Buying a good camera, lens, and other essential photography gear usually takes a lot of research, saving, and dedication to photography. It’s a lot of work, making sure the equipment you purchase is exactly what you need to fuel this wonderful hobby.
Not everyone needs the latest gear or has a budget to replace their equipment if it breaks. But a photographer is geared to use their camera, go on adventures with it, continually push the limits of their photography skills in order to capture better images – and with that mentality comes risks.
So here are a few quick tips to consider while traveling with your camera equipment. They may be obvious to some, but they’re a good reminder for anyone who gets excited about tomorrow’s adventures.
Invest in a good camera bag.
It’s always interesting to meet photographers who will buy an expensive body and lens, but shop on the cheaper side for camera bags and other gear. The truth is, buying a good camera bag will probably be the best investment you can make for protecting your photography equipment while traveling. It can also serve as an excellent way to store everything when you’re at home. Whether you travel the world, walk around the city, or just enjoy being outdoors with your camera on a regular basis, here are a few camera bags that I’ve used that can take a beating and keep everything safe.
Large Camera Bag
The Grid DSLR Backpack by HEX is a great example of a quality camera bag that can store your body, multiple lenses, and other photography gear and equipment that you might need while traveling. The waterproof, premium canvas and padded, felted inside ensures your camera and lenses are kept safe no matter what adventure you might be on. Multiple pockets and storage compartments are built in for things like your laptop, straps, cables, caps, or accessories. There’s even a handy ID card pocket!
A camera bag like this does cost over $200, but replacing broken or lost photography equipment is a lot more expensive. Besides, it’s a long-term purchase. This backpack is built to last for a long time.
Small Camera Bag
Designed with rugged durability in mind, Mountainsmith teamed up with legendary outdoor adventure photographer Chris Burkard to create the Tanuck 10L lumbar pack. This hip pack was made to carry your photography gear anywhere. If you know anything about how much traveling Chris does with his photography business, you’ll understand why he was involved in the design process. Whether you need a basic camera bag, a daypack for your time on the trail, or a convenient carry-on luggage piece, the Tanuck 10L can do it all. Priced around $100, it’s a good investment for any traveling photographer.
Staying organized helps you keep track of all of the wonderful photography equipment you bring on your trips and backcountry adventures. From your lenses to SD cards, every little piece of gear has its place. Knowing exactly where everything is can be challenging, but it’s doable with the right organizational system.
Figure out your system.
Here is an example of a setup that keeps my gear organized: a pelican case for super expensive gear; a good camera bag (see above) for everyday equipment; individual storage for smaller items like SD cards, lens covers, and cleaning equipment; and finally, a hard plastic storage container for any accessories or gear that might be used on photography trips.
There is no set way of staying organized. Every photographer operates differently. Regardless of your system, though, you should know where everything is and be able to quickly access your equipment. Good organization will lessen your chances of losing or damaging your gear. It may even lead to better photo opportunities if you need to quickly change out your lens or switch to an essential item on a moment’s notice.
Learn from other photographers.
One of the easiest ways to take your photography game to the next level is to hang out with photographers who have been taking photos and organizing their gear for a lot longer than you have. Get their input on what works best for them. How do they keep their gear safe and organized while traveling or at home? They’ll likely be more than happy to share what they’ve learned.
As difficult as paying for insurance can be, it’s important to remember how fragile and valuable your gear is. A dream camera can take months or even years of savings, yet be damaged in a few seconds. All it takes is one fall on the concrete to shatter all the work you did saving up for it.
Your camera’s fragility can make you worry so much that you stop taking risks and enjoying the experience. Instead of worrying all the time, get your gear from reputable stores, like B&H Photo or Adorama, and purchase their camera insurance. This extra cost is a small price to pay for peace of mind.