I wish I could say that I am a professional photographer and this is my fool-proof list of how to pack the ultimate kit for a three-month photography trip… but unfortunately that would be lies. In six days I head off of the Global Garden trip journey, here’s my amature’s guide to packing a camera bag worthy of the trip.
Working as a Creative Director for a global advertising agency I have been so lucky to work with some of best photographers and film makers in the business. The problem being that this sets such high standards for type of work I want to produce on this trip for you guys with just little- old-me to make it happen. If only I could pack the whole crew in my bag and take them with me.
‘For the last few months I have been trying to upskill in all things photography and film making. I tell you, it’s been a steeper learning curve that any mountain I have climbed on my micro adventures.’
Luckily, I have been able to call on these talented buddies for a bit of a crash course in all things photography and film making. There’s been drone flying lessons, photography sessions, editing tutorials, lighting workshops, sound recording tips and tricks and buckets and loads of advice on what are must-have photography essentials. Thanks so much guys.
Even more luckily, have supplied me with one of their most versatile compact cameras to take on the trip – The Leica V Lux. It’s described as being the Swiss Army Knife of cameras – ready for any adventure you throw at it. It’s super-fast, with a huge optical zoom (no lenses… less gear to pack, yay!) and is meant to be great for both photography and video which is vital for me.
Here’s how to pack when you’re pretending to be a pro.
It’s all in the bag – choosing the right camera bag.
Protection and security is vital, so is comfort when you’re lugging all this gear around. My advice is to invest in a good quality backpack tech locker. Choose one with adjustable compartments that you can tailor to fit your kit. Look for anti-theft features and also camera/laptop padding and protection. A rain fly is also a great feature but you can buy this separately if not… it might not matter if you get a little wet but your laptop or camera on the other hand isn’t quite so accommodating.
‘There’s no point investing in great camera gear if it’s going to get damaged on its first outing.’
Camera gear can get pretty weighty so keep in mind that many airlines have a 7kg weight limit for carry-on luggage. A sneaky little trick is to look for a casual, light-weight looking backpack, hopefully they won’t ask you to weigh it allowing you to carry all your (typically) heavy camera gear with you.
The Leica V Lux has made my equipment list shrink, thankfully! Being a mirrorless, compact cameras it makes travel photography so practical. No more having to lug around larger DSLR’s and all the lenses to go with it.
If you can’t go without your SLR, try and find your most versatile lenses. I’m a lover of prime lenses but sometimes zoom lenses may be more versatile and require less set up times.
‘As a smaller framed person, my rule is only take what I’m committed to carrying myself. If I can’t lug it up that mountain, I need to find an alternative solution.’
Leica V Lux
Leica’s most versatile of their compact cameras.
GoPro Hero Session 6
4K footage, voice controlled, waterproof up to 33ft without a housing, touch LED screen, what’s not to love.
DJI OSMO Gimble
Not pictured – Capturing super smooth footage is challenging, but not with this Gimble. I connect my phone and let this baby smooth out all my shooting imperfections. Anything that makes me look pro without me having to be gets major point in my book.
I use my iPhone as my mini laptop so it’s well and truly worth the additional size. The larger screen comes in super handy when connected as a drone controller. And I must admit I am a sucker for Portrait mode. When your phone can make a photo that looks like it was shot on a DSLR it’s worth its weight in gold.
DJI Mavic Air Bundle
This drone is a little superstar. It’s so tiny it fits in your hand yet with 4k camara capture it packs some serious punch, making it the perfect travel drone. I love that it connects to my phone, less gear to lug around! And it even has hand signalling controls and ‘follow me’ mode which is a lifesaver for a solo travel blogger. I got this in the bundle which I think is well worth the extra $300 – three additional batteries, compact charging, carry bag and a whole lot of other goodies.
Manfrotto Compact tripod
A tripod is a must for a solo traveller, I strap this to the outside of my camera backpack. I love the easy clip-in camera system and easy snap down legs – it makes set up times super-fast and easy.
This is my control room. I would be lost without it. It’s so fast and handles the full Adobe Creative Suite like the pro it is. The retina display also is the truest colour system I have seen. When video editing, render times are fast which I love, there’s no time for sitting around twiddling my thumbs on this trip. I use Lightroom for all my photography colour grading, Photoshop for any resizing and minor retouching, Premier for video editing, Illustrator for vectorising my illustrations and Indesign for any presentations I have to prepare.
Capturing clear sound has been one of my toughest challenges. This directional microphone has changed everything. I love that it clips straight on the Leica camera but also can record into my phone. This is incredible handy on windy days or noisy locations, I can place it right up close to whoever is talking and so much of those background sounds are minimised. It’s made a world of difference.
Batteries and SD Cards – boring but essential
If you don’t have power or storage you don’t have any images! Whilst these aren’t the glamourous additions to the camera bag they are vital. My advice is to invest in the highest quality ones possible (I like San Disk) and have spares of both batteries and SD cards. Make sure to charge every night and have a full kit ready at the start of every day.
‘I won’t be knowing what adventures are coming most days and I won’t want to miss any of it.’
My advice is to keep both your SD cards and your batteries in your carry-on, as some airlines don’t allow camera batteries in checked luggage.
Less is more
We are all guilty of over packing from time to time. Sending home expensive camera equipment is expensive and risky. My tip is to test out your kit, only pack what you know you really need and know how to use well. If you don’t know how to use it, don’t take it. Travel time is priceless and I can assure you, you won’t want to waste a moment or more importantly miss a magic one whilst you are trying to figure out your gear. And you don’t want to draw unnecessary attention to yourself fumbling around with your expensive gear. If you are using it with confidence hopefully no one will even notice you, and you’ll get much better pics for it!
That’s my amature’s in-complete guide to travel photography, what are the essentials you would never travel without?