packing has become more streamlined, and carry-on luggage weights have dropped on flights, the laptop i used to carry has to be left behind now. You’re right tho… all a matter of personal preference. Your final sentence is it though isn’t it… Have camera, will travel, be happy :)

  • my traveling gear is pretty similar to yours, sans iPad. if I really want to share anything socially, I’ll make do with my iPhone.

    definitely the extra batteries/charger + memory cards….cause, yeah, totally sucks if you come up short in either department.
    and my camera has built-in wifi which i’m learning to love and appreciate!

    the simpler the better. hardest thing for me is choosing which lens to bring.

    • Less is definitely more for me now for sure. I love that your camera has wi-fi, that is so cool! Yes, I totally hear you on the lens thing. When we walked the Routeburn over Xmas, I foolishly only packed my 50mm lens and left my wide-angle in a suitcase back at our accommodation. I kicked myself more than once for that! I don’t have a kit lens in the 18-70mm range, so choosing a lens to travel with is definitely something I often struggle with too :)

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